Rabbi Pin’has Uzan


We present below the English translation of one of the stories published in our book

Nous présentons ici la traduction anglaise de l'un des contes parus dans notre ouvrage: « Récits de Juifs tunisiens sur R’ Pinhas Uzan (זצוק"ל), et sa famille », Editions Bakish, imprimé à Kiryat Ata, 5750/1990, 78 pages. 



The construction of the tomb of

Rabbi Pinhas Uzan ZTsvK''L 

Moknine, Tunisia


After the death of Rebbi Pinhas, it was decided to build a monument around and above the tombstone [1]. This mausoleum was to be designed to protect the grave. It could also house the pilgrims from the sun during the hot days, and especially in summer.

The workers began their work. After two days of effort, they had well advanced. But one morning, workers returning to continue their masonry saw that the wall they had started raising the day before was reversed: the bricks were spread on the floor.

Seeing this, they were simultaneously invaded several feelings. Their first astonishment and anger against the nasty trick played a stranger to them, quickly gave way to a dull indignation at such a lack of respect for the rebbi. The thing they seemed curious: who could dare such a bad action against a death ... The more they pondered over their event seemed incredible, impossible. None of the Moknine's Jews, of course, could have done this. It was the same for Arabs and Bedouins: they would have feared that the soul of the Tsakik creates difficulties for them and rushes them into death. Nobody would have dared carry so ugly action

All their thoughts, masons resumed their work. Having cleared the rubble, they went up a new wall the old foundations. But the next day they found their work was nullified again. During several days, such events were repeated and the rabbinical authorities were consulted. “Should we continue?” asked the synagogue Committee? And everyone wondered, in the city and in nearby cities: “What does all this mean?”

With repeated unexplained demolitions, all understand that the soul of Rabbi did not want mausoleum at all. The refusal of a monumental construction was probably a modest testimony from him [2]. This was probably a modest testimony from him.

This is why the tomb of Rebbi Pinhas was reduced to its simplest expression: a tombstone brushed without any monument to protect it.


© Hillel Bakis, 1990-2016

Posted: 11 January 2016



[1] According to an information collected from Mr. Najar, Member of the Moknine Community Committee during a dozen years (December 1989).

[2] This reminds us a traditional instruction from the Jerusalem Talmud: "We do not rise funeral stele in memory of the Righteous. The reminder of their education is the best tribute for them. " Jerusalem Talmud - Shekalim Treaty (II, 5).


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