6 posts categorized "Holy Sites"

Hevron: Regards from the Great Grandparents

Probably my favorite prayer place in the world is the Cave of the Machpela in Hevron, where Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are buried. I ask our holy ancestors to beg in our behalf at the Divine Throne, that we should successfully weather the "birth-pangs" of Moshiach, and fulfillment of all the redemption prophecies. May we all see our holy forefathers soon in the flesh, with the full redemption of our people in our holy land, the ingathering of the exiles, the coming of Moshiach, the revival of the dead, and the rebuilding of our holy Beit HaMikdash, amen. More than anything, may we merit to see the revelation of Hashem's Divine Presence within our midst, amen sela.

The feeling of being in the company of the holy ancestors defies description, so I'll just show you the pictures.

Photo 1: Maarat HaMachpela, Hevron

Machpela

Photo 2: Leah's gravesite

Leah_imenu

Photo 3: Abraham's gravesite

Avrahamavinu

Photo 4: We found the white donkey, now all we need is Moshiach

White_donkey_hevron

Photo 5: Maarat HaMachpela: A little piece of every Jew's heart is always here

Maaratmachpela


May A Jew Enter the Temple Mount?

Recently, with all the flare-ups on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, there has been a fierce debate as to whether Jewish Law permits a Jew to enter the Temple Mount at this time, when we are all in a state of ritual impurity. When the Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef answered a categorical "no", many accused him of contradicting his father, the great Rav Ovadia Yosef of saintly and blessed memory, one of the greatest rabbinical authorities ever. To set things straight, here is an excerpt of a shiur by Rav Ovadia osb"m, where he clearly states what is permissible and what is not:


King David's Tomb - Jerusalem is not for Sale

Entrance to King David's Tomb
Our sages warned us that in the days before Moshiach comes, the world will be prevalent with lies and the truth will be difficult to find. How right they were...

The ink is barely dry on our post from yesterday, A State for Jews or a Jewish State, where we observed the hypocrisy of demanding to be recognized as a Jewish State while acting like anything but a Jewish State. Maybe our post jolted the Prime Minister, because he just made a declaration that he'll initiate legislation that defines Israel as a Jewish State.

Honorable Prime Minister, who do you think you are fooling? On one hand, you want Israel recognized as a Jewish State. Then you retire to the ugly smoke-filled backrooms of your anti-emuna government, and look for ways to hand King David's holy gravesite to the Pope.

Who are you, Mister Prime Minister, a liar, a thief, a Kafkaesque cynic or all three? 

In my first position as a rabbi, I was the rabbi and spiritual rehabilitation director of a prison. I came in contact of criminals of all kinds. Yet, I never met one who would sell his grandfather's grave.

Many of us are King David's descendants. The anti-emuna government has no right to sell our ancestor's grave.

Not only was King David Hashem's anointed King of Israel, he is the great grandfather of Moshiach, may he come soon, amen. King David is the author of the Book of Psalms, the greatest bestseller of history. According to Kabbala, as King of Israel, his soul had sparks of all of Israel. That is why everyone of identifies with Psalms. King David is buried on Mount Zion. 

How can you be a Zionist if you give away Zion, and to those who engineered and supported the persecution and destruction of our people for the last 1200 years?

Hashem's Jerusalem and the holy gravesite of His anointed son David are not for sale. Think again, Mr. Prime Minister. 


Deborah's Song

This coming Shabbat is "Beshalach", also known as "Shabbat Shira", the Sabbath of Song, since the Torah portion tells how Moses and the Children of Israel sang to Hashem after having been miraculously saved from the Egyptians at the Red Sea. The "Haftorah," or weekly Prophetic reading, also talks about song, particularly the Song of Deborah the Prophetess (see Judges, Chapter 5), after Israel miraculously defeated formidable invading enemies.

A few years ago at this time, I made a special trip to Tel Kadesh in the Upper Galilee some 350 meters from the Lebanon border to pray by Deborah's gravesite. Several miracles happened shortly thereafter:

1) Our neighbor's daughter inlaw, named Deborah, still had no children after several years of marriage. 10 months after I prayed for her at Deborah's gravesite, she gave birth to a healthy son.

