Sunday, August 31, 2008


Holy Road Trip!

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

This past Thursday was the last travel day of summer here in Israel, children returning to school tomorrow. With antsy children and Rosh Chodesh Elul on our minds, we headed north.

The first thing we encountered was traffic. Lots of traffic. Long, unending traffic. And children, all my children, in the car, together. Children - traffic, bad mix. They quickly became bored, I quickly became exasperated. Fortunately for them (less so for my sanity), there was no way to turn around, forward or bust.

Finally, thank G-d (thank G-d thank G-d thank G-d) we reached Teveria (Tiberious) and the Kinnert (Sea of the Galilee). The children were able to get wet, the parents enjoy a breather. The children thought this was the focus of the trip, but the parents had other ideas.

Across the road from the Kineret lies the holy kever (burial site) of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess, the Master of Miracles. Buses were bringing chassidim from around the country throughout the day, though it cleared out as evening fell...

Kever Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess, Left Side Entrance

It's a large site, with a yeshiva and kollel on the premises. It's very popular with all stripes of religious Jews...

The kever itself is carved with Rabbi Meyer's famous prayer, "Elokai d'Meir Anayni!" - G-d of Meyer answer me!

The building itself is classic middle-eastern domed architecture, many hundreds of years old...

Rabbi Meyer was one of the great surviving students of Rabbi Akiva, afterwards we travelled onwards to another, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) in Meron...


Given it was now rather late at night, we were rather surprised to find the kever of Rashbi absolutely packed...

Though this was not organized prayer, everyone squeezed into the available space and offered their hopes and prayers towards the King for a good year with the coming of Elul. The intensity of everyone's personal prayer was astounding. (At the center of the building is the main kever Rashbi area...)

I stood behind one older chossid for nearly a half hour, watching his intense concentration as he implored the King of Kings with many prayers for himself, his family, for friends, for all Klal Yisroel and even for the righteous among the nations. Neither the push of the crowd, the occasional jostle, or some of the louder people around him disturbed him in the least. I stayed far longer than my schedule allowed, watching to learn a glimmer of how prayer should be. I thanked HaKodesh Baruch Hu, the Holy One Blessed Be He, for placing me there at that moment, and then realized that on this random night on the other side of the country in a crowd of hundreds of fellow yidden, the Master of the Universe had placed me standing behind my friend Rabbi Lazer Brody, shlita...

While I wanted to greet him with some warm wishes, I could not interrupt the holy conversation he was having with the Borei Olam (Creator of the Universe). I left, a practical lesson in prayer learned, gathered up the children and headed out.

My daughter declared this the "best road trip ever! It had a fun activity and holy sites, isn't Israel great!" As we left Meron literally after midnight, we grabbed a pizza at Pizza Rashbi (open 24 hours) and made the long drive home with the children sleeping peacefully in the back.

Free Home Delivery! - From Mystical Paths,


  1. Wow ashrecha! We stayed there this Shabbos in a tent with the kids! I even recognize the guard on the photo... It was jam packed the whole Shabbos. My wife had been there about 10 years ago on a Shabbos close to 7 adar (a popular time to go) and she told me there was hardly anyone there... I guess it's become much more popular lately... B'H.

  2. It's definitely become a site not to be missed. But, this weekend was the last weekend before summer vacation is over (for those on a working schedule) and before yeshiva & kollel start the fall zman. So either way you count it, this was the last weekend to get there on an open schedule, and many were taking advantage of it.

    On the way up, we pulled into a gas station and had 2 chartered buses full of chassidim, fathers and their sons from Jerusalem and surrounding towns, pull up next to us.

    We made another special stop as well, but that's a post later this week.

  3. pizza rashbi!!! :) i love it!
    what a lovely and inspiring story, thanks reb akiva!

    what nachas to have one's child say such a thing....

    sounds like my kinda trip: a swimming mikva in kineret and these holy places, wow. only in israel.

  4. Where Go The Boats?


    Dark brown is the river,
    Golden is the sand.

    It floats along forever,

    With trees on either hand.

    Green leaves a-floating,

    Castles of the foam,

    Boats of mine a-floating

    Where will all come home?

    On goes the river

    And out past the mill,

    Away down the valley,

    Away down the hill.

    Away down the river,
    A hundred miles or more,
    Other little children

    Shall bring my boats ashore.

    -----by aoc powerlevewling


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