Every Wednesday from 6:30pm till 9:30pm a Prayer Rally for the Tzaddik Rabbi Eliezer Berland is being held at the Kotel Hama'aravi (Western Wall).
Please note: Next week Wednesday May 28th is Yom Yerushalayim, getting in and out of the Old City of Jerusalem will be difficult therefore the Prayer Rally will be held a day early on Tuesday May 27th.
Video and picture of today's rally
From a previous prayer rally:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Rabbi Kinn, a Chabad Rabbi who moved a few years ago from London to Johannesburg, came to the students of Rav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a on Shabbat after Pesach in Johannesburg and brought with him kugels, 2 large chulents, and other food to feed all the hungry chassidim who were there. Two days later a few avreichim met him on the road and he told them the following story which explains why he was so devoted to go out of his way and help a group of total strangers:
“At the beginning of this year, starting from the second day of Rosh Hashana I had a dream which repeated itself many times over, every couple of days I would have the same dream, this lasted up until Chanukah.
In the dream I saw that suddenly there arrives in Johannesburg from some other country families of Chassidim, men, women and children, the men have long peyos, beards and wear shtriemels. I didn’t know what kind of Chassidim they were but I was sure they weren’t from Chabad because they had peyos and wore streimels and racalach. I saw in the dream that when they arrive they are greeted with much opposition, they faced problems with the Government, with immigration, with the Rabbonim, and with the Beis Din… There was much confusion going about… I saw, however that from within this confusion and turmoil will come Moshiach, that these are events that must come about before the coming of Moshiach, that these Chassidic Jews will come to Johannesburg before the coming of Moshiach.
The dream really disturbed me, I felt great pain for these families, and the chillul hashem really bothered me. I didn’t want to dream it again and tried to brush it out of my mind, but the dream kept occurring on a regular basis. Finally around Chanukah time I said to myself that if this dream comes true I promise to help these Chassidim in every way possible and to get others to help. The day I said this, the dream stop coming.”
Rabbi Kinn also told them that before the falling of the twin towers in New York he dreamt many times that it will happen, but he didn’t know where and when it will happen. So when the first plane hit the first tower he told those surrounding him that in a half hour a second plane will hit the second building – and so it was…
When we corresponded with Rabbi Kinn and asked his permission to publicize the story he asked to relay a message, that us religious Jews are responsible for everything that transpires in the world, not the Tinokot Shnisbu. It is how we treat each other that make the positive or chas vasholom negative impact on the world.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Translated from Tzama Nafsi - Parsha Emor
On the yartzeit of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai, fire comes down from the heavens. After Pesach, 33 days after Seder Night, we merit something completely awesome, the revelation of the Shechina, the revealing of the fire. All of the mountains surrounding Meron are ablaze.
On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol would enter the kodesh kodoshim and then even the angels and the Seraphim would flee. They would be burnt up. So too Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai who is the aspect of the upper chassadim and the Kohen Gadol of all generations. All the holy angels would be burnt up from his fire, because the moment that Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai began speaking words of Torah, he would be encircled with flames of fire. Everything around him would be alight with fire. So if everything around him was afire when he was still alive, how much more so after his death, for tzaddikim are even greater after they have passed away then when they were alive.
Lag B’Omer is literally Yom HaKippurim: they day on which all our sins are forgiven. It is just like Kol Nidrei. Everything is forgiven—everything is erased and the greatest chassadim are revealed, the most wonderful chassadim. On Lag B’Omer a person can draw down all the mentalities and every kind of healing, all the salvations for the whole year. It is a day on which the sick can be healed from illnesses—every kind of healing in the world can be drawn down on this day. All kinds of cancer can be cured. Women can become pregnant. Anyone can find his or her shidduch. This day is the day of annulling vows, and everything is sweetened—all the sins that a person has done, millions of sins from the day he was born until today and from all his incarnations—everything is forgiven.
A person travels to Meron for three hours. He gets pushed around and suffers greatly among the thousands and thousands of people, and through this all his sins are forgiven, all his pegam habris (sins related to sexuality)—every sin that he did in his life is forgiven. This is what is written “Rebbe Shimon was very sharp minded.” Rabbi Shimon is overjoyed that hundreds of thousands of people travel to him—all of Am Yisrael travels to him. Every year more and more people come to him, and truly, no one knows what is happening here. No one can understand it—why people are traveling to Meron. People don’t have any understanding why they are going or what all the celebration of Lag B’Omer is about, but “even if he himself doesn’t see, his mazal sees.” The whole country is celebrating and making bonfires but they don’t actually know why. But a person really needs to know that the tzaddik is the source of all the souls—he is the foundation stone. He is the origin of every person, of each and every soul. Every soul is a small spark of the tzaddik. A spark of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai is found in every Jew—the soul of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai is found in every Jew. It is the soul that includes all of Am Yisrael, which surrounds the whole world, which encompasses all the worlds and all the sefirot, and that is why everyone travels to the grave of Rashbi, to be included in the soul which includes all of Am Yisrael.