2) Rebbetzen NB here in Ashdod had a history of miscarriages and very difficult child-bearing. When I arrived at Deborah's gravesite, Rebbetzen NB was again in the hospital, this time in labor for 14 hours. She was in danger and so was the unborn baby. The doctor's were preparing for an emergency Caesarian - before they had the chance, Rebbetzen NB suddenly gave a quick an unexpected natural birth to a baby daughter. At first, the doctors thought that there was damage to the baby's lungs. Shortly afterward, that proved wrong too. Today, this healthy baby girl is named Deborah.

3) Itai the son of Deborah, hit by a car the week before, came out of a coma.

That wasn't all...


Mattia Ben Cheresh

Mattia Ben Cheresh was a holy Tanna and a student of Rebbe Meir. He was an unbelievably holy individual who is the role model for all times about personal holiness and guarding our eyes. His holy gravesite is therefore a special place to pray for personal holiness and guarding our eyes.

The Midrash Tanchuma tells the story of how the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) tried to tempt Rebbe Mattia, who sat all his days in the house of study occupying himself with Torah. The Midrash says the splendor of his countenance shone like the sun's radiance of the sun, and that he was as handsome as an archangel. Never in his life had he raised his eyes to look at a woman.

Once, Satan passed by became full of envy when he saw Rebbe Mattia. The Satan asked, "Is it possible that there is a righteous man entirely without sin in the world?" He instantly flew upstairs,stood before Hashem and asked, "Master of the universe, Matia ben Heresh: what sort of man is Mattia ben Cheresh in Your sight?"

Hashem: "He is totally righteous."

Satan: "Give me permission, and I will tempt him."

Hashem: "You will not prevail over him."

Satan: "Nevertheless!"

So Hashem gave him permission. The Satan went found Rebbe Matia imbersed in Torah. So he appeared to him in the guise of a beautiful woman, the like of which there had not been in the world since the days of Naamah, Tubal-Cain's sister, on account of who even archangels went astray.

Satan (as a gorgeous woman) stood in front of Rebbe Matia, who refused to look and turned his back.

Satan went around and again stood in front of Rebbe Matia. When Rebbe Matia turned his face to still another direction, Satan was once more in front of him.

When Rebbe Matia saw that Satan [in the woman's guise] turned up on all sides, he said to himself: "I'm afraid that the evil inclination is about to overcome me and cause me to sin. So then what the tzaddik do? He summoned one of his disciples, who acted as his attendant, and said to him: "My son, go and bring me fire and nails."

After the pupil brought them, Rebbe Matia passed the nails through the fire, then plunged them into his own eyes.

When Satan saw this, he was shaken, all but knocked out, and left Rebbe Matia.

In that instant, the Holy One summoned Raphael, the angel of healing, and said to him, "Go and heal the eyes of Mattia ben Cheresh."

When Raphael came and stood before him, Mattia asked, "Who are you?"

Raphael answered, "I am the angel Raphael, whom the Holy One had sent to heal your eyes."

Mattia: "Let me be. What happened has happened."

Raphael returned to the Holy One and reported to Him, "Master of the universe, thus-and-thus did Mattia ben Ceresh answer me."

Hashem said, "Go and tell him: From this day and henceforth, fear not. I guarantee you in this matter that, throughout your days, the evil inclination will have no control over you."

When Mattia ben Cheresh heard Hashem's guarantee from the angel, he was willing to accept the angel's healing and was healed.

* * *

Rebbe Mattia's holy gravesite is on the outskirts of the village Aiblin in the Central Galilee, pictured below. May his holy memory protect us, amen!

Matia 420 


Rabbenu Bachiya ben Asher

I'm temporarily away from my beloved homeland of Israel in North America, but my thoughts never leave the Land of Emuna. From time to time, The Beams features glimpses of some especially holy places over here. We hope you enjoy them.

Rabbenu Bachya ben Asher lived in Spain in the mid 1300's. He was a student of the Rashba (Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet), who was a student of the Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, or "Nachmanides"). As such, he was deeply immersed in both the revealed and esoteric sides of Torah, strongly influenced by his teacher and his teacher's teacher. Rabbenu Bachiya's classic work in "Rabbenu Bachiya on the Torah", an exquisite, classic commentary on the Five Books of Moses.

Rabbenu Bachiya is buried near Hukuk in the Upper Galilee in a cave alongside his students (monument above the cave in the photo below). May his holy memory protect us, amen.

Bachiya 420