Yesterday, I went to pray at Honi haMeagal’s grave, near Tsfat.
Ever since the first lockdown, back in February 2020, my husband and I have been careful now to ‘go somewhere’ on a Sunday.
This week, we headed off to the grave of Honi haMeagal (Honi of the circle), on the side of Hatzor HaGalil, on the edge of the beautiful Biriya forest.
(We were actually trying to get to the graves of Abbaye and Rava, but couldn’t find them. That’s another story.)
Honi HaMeagal is the famous tanna of the 1st century who drew a circle on the ground and told God that he wasn’t going to step outside of it until God ended the drought in Israel and brought the rains.
There are different reactions to Honi’s actions in the Gemara, but his ‘brazenness’ with Hashem was jointly admired and censured by his fellow Sages. Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach, for example, initially wanted to place Honi in cherem, but seems to have changed his mind.
Read more HERE.
So anyway, we’re there at a tomb, and there’s a large group of chareidi people there, eating and praying.
My husband went into the catacombed cave / tomb on the mens’ side, and I decided to go and pray on the hill just above the tomb, which had an awesome view over the Galilee towards Tiberius.
It was twilight, and it was so beautiful.
And I have to admit to feeling a little down.
Downstairs, I heard one of the men telling someone else:
“There is no work now. Work is gomarnu, finished, because of the Corona. All we can do is pray, and hope God will have mercy.”
It reminded me that so many people out there are secretly running out of the money they need to live. But we still haven’t had the obvious ‘breakthrough’ required to turn things around.
So I sat there pouring my heart out to God, and feeling a little bit despairing about everything.
God, how is this ever going to get fixed? How is this ever going to turnaround? The forces of evil in the world seem to be holding all the cards. They have all the money, the press, the power, the political and business and ‘rabbinic’ connections.
How can we ever hope to overcome them?
Just then, some ‘cuddly-bear’ Sephardi chassid plugs a mike in below, and starts talking about the importance of reciting the Tikkun Haklali:
The Tikkun Haklali can fix everything, it can rectify everything! He boomed out.
Rebbe Nachman taught that the Tikkun Haklali was even created before the world.
Everything can be fixed, everything can be rectified! We just need to say the Tikkun Haklali every single day!!
I sat there electrified.
The chassid then started loudly reciting the Tikkun Haklali, and I went for a walk down the hill, towards the tomb of Rabbi Abba Hilkiya, Choni HaMeagal’s grandson, who famously tried to tikken the evil eye of David’s rebellious son, Absalom.
I’ve been finding it pretty hard to pray the last few months.
Over the last 5-6 years, I’d gotten into the habit of saying the Tikkun Haklali at least once a day, and often, three times a day. The last few months, I’ve barely said it.
I’ve run out of energy.
Maybe, some days, I’ve a little bit run out of hope that anything I can say or do will change anything….
But that chassid gave me motivation to pick things up, and to try and stick to saying the Tikkun Haklali at least once a day. Bezrat Hashem.
I started my way back up the hill, towards the chassid and Honi HaMeagal, who was now praying ma’ariv with such force, and such gusto, his voice was carrying all over the hills.
And when he said Shema, his voice broke and I saw him wipe away some tears.
Again, I was totally electrified.
Before he put down his mike, tho, he gave over a few more words of wisdom:
They want to break us. They want to divide the Jewish people up, and to have us hating each other – sinat chinam – for nothing. The answer to this is ahavat chinam – to love each other.
We’re here at the kever of Honi HaMeagal, who knew that the secret of bringing shefa (abundance) down into the world was achdut. That each of us should stand in an unbroken circle, together, with our brothers.
And that from this achdut, all the shefa comes, and all the corona and all the balagan it’s bringing into the world will be broken, and our righteous Moshiach will soon be revealed and will redeem us.
I had chills down my back.
This guy was riffing off exactly the same theme that I’d written about here on the blog yesterday, that we Jews are all one family.
And that all the false divisions between us are wedges placed there by the forces of evil, to divide and conquer.
In the car back home, my husband told me that the chassid was one of Rabbi Berland’s guys.
How did you know?
Because he was davening with some of the niggunim of the Rav, he replied.
I wasn’t surprised.
The Rav was meant to have a hearing last week, where the corrupt State of Israel was meant to have had their last chance to bring evidence that the Rav’s health is robust enough to keep him in prison, instead of releasing him to at least house arrest, until they bring their corrupt case to trial.
Instead, the State of Israel cancelled the hearing.
The reason they gave for cancelling was the Rav’s own deteriorating state of health.
Who can make this stuff up?
Two days ago, they put up a plea for people to help contribute some money to fight the Rav’s protracted battles with the State.
You can read more HERE, and also donate the 500 shekels they are asking every family to give, to help get the Rav out of prison.
Make no mistake, that the Rav’s battles are 100% our own.
Just as Covid 1984 started in earnest when he was falsely imprisoned, so we will all get out of prison / lockdown / the world of lies when Rav Berland is released.
And the Sitra Achra knows this, which is why it keeps delaying… and delaying… and delaying…
That same test has rolled around again.
It’s another ‘circle’ that needs completing, another ‘cycle’ that needs closure.
To be with the Rav, on the side of truth, on the side of justice, on the side of achdut and ahavat chinam – or to be against.
And I don’t know if there will be another chance given to pass it, before we move on to the next stage of this birur process.
Go HERE to donate to the Rav and do the mitzvah of pidyon shuvuim (releasing captives), and to read more about the appeal.
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