web analytics
May 25, 2015 / 7 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

A Hidden Revelation


Jewish tradition teaches that the city of Tzfat (Safed), located in the north of Israel in the beautiful Galilee region, is one of Israel’s four holy cities (the others are Jerusalem, Tiberias, and Hebron). Yet it is Tzfat that is praised for its exceptional spiritual presence.

This special status of Tzfat is keenly symbolized by the physical element most connected to it. All four holy cities are specifically associated with one of the four elements – earth, wind, fire, and water. Tzfat is linked to the most ethereal of them all, wind.

While the other elements are defined by the mundane – to the point that they can be given clear and distinctive measurements – wind escapes any precise dimensions, thereby upholding its infinite essence. For this reason, the Hebrew word for spirituality, ruchniut, has the root ruach, which means wind. Just as wind cannot be measured and defined, similarly spirituality, the Almighty’s infinite presence in the universe, cannot be measured and defined.

Tzfat’s extraordinary character has attracted spiritual giants who revolutionized the face of the Jewish religion – most notably, the masters of the hidden, mystical dimension of Torah known as Kabbalah.

The 16th century stands out as one of the greatest eras in the history of this divine study, spearhead in Tzfat by the saintly Rabbi Isaac Luria, who expressed its teachings in a remarkably lucid and clear fashion, opening its previously closed doors for those seeking entry. Naturally, this form of Kabbalah was called Lurianic Kabbalah.

As a result of this phenomenal period, Tzfat has been know ever since as the holy city of Kabbalah.

Only one other period can compare to it. In the second century, the eminent Kabbalist Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was the first to transcribe these divine teachings, in the foundational work called the Zohar. For centuries this collection puzzled even the greatest of scholars, until Rabbi Luria applied his brilliance to its elucidation.

When strolling through Tzfat’s antiquated alleys and cobblestone pathways, one will not be struck by any of the conventional attractions offered by a world-renowned city – indeed, its two major attractions are a stream and a graveyard.

In spirit with the city’s heartbeat, the hot spots here are not ones that indulge the eyes but, rather, that rivet the soul. The mikvah (ritualistic cleansing pool) of Rabbi Luria attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who come to dip in its mystical waters and receive its promised benefits.

Besides being the mikvah in which the great tzaddik himself dipped, it is also fascinatingly constructed – an underground stream supplies it constantly, to the extent that the entire bath is refreshed every fifteen minutes.

Tzfat also houses the Jewish world’s most renowned cemetery. In it are buried some of the greatest Jewish leaders, whose gravesites attract the masses to come and connect with their sublime presence.

Jewish mysticism teaches that the soul of a tzaddik descends in a fiery pillar to his grave. Therefore, anyone who comes to a tzaddik’s grave can connect to this powerful spiritual presence, which is most active on the date of the righteous one’s passing.

The famous personalities buried here include Rabbi Joseph Caro, compiler of the code of Jewish law; Chana, the mother murdered with her seven sons for refusing to serve idols; Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, one of the most accomplished Kabbalists who for a short period taught Rabbi Luria; and Rabbi Luria himself, Tzfat’s most renowned spiritual luminary.

This precious gem of a city, which will never lose its resplendent supernal nature, allows hungry souls to comprehend the truth that Mystery can also be an answer.

This lovely city of wind wraps us in its compassion as a father wraps his child within his soothing tallit during the height of a fervent, heartfelt prayer.

In this magical city of dreams, the spirit’s imagination glows with the glimpse of the one true love – the kiss of the transcendent to the finite.

About the Author: Yoni Waysman, originally from Los Angeles, is presently working in Israel as a lecturer and freelance writer.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Hidden Revelation”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Future guard? Arab child with Hamas headband aims toy rifle on the Temple Mount after prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque.
Hamas Declares Jerusalem ‘Eternal Capital’ of Islamic World
Latest Indepth Stories
israeli-american flags

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

Israeli-flag

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

More Articles from Yoni Waysman

Jewish tradition teaches that the city of Tzfat (Safed), located in the north of Israel in the beautiful Galilee region, is one of Israel’s four holy cities (the others are Jerusalem, Tiberias, and Hebron). Yet it is Tzfat that is praised for its exceptional spiritual presence.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-hidden-revelation/2007/09/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: