Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Flash 90

The many stories of how the Rishon LeZion, Harav Ovadya Yosef, zt”l, advised and supported Yad L’Achim in its rescue work could fill a large book. Over the decades, the Rav even accompanied the organization on its activities throughout Israel.

In the last years of his life, he regularly received in his home dozens of women rescued by Yad L’Achim from Arab villages. The Rav encouraged these women in their new path and showered them with attention, especially the children who were discovering their Judaism for the first time.

In a moving interview, that is being revealed here for the first time, M. shares the exact words the Rav told her, and how they gave her the strength and courage to endure years of trials and tribulations.

“It’s of feeling of helplessness,” says M., of her struggles upon being rescued from her Arab husband and his village. “I am battling for my children in court, trembling from fear due to the man [her former Arab husband] and his friends… and living in a secret apartment rented for me by Yad L’Achim. And suddenly the Rav has something personal to tell me… and he is so great… and I, what am I…. and this is how he spoke to me, quietly, and he said…. ‘You know? Ruth the Moabite merited to bring David and the mashiach because she withstood all the trials and tribulations… every time you come up against something difficult, remember Ruth, and you will merit righteous children.”

The words, which came from the depths of the Rav’s heart, inspired M. “I understood that I have a special power to persevere, just like Ruth, and this keeps me going. It gives me the strength to continue coping with difficulties, to look ahead and to know that I have the power to overcome everything.”

Rabbi Yosef meets Rabbi Lifschitz and children rescued by Yad L'Achim
Rabbi Yosef meets Rabbi Lifschitz and children rescued by Yad L'Achim Yad L’Achim Photography

The Rav felt a special closeness with Yad L’Achim. Shortly after the passing of the organization’s founder, Hagaon Harav Shalom Dov Lifschitz, zt”l, Maran had this to say in his weekly shiur:

“Yad L’Achim performs wonders. They save Jewish girls who to our sorrow have married Arabs and find themselves living in their towns. These women have children and call them Mustafa and Mohammed. Jewish children! Yad L’Achim… Remember this name… It is a great mitzvah to help them. Whoever can help, fortunate is his portion. Anyone who saves one Jew it’s as if he saved an entire world.”

As in past years, talmidei chachamim representing Yad L’Achim will organize special tefillos at the grave of Maran in Yerushalayim on behalf of all the organization’s partners in its holy work. The tefillos will take place tomorrow, the eve of the hilulah, on Motzaei Shabbos and on Sunday morning.

“The importance of Yad L’Achim’s work in the eyes of Maran, zt”l, is well known. We have no doubt that he continues to plead for the organization, its Pidyon Shvuyim activities and for all the donors and partners in its important work,” said officials.