The Holy Baba Sali
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n honor of the Yahrtzeit of the Holy Tzadik Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah, otherwise known as the Baba Sali (Our praying father), here is anamazing story on the power of Emunah and Prayer as heard from R' Moshe Aharon Stern of Jerusalem:
There was once a simple Israeli worker from Jerusalem, who, though he had been married a long time, had never been blessed with children. He had been to all the specialists, but to no avail. "Hair will grow on the palm of your hand before you see a child," the doctors had told him. After years of hope and despair, he had almost given up. Then he heard about the great miracles wrought by the prayers of Rabbi Israel Abuchatzeirah.
With an expectant heart, the man traveled several hours from Jerusalem to Netivot, to the home of the Baba Sali. When he arrived, he found a long line of petitioners already ahead of him, and had to wait hours before entering to receive a blessing. Finally, his turn arrived. He entered the tzaddik's room, nervous, eyes downcast, clutching a small piece of paper on which he had written his only request: Children! He sat down and placed the paper on the table before the Baba Sali. The tzaddik opened it, then put it down. "Matzav avud," was all he said. "A lost case." Before he could open his mouth, the man had been whisked out of the chamber by the attendants to make room for the next petitioner. Shocked, brokenhearted, he returned to his home.
The next day, however, when the people began lining up for blessings, there he was again. Again he waited several hours. Again he entered, put his slip of paper on the table, and again he heard the same terrible answer -- "a lost case." Yet, when the next day arrived, there he was again, and the next day again! Every single day, as long as the Baba Sali was receiving people for blessings, the man would be there in line, at times waiting hours. And always he would hear the same sad answer, "a lost case."
Finally, after almost a year, the family of the Baba Sali took pity on this man and approached the great saint with their request. "Rabbeinu Israel," they said, "this poor man has been coming to you for a year straight now, and every time you give him the same answer. Can't you tell him to stop coming already? It's much too heartbreaking to continue." "How long has it been?" Rabbi Abuchatzeirah inquired. "We've counted, today is his two hundredth visit." The Baba Sali agreed to talk with him. That afternoon, the man entered the room as usual and placed his slip of paper on the table before the Baba Sali. This time, the tzaddik did not even pick it up.
"Listen, my friend," he said gently. "You have been coming to me every day for a very long time. Haven't I already told you that it is a lost case. Go home, why do you insist on coming to me?" The man lifted his eyes. "I come to you every day, and I will keep coming to you every day, because I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that God listens to your prayers, and that you are the only one in the world who can help me."