web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Strength of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai


Lessons-logo

In mid-December, I traveled to Eretz Yisroel with my wife, Chanie, for a twofold purpose. Firstly, I wanted to visit my two children who are learning in yeshivos there. Secondly, in light of the fact that I had assumed the position of executive director of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, I wanted to solicit as many brochos from gedolim as possible, and to pray at kivrei tzaddikim (graves of righteous people).

We arrived in Eretz Yisroel on Tuesday evening, and stayed overnight at my uncle’s home in Ra’anana. On Wednesday morning, which was the fast of Asoro b’Teves, I began the day by immersing in a mikvah, and davening in the Lechu Neranenu shul. My family then visited my grandmother’s grave at the Ra’anana cemetery.

The next step was to begin our trip up north for a day of tefillah. We reached Miron in the early afternoon, and davened and recited Tehillim at the kever of the holy tzaddik, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

Following an uplifting hour or so in Miron, we proceeded to Amuka, the burial place of R’ Yonason ben Uziel. Tradition has it that those who make the trip to his kever will be helped, especially those in need of shidduchim. We prayed both for the singles in our family and for many others whose names we carried with us.

Our next stop was the holy city of Tzfas. Many great people are buried in the ancient cemetery there. Since we are Kohanim, my son and I were not able to enter the cemetery, but my wife and daughter spent close to an hour at the various gravesites. By this time, it was starting to get dark, and I was trying to calculate what time Maariv would take place.

We have a niece studying in a seminary in Tzfas, and I figured that we would be able to reach her seminary and still be in time to daven Maariv in her neighborhood. We began driving there, and soon became hopelessly lost. We asked directions and made phone calls, but without success.

Suddenly, we saw a group of men on the street coming from shul. They told us that the seminary was just around the corner. However, much to my chagrin, we had missed Maariv! We inquired when the next Maariv would take place, and we were told that there usually was a Maariv minyan at 9:00 p.m. But since it was a fast day, everyone had probably already davened, and there was only a slim chance that there would be another minyan tonight.

After a short visit with our niece, we headed back into the center of Tzfas, hoping to find others who had not davened Maariv yet. However, we were unsuccessful. Several people suggested that we go to Miron. Perhaps we would yet find a minyan at the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. And so we got into the car and drove back to Miron.

In Miron, we found only one other person who had not yet davened Maariv. We waited for a while, and slowly came to the realization that we would not find anyone else to complete the minyan. I asked the people there to get together for Borchu, and davened Maariv without a minyan. It really bothered me that I would not daven with a minyan. However, I consoled myself with the fact that I was davening at one of the holiest sites in the world.

In the middle of Maariv, my cell phone rang. Of course, I ignored it. After Maariv, the phone rang again. Since I am a Kohen, I had been davening on the outer porch, and did not feel it wrong to answer the phone. It was a woman who urgently needed to speak to me on a work related matter. At the close of the conversation, I asked her if she had any request she wanted me to convey at this holy site.

After a few seconds of quiet, she said, “Of course. You know that my grandson Shimmy urgently needs a refuah.”

I had completely forgotten that her two-year-old grandson, Shimon, was suffering from cancer. This woman told me that the child was named Shimon, because close to three years earlier, the child’s father had traveled from New York to Miron to daven at the very spot where I was now standing. At that time, the father had promised that if their next child would be a boy, he would name the child Shimon, after Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

Nine months later, Shimmy was born.

With this information, I realized why I had missed Maariv in Tzfas. Hashem had directed my steps back to Miron to beseech Him on Shimon’s behalf!

I thought that this was the end of the story. But it was not.

The next evening, the same woman called me and told me the following amazing story. On Wednesday, Shimmy was in the hospital getting blood transfusions. His blood count was low, and he was weak. Then, all of a sudden, his condition began to improve, and within a few hours, he was discharged from the hospital. What caused that sudden turnaround?

The child’s mother said that the improvement began at about 1:00 p.m. Calculating a seven hour distance between America and Eretz Yisroel, his improvement began at the exact time that I was praying at the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai!

I know that I am no tzaddik and cannot effect such miraculous occurrences. However, I was humbled by the fact that through my tefillos at the right time and the right place, the koach of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai helped bring a refuah to this child on that day.

About the Author: Dr. Yitzchok Levine served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey before retiring in 2008. He now teaches as an adjunct at Stevens. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.


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 “Strength of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
More than 40 were killed in the bombing of a Yemeni refugee camp by the Saudi-led strike force.
Attack on Yemeni Refugees Makes Israel Look Like the Girl Scouts
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Glimpses-030615

The ship’s captain apparently respected the Friedenwalds’ strict adherence to halacha because he allowed them to use his cabin for davening and other religious observances.

Dr. Yitzchok Levine

I happen to believe that for a couple to spend a few years in kollel is a wonderful way to start a marriage.

Penn wrote the following to a friend in England: “I found them [the Indians of the eastern shore of North America] with like countenances with the Hebrew race; and their children of so lively a resemblance to them that a man would think himself in Duke’s place, or Barry street, in London, when he sees them.”

The special charm of these letters is their immediacy and authenticity of emotion and description.

There were many who believed that some North America Indians were descended from Jews.

One might think to attribute the crudeness of the calendar to the fact that it was produced by a frontier community unable to calculate a more precise table.

“Throughout his life, he observed Tisha B’Ab as the Nahalah (anniversary) for all of his relatives who were murdered, as this is the national Jewish day of mourning.

Practically to his last days the patriarchal founder was at his office almost daily and took an active interest in all matters connected with the business.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/strength-of-rabbi-shimon-bar-yochai/2008/07/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: