by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
Today was the yaretzheit of the Ari HaKodesh, zt"l, the holy Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria of blessed memory. His holy burial place is located in the holy mystical city of Tzfat (Safed), Israel, and both his holy mikvah, which is freezing and fed by a natural spring year round, and his kever, were major destinations today on his yaretzheit.
I was privileged and blessed to be able to be there today, a beautiful Israeli summer day with a few fluffy clouds in the sky, hot but not overly so, a good day to visit a holy site. I was further blessed that my eldest son, who has been in Tzfat for the summer was able to join me.
Talk a walk with me on my visit, step by step, to the holy kever. Click here.
The great Jewish kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchok ben Shlomo Luria (surnamed Ashkenazi), lived from 1534 to 1572. He was called the Ari (Lion) Zal (Of Blessed Memory) by his followers. He was born in the Jewish community in Jerusalem. In his 20s he spent seven years in seclusion, intensely studying the kabbalah. He settled (c.1570) at Safed (Tsfat) in the north of the Holy Land, where he became the teacher and leader of a large circle of students who formed an important school of Jewish mysticism. The Ari sought to understand the nature and connection between earthly redemption and cosmic restoration. He taught that our thoughts, speech and actions are linked to the secret processes of G-d's continuous creation of the spiritual and physical worlds, and are thus an integral part of the cosmic drama. Our positive deeds work toward Mankind's redemption by aiding in the restoration of the cosmos to its original state, before the first sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. He taught that it is our adherence to G-d's commandments, communicated to Moses at Mt. Sinai and embodied in traditional Jewish Torah Law, which will effect this restoration and thereby bring forth the Messiah as the consummate act of earthly redemption. The Ari Zal's kabbalistic doctrines were passed down through the numerous works of Rabbi Hayim Vital, his chief disciple.
May his mighty merits be a blessing this day, and in these chaotic times.
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