May 13, 2010

The graves next to that of the Shlah HaKadosh

Today, erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, is the day the Shlah HaKadosh said is especially powerful for saying a prayer he composed for the spiritual welfare of one's children. Every day it, and other prayers, can (and should) be said, but today is especially powerful. I don't know why, but perhaps it is because we are about to enter the month, Sivan, in which we commemorate our having received the Torah, and we sort of refresh our dedication to the Torah and living our lives by its dictates, so it is especially powerful to daven for our childrens spiritual safety at the beginning of this month. I made that uop, but it sounds good to me. If anyone knows the real reason, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Anyways, a relative really wanted to go up north to the grave of the Shlah today in Tiberias to be able to recite the prayer at the grave side of the Shlah, and the group planning to go up was canceled. I agreed to go. The Shlah is buried in Tiberias right next to the Rambam, and a bunch of tannaim and amoraim such as Rav Yochanan ben Zakai, Rav Eliezer ben Horkanus, Rav Ami, Rav Asi, Rav Elazar ben Aroch and others. It has been many years, very many, since I last went to visit these graves, even though I have been to Tiberias many times, so I figured it was a good opportunity,

So off we went to Tiberias and the beautiful Northern Israel.

The site of the graves in Tiberias was busy, but not packed. Nothing like Meron on Lag B'Omer. It was a bit disheartening to see how the entrance way has been turned into a small shuk with peddlers offering their wares and people collecting tzedaka. It is a shame that a holy site, the graves of holy rabbonim of our history, has been made into a tourist trap (both the peddling and the tzedaka aspects) rather than treated with a certain sense of respect and decorum.

Regardless, going in, via the new (new to me at least) separated entrances for men and women (maybe they only separate the entrance on busy days like today), coming in on the mens side leads you first to the tent with the graves of the Shlah and all the tannaim and amoraim. The Rambam is just a bit higher up. Coming through the main entrance, as used to be the way in, one would walk up the steps to the Rambam and the other graves were along the side. Now they have been sectioned off and the Rambam complex has been partitioned with an ugly partition.

While understandable because today is the prayer of the Shlah so people were there to concentrate on that, it still did seem a bit strange that people were almost completely concentrating their prayers by the side of the Shlah when two feet away are the graves of holy tannaim and amoraim, which I think would be that much more powerful. Sure, some people also stopped to daven for a moment by the other graves, but most people did not and even those of us who did only gave the others a moment or two.

Despite that, it was a beautiful day, a beautiful drive and a beautiful experience. People were calm, friendly and considerate. No pushing and shoving and all that.






4 comments:

  1. Are the grave markings reliable?

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  2. I have it from one talmid hacham that the Sh'lah hakadosh didn't compose the prayer, but advocated saying it. It was originally in the siddur of R Shabtai Sofer of Przemsyl. So I heard.

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  3. Rav Arthur Scroll says that the reason for saying it on Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan is b/c that is the first time that Hashem refered to us as his Children.

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  4. why do people go there and not to the tananim? b/c the shal represents kabbalah and people today think that kabbalistic masters can give them quick and easy solutions without requiring any effort on their part. it is the same dynamic regarding lag b'omer. tradition holds that that is the day that rabbi akiva's students stopped dieing. but everyone celebrates it become of rashbi. the first reason would make demands on us - examining our lives and seeing where we are in terms of kavod for other, sinat hinam etc. rashbi is a quick fix.

    i am willing to bet that many of those who went there if not most are not even shomer shabbat. they want a gimmik.

    ReplyDelete

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