A person needs to travel to Rashbi with mesirus nefesh. Rashbi is calling to us, “Come to me. Come up for the festival. 2 or 3 hours traveling and you’re already by me!” All the abundance in the world and all the blessings—prayer, Torah, holiness—everything that a person needs can be had if you will only come. Just start out on the journey! First and foremost you have to start traveling. The tzaddik is alive and well; he is G-dliness itself. You are not traveling to a regular person, so travel with great reverence! A person travels in a car or a bus for two or three hours—a journey with great reverence with books and prayers with hisbodedus and a bit of humming, without laughing or or joking around or any silliness. This is a journey for the sake of heaven in order to become purified and holy. Then Rashbi can send you an unlimited number of salvations, and unlimited amount of holiness and purity. He can give you a new soul. He is not restricted in any way. He has no limitation and he can give you everything—everything you can think of. Everything that you want, he can give you. Just go with great reverence and seriousness.
The Beis Aharon says that the highest level of all the verses in the book of Tehillim is: “My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You”(Tehillim 63:2), expressing that even the physical body can turn into soul-matter. The flesh won’t feel any corporality or desires but will be burned up from love for Hashem. And this level of “my flesh longs for You” can be achieved through Rashbi, through the fire of Rashbi. His fire burns around him day and night, because Rashbi has the same letters as “my flesh”: beis, shin, raish and yud. A person who comes to Rashbi with seriousness, with much dancing, merits that all his flesh and his physical being are burnt up, and he reaches this higher level of, “my flesh longs for You.” Anyone who merits traveling to Rashbi with seriousness on Lag B’Omer, anyone who cries on Lag B’Omer and fills his time in Meron with dancing, who doesn’t stand silent like an idiot on the side, but who really dances, who really believes that Rashbi is alive and exists, and doesn’t go to Meron simply because of social pressure, because everyone else is going, but rather because he believes that Rashbi is alive and exists. Anyone that prays with enthusiasm and dances with enthusiasm and doesn’t stand on the sidelines when the dancing is taking place—just as the Rambam says, that whoever sits on the side when people are dancing he is a complete idiot and a total heretic, because he doesn’t believe in the power of the tzaddikim or the power of the dancing and doesn’t believe that the tzaddikim can attach themselves to him, because Rashbi is obliged to come way down on his yahrzeit, and attach himself to anyone who comes to him, and through this he can annul all the harsh decrees.
So whoever travels to Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai and really keeps his head in a book of Tehillim or a Gemara or other holy books, and will keep his head and his heart in check and will truly yearn for Rashbi, will merit that Rashbi will truly attach himself to him and will merit to the final redemption speedily and in our days Amen.
Master of the Universe, please be compassionate and take pity on us and reveal to us the wondrous light of the secrets of the Torah on this holy and awesome day. The day of Lag B’Omer on which You reveal and renew the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai with an ever increasing power. For, according to the declining spiritual level of each generation, so is the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai ascending and constantly increasing in influence and authority, enabling him to raise up out of the mire all those who have gone lost and fallen even into the furthermost depths.
Prayer written by HaRav Eliezer Berland Shlit”a for Lag B’Omer (translated from Hebrew)
|Rabbi Eliezer Berland lighting the bonfire in Meron|
1. Master of the Universe, full of mercy, open Your heavenly treasury and bestow a new light upon us on this holy and awesome day. It is the day on which the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is revealed and shines with a new light. This light opens all the heavens for us and brings down the comprehension of G-dliness for the entire year. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai rectified the sin of Adam HaRishon completely. He restored all of the lights—the hidden, primordial, and pure lights of the highest spheres—to their source. Even Moshe Rabbeinu needed Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, for when Moshe ascended to the heavens, to the place where the holy Tablets were hidden, the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai manifested within him as he fought with the angels.
2. Master of the Universe, Orchestrator of all that occurs, our mouths are full of songs of praise for this wondrous day that You sent down to Your world: the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s death. It is a day of joy and delight in all the heavenly chambers, and it brings vitality to all the worlds. It is a day during which all the angels above rejoice in the revelation of new and wonderful illuminations. All the celestial beings long for this day and for its revelation of new and renewed lights that were sealed and hidden away since the time of Adam’s sin. Adam HaRishon was supposed to become more humble, submissive, and shamefaced—more reverent—with every passing moment. He was supposed to sing to You and praise You from the time he was formed until Shabbos began. Then, as Shabbos came in, all of the sources of light would have been opened and he would have rectified the breaking of the vessels. He would have illuminated all of the abysses and dark places. But, instead of doing this, he tried to storm the heavens and bring the light down without praying and begging, without singing and praising You. