As rockets rained on major cities and a tense standoff with rioting Palestinians only days earlier, thousands marked the yahrzeit of the Ohr Hachaim on Har Hazeisim, thanks to efforts by the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim. A year earlier, visitors were pelted with rocks as was a busload of Jews ascending to Har Hazeisim. Many more Jews came this year to be mispallel for the security of the yishuv as rockets continued unabated.
Yanky Bichler who represents the ICPHH in Israel contacted Eli Bin, the Director of Magen David Adom who despite the tense situation in the South personally took charge of a large presence of his volunteer. He contacted his friend Yosi Perienti, the Commander of the Israeli Police in Jerusalem who in turn added to the already heavy presence on Har Hazeisim. Both Bin and Perienti personally came to Har Hazeisim to take charge of the event.
“It was important to demonstrate to the Jewish world that Har Hazeisim was no longer abandoned and that at a time like this when Jews wanted to pour their hearts out at the kever of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh that they do so in complete safety,” said Avrohom Lubinsky, Chairman of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim. He noted that in addition to the thousands who came to the tzion of the Ohr Hachaim on his yahrzeit (15th of Tammuz), his kever is amongst the most visited on Har Hazeisim.
Most Jews refer to the Ohr Hachaim as the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh, reflecting his reputation as a gaon and one who was steeped in kabbolah. Rav Chaim ben Moshe Ibn Attar became known as the Or Hachaim after his popular peirush. He was born in Meknes, Morocco, in 1696 and was niftar in Yerushalayim on July 7, 1743. He was one of the most prominent rabbonim in Morocco.