The holy Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh is one of the few that all of Klal Yisroel calls “Hakadosh”. His Sefer Ohr Hachaim is one of the fundamental seforim by all Yidden, especially Chasidim.
When the Belzer Ruv z”l, Reb Aharon, came to Eretz Yisroel, he instructed not to say Tachnun on the day of the Yartzeit, because the Ohr Hachaim is the Rav of Eretz Yisroel. He said of the Ohr Hachaim, “The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh was a Malach (angel)”.
Fascinatingly, the Yahrtzeit of the Ohr Hachaim comes out on the same day of the week as Lag Be’omer, the Yartzeit of Reb Shimon, and also the same day as the Yahrtzeit of the Ruv z”l. This year all three are on Thursdays. These three Yahrtzeits are the most traveled to Kivrei Tzadikim within Israel.
The Ohr Hachaim was born and lived in Morocco and later in Yerushalayim. The Chida was a Talmid of the Ohr Hachaim and writes More’dige things about him. He writes about his genius and love of Torah, his great Tzidkus, and the many Nissim that happened to him, including being saved from a cage of lions when the king condemned him to death.
There is a famous episode that happened after 1948. The Jordanians, who occupied the Har Hazeisim and the Old City, started destroying graves there. When they reached close to the grave of the Ohr Hachaim, the tractor turned over. They tried again and it turned over again, until they stopped. One can still see today near the Tziyon of the Ohr Hachaim many broken graves ר”ל.
In an interesting historical note, the Chida also writes that the Sefer Ohr Hachaim became famous in Eastern Europe by the Ba’al Shem Tov. The Chida was only a generation after the Ba’al Shem Tov and he was a Sefardi, but still he knew in detail what’s happening in Eastern Europe with the spreading of the Chasidic movement.
The Ba’al Shem Tov said of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh that he was the Nitzutz (spark) of Mashiach and wanted to meet him on his famous journey to Eretz Yisroel, but the journey didn’t come to fruition.
In Chernobyl, learning Ohr Hachaim every week is very important. One of the Chernobyler Rebbes said that it is also a Segulah for children. Since the Ohr Hachaim didn’t have children he put his Koach of הולדה into the Sefer.
Whenever the Ohr Hachaim writes about Torah, he writes words of Ahavah to the Torah without boundaries. In the Parshah of Kabbalas Hatorah, the Ohr Hachaim is overflowing with words of praise of the Torah and for those who study Torah. Famously, in Parshas Ki Savo he writes, “if people would have known of the sweetness and delight of Torah, they would have gone crazy in obsessively running after it!”
In another place he writes, that Mashiach is a combination of the Neshama of Moshe Rabbeinu and the Neshama of Dovid Hamelech. Hence, he doesn’t want to come to a generation that is idle in Torah learning.
May we be zoche to be a generation that is obsessively running after the Torah, and be zoche to Mashiach במהרה בימינו!
A Tefillah from the Ohr Hachaim Hakados on the Galus