Monday, June 09, 2014

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When the Divine Presence visited on Shavuos

via Lma’an Yishme’u

Two tzaddikim (righteous Torah scholars and leaders of their time) and mekubalim (kabbalists / Jewish mystics), Reb Shlomo Alkabetz, zt”l and Rav Yosef Caro, zt”l,  spend the awesome night of Shavuos together in Tzfas in the 16th century, per a hand written manuscript of by R. Shlomo Alkabetz…

"The Beis Yosef (Rabbi Yosef Caro, the Mechaber – author of the Shulchan Aruch, Code of Jewish Law) and I decided to stay awake on the night of Shavuos and read passages of the Torah. [These passages are the basis of what later became the Tikkun Leil Shavuos.] After chatzos (midnight), as we reached the section of Mishnayos, a sweet voice was heard aloud from the mouth of the Beis Yosef. We all fell on our faces from sheer fright. The voice grew ever louder, until even the neighbors were able hear it, though they were unable to understand it. The voice, having been created by the Mishna we had learnt, told us of the pain suffered by the Shechina [in exile], and the great impact our learning this night had, silencing all the Malochim and piercing all the heavens. It then spoke of our great zechus of staying awake this night, and the greater effect it would have had with a minyan. The voice then encouraged us to continue learning throughout the night, not wasting even a moment. Finally, the Shechina instructed us to stand up and say Boruch Shem... aloud, as is done on Yom Kippur.

We wept profusely, from the joy of our experience and for the pain of the Shechina.

"When we met three other chachomim (Torah scholars / rabbis) in the mikve (ritual bath) the next morning, we related to them what had happened that night. They were understandably distressed, and we resolved to gather again on the second night, this time with a minyan (group of 10 or more men).

"That night, because of our joy at having a minyan, the voice of the Shechina (Divine Presence) began speaking as soon as we started reading the Aseres HaDibros (the ten commandments in the bible) of Devarim (Deuteronomy). The voice praised our attainment, told us of the ruchnius'dike (spiritual) fire surrounding the house, and then directed us to say Boruch Shem. As the time of chatzos drew near, the Shechina spoke again and told us that for hundreds of years no such accomplishment had been attained."

The Shaloh HaKadosh copied this story from the manuscript of Reb Shlomo Alkabetz and concluded: "It is apparent in his writing that there was much more that he was not allowed to reveal. From this story we must learn how important it is to conducting ourselves with special kedusha on this night."

(של"ה הקדוש מס' שבועות נר מצוה ה')

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