July 11-12: 5 Av – the Yartzeit of the Arizal – a break in mourning, like the dawn’s light
Thursday night is 5 Av, the yartzeit of the Arizal, the Mashiach of his generation. The Arizal had thoughts of Kabbalah that were so fast he could not lecture like the other Tzfat Kabbalists. The world of speech was simply too coarse for the subtlety of prophecy he experienced ever since taking walks by the Nile as a spice salesman in Egypt as a young man. Two years before his death he found Hayim Vital, the student to whom he imparted his entire worldview and understanding of the upper worlds. Hayim Vital devoted his life to writing up all he had learned which he remembered flawlessly after drinking from the well of Miriam in the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, when the two went out in a boat after they first met. Thanks to Vital we have all of the Ari’s teachings in writing, which are now translated in English and many of which are available online for no charge. These writings lend a glimpse into the secrets of reincarnation from Adam to the present day. It is said the Arizal could tell the root of a person’s soul by looking at him. The physical existence of the Arizal, like all tzaddikim, was a metaphor for the true reality in the upper worlds. The clothes he wore, the way he ate, his hand movements all contained deep secrets. It is this energy that is available on Thursday night/Friday to all who wish to connect and return to the true light of their soul through the encounter with the pure light of a tzaddik, and receieve illumination and guidance from his great love for all souls. Short of visiting his grave in Tsfat at which there will be a great celebration, one can light a candle for the ascent of his soul, write a letter to him requesting his advice or guidance, and have a meal with friends in his honor. It’s never too late to get to know a tzaddik whose whole existence is for the sake of those to whom he can be of help!!
Thursday night – 5 Av – is a break in the three-week mourning period leading up to the ninth of Av when the temples were destroyed. Once the Arizal announced to his students that Mashiach had arrived and that they should pack their bags to Jerusalem. It was Friday afternoon, and the Sabbath was approaching. The pious students pointed out to their master that there was not enough time before the Sabbath to complete the journey to Jerusalem. The Arizal later taught that the window of opportunity for redemption had then closed, but has the students trusted their teacher, they would have arrived in time for Shabbat, with mashiach.
5 Av, the break in mourning, reminds us that mashiach comes from where we least expect it, and even the darkest hour of mourning is not void of Hashem G-d forbid, and it is precisely finding the ray of light, the Keren Or, in those moments that collects the individual rays that form the Beacon of Light that will shine forth like the dawn all at once when the time has arrived, which can happen at any moment, even minutes before the Sabbath (a metaphor for where our energies are focused).