By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Yoram Abargel, one of the leading Sephardic rabbis in Israel who led a network of educational institutions in the country, passed away on Friday night, Parshas Breishit, 27 Tishrei 5776.
He was 58 and was battling cancer.
He was born to a family with many children that hailed from Morroco. They lived in the Brosh moshav in southern Israel, the Negev region where he continued to study in Yeshivas and later build his vibrant community.
He learned in the Livish Yeshivas Chevron and Yeshivas Hanegev, he continued to learn in Chabad’s Kollel Beis Yisroel in Netivot following his marriage to his wife Geula. It was there that he started outreach and teaching which became a lifelong mission.
Rabbi Abargel remained in Netivot to build his own Kollel which started out in a unused bomb shelter. Today it enrolls 2,000 married men. His institutions grew to include kindergartens, schools for boys and girls, Yeshivas and a food distribution organization.
It was his vast knowledge in Torah and Kabbalah that attracted many to his regular classes and talks in Netivot and around the country. Many consider him one of the leaders of the Baal Teshuva movement in Israel.
One of those classes was the morning shiur he gave on Tanya, the foundational text of chassidic philosophy written by the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. It was a daily class given after Shachris prayers.
Those shiurim were printed in 10 volumes of the series Betzur Yarum that was published in 5767. His teachings on the weekly Torah portion and Jewish holidays were published as a series titled Imrei Noam.
Rabbi Abargel was a regular at Chabad events and farbrengens in Israel, often expressing his admiration for the Rebbe and the lasting impact of the outreach work led by the Shluchim around the world.
In recent months, he battled a serious illness until his passing on Shabbos. His funeral took place on Motzoei Shabbos in Netivot and was attended by thousands of people and leading rabbis, including Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar.
“What connected me most to him was the Ahavas Yisroel in him and his home,” Lino Mishali, a non-religious woman from Ashdod wrote following the passing. “You could find by him secular Jews, religious, haredi and chassidim – all equal and loved.”
Baruch dayan haemes.