Jul 25, 2010

Rav Eliyahu zt"l and the beis din of mekubalim

Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l was by all accounts a very special rav and beloved by all factions, sectors and groups.
I read an interview, a couple of weeks ago, with his son Rav Shmuel Eliyah, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat. He said that since the death stories of his greatness have been pouring in non-stop. Some stories related miracles the rav had been involved in performing for people. Some had been stories that showed his sensitivity, caring and empathy to every person from the simplest to the greatest of people. Rav Shmuel Eliyahu said they were compiling stories into a book.

An interesting story was printed in this book that was just published. I have not seen the book, but Ynet has reported on it.

I am not going to translate it completely, but will review it briefly.

It came to light after his death that Rav Modechai Eliyahu had been a judge on a special, secret, beis din that had been formed of mekubalim. His participation was meant to be kept secret, and only after his death did the other mekubalim feel it appropriate to tell his family about it.

This beis din met once a year and debated whether or not the jewish people were "ready" for the geulah. Has the time of geulah come yet, or not.

The beis din debated it and paskened that the time for geulah has come.

I would venture to suggest that the purpose of this is a concept we have that when beis din down here in this world paskens a certain way, the beis din above in heaven follows suit and paskens the same way. If that is correct, this would have been a way to "force God's hand", kevayachol, and bring the geulah.

As part of the beis din, they kept detailed ledgers of the arguments and logics presented, along with the final decision issued by the beis din. In a very unusual move, Rav Eliyahu was buried with the folder of documentation of the proceedings of the beis din. The purpose was for Rav Eliyahu to take the folder to the beis din above and show them how they debated the issue, the logic presented, how they came to their decision, and the decision that it is time for the geulah.

This, too, would be a step in "forcing God's hand".

This was all revealed to the family right after the death, as the mekubalim had to tell them about it so that they could bury the rav with the folder.

Let us hope that Rav Eliyahu's powers of persuasion are good enough to work wonders up there!


  1. If such a beis din makes such a proclamation and it is not accepted l'malah, the result is the passing of the members of the beis din.

    To make such a proclamation is to put your life on the line for klal yisroel. zt"l

  2. Akiva,

    If that is true, then it follows that if it is accepted l'malah, the members of the beis din will not die. Ever.

    Considering Rav Eliyahu's age and health condition, his passing doesn't seem to prove anything.

  3. yoni - proof of what? that the story happened? why not believe it?
    proof that Akiva's statement is correct? I dont know if it is or is not, but interestingly another big mekubal died last week (Rav Moshe Ben Tov) - I have no idea if he was in this group of mekubalim, but we can make things up... :-) Maybe they are starting to get picked off now, as per Akiva's statement.. I hope not, but maybe

  4. In order for R. Eliyahu to plead "up there", firstly why would he need to take the folder with him? God is supposed to know everything that happens "down here" (so says Rambam at least, though as Marc Shapiro has demonstrated even this is open to debate), so why would he need the documents? Secondly, how would burying it with him make the physical papers any more available in the non-physical olam ha-neshamot? What is physical stays here and what is spiritual goes on up. Therefore unless you are prepared to bend things in terms of God's all-knowing-ness and non-corporeality, this story does not make sense to anyone of a rationalist bent.

  5. (not G - so was the last one as well)
    And another question. If the psak of a beit din shel matah about something non-halakhic and therefore irrelevant to psika is supposed to automatically change the decision of the beit din shel maalah, then what happens if another beit din were to be sitting down here as well and come to an opposite conclusion? In the world of halakha, this would be a totally legitimate thing to happen and kal ve-homer for things of philosophy or conjecture.

  6. Rafi - you sound like a litvak :-)

    I know of an old time mohel from the Midwest who had buried with him, when he died, thousands of orlas (I dont remember the number now, but it was in the range of 12000) for the purpose of bringing his zchus to shomayim. Obviously the orlas didnt go up with him, but somethign still happens. I think Rav Meir Bransdorfer recently did somethign siilar upon his death.

    Read stories about tzadikim who mastered haschnasas orchim that they had their tables chopped up and buried with them to bring the zchus of the chessed done at the table..

  7. dont know. lets hope it didnt happen.. :-)

  8. Not a litvak, a yekke (worse) :-).

  9. I am a yekke too, but not pureblood

  10. Rafi G - Maybe they are starting to get picked off now, as per Akiva's statement.. I hope not, but maybe

    Or maybe they got old, sick, weak, and died? :-)

    The mohel that helped me perform brit milah on my sons gave me the orlahs and told me to bury them. He said a nice custom is to plant an olivewood tree where you bury them and then 13 years later fashion a pointer (for leining) out of one branch from the tree. Nice custom, but I didn't do it, instead I buried the orlahs near Rafi G's house in Yaar Eshtaol.

    Also a half-blood Yekke.

  11. ewww.

    also part Yekke.

    but also 100% female.

  12. out of 4 boys of mine with 3 different mohalim, only 1 of the mohalim gave me the orlah to bury. the mohel usually does it himself in a bucket of dirt.
    (by the way, burying the orlah is brought in shulchan aruch, though planting an olive tree is not)

  13. yes well some things are definitely best left to the men. just like childbirth stuff for the women I guess.

    maybe being buried with the papers is supposed to remind the neshama of the role it's bringing from this world - doesn't the person see their buried body at the initial separation? so in all that leaving-the-physical shock and transformation into the spiritual realm, it could be very helpful to be able to notice such a reminder.

  14. brfore the leaving of gush katif rabbi M.E. Said over and over it won't happen...i know many believed him...and wern't prepared... elyakim haetzni said the garush could have if not for this complacency...

  15. In recent years Rav Yehuda Amital said that we can't assume that the modern state of Israel is the beginnings of geula. He said that his generation (Holocaust survivors) needed such a salve to believe in, but that really we can't say we know anything for sure.


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