Thousands led by roshei yeshiva, rabbonim, dayanim and bnei Torah accompanied HaRav Avraham Harrari-Raful zt"l on his final journey after he was niftar on Tuesday of Chol Hamoed Succos in his eighty-third year. HaRav Harrari-Raful was rov of the Aleppo community Ketter Torah in New York and one of the greatest marbitzei Torah in America.
HaRav Avraham Harrari-Raful zt"l was born in Jerusalem in 5691. His father, HaRav Aharon zt"l, was a dayan and came from one of the most highly-respected families of the Aleppo (Chalab) community.
As a youth he stood out for his hasmodoh as well as his intellect and sterling character. He respected everyone and received everyone warmly. Throughout his life he invested his resources in learning Torah.
As a youth he learned in the Ohel Moed yeshiva which was headed by HaRav Eliezer Waldenberg zt"l, author of the ShuT Tzitz Eliezer. Later he learned in the Porat Yosef yeshiva where he was very close to the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Ezra Attiya zt"l. He studied there diligently for many years, including a long stint of learning with HaRav Attiya bechavrusa. He was tested by his rebbe and by other rabbonim on Even HaEzer and granted semichoh.
After his marriage to his wife, tlct"a, Mazal, the daughter of HaRav Moshe Arkon zt"l, he established a Torah home. His middoh of humility was outstanding, and he managed to achieve unprecedented levels in it.
In 5721 (1961) he was sent by his rebbe HaRav Attiya to the Chalab community in the United States. Together with his brother ylct"a HaRav Yosef Harrari-Raful, a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah in the United States, they engineered a Torah revolution in the Chalab community of America.
When he arrived one could hardly find a minyan of shomrei Shabbat, and now the Chalab community in Flatbush, Deal and Lakewood numbers thousands of shomrei Torah and mitzvos and hundreds of bnei Torah. With his speaking abilities a drew thousands to the way of avodas Hashem, as people flocked to his lectures and droshos.
He also gave shiurim for decades in several yeshivas, including Magen David, Mikdash Melech and others. His shiurim were well-known, and famous for training students to reach the depths of Chazal. He left an indelible impression on his many thousands of talmidim.
He was known as a fearless fighter against various individuals and groups who wanted to compromise on religious issues. He even stood up people who are immensely wealthy, and fulfilled the posuk, "Lo soguru mipnei ish."
He founded or was involved in founding many institutions and yeshivas including Mikdash Melech, Magen David, and Ateres HaTorah which today boast hundreds of talmidim. He was originally the rav of Shaarei Tzion. Then he served the Kol Yisrael community, and later the Ketter Torah community which today includes hundreds of Torah families.
About forty years ago the airplane on which he was travelling from Eretz Yisroel to the USA was hijacked to Jordan. Also on that plane was HaRav Yitzchok Hutner and yltc"a his son-in-law HaRav Yonoson David. The Torah world prayed for their safe deliverance and bechasdei Shomayim they all emerged unscathed.
On Tuesday of Chol Hamoed he suffered a fatal heart attack. With great effort, they managed to bring him to Eretz Yisroel for burial before Shemini Atzeres.
Speaking at the levaya on Har Hamenuchos were his brother HaRav Yosef, HaRav Yehuda Addes, his sons HaRav Aharon and HaRav Moshe, and his son-in-law HaRav Ezra Shrem.
He is survived by his wife, his brother, his three sons HaRav Aharon, HaRav Moshe and HaRav Yehonosson, his sons-in-law HaRav Ezra Shrem and HaRav David Rabi, as well as the Chalab community who bitterly mourn the passing of their great leader.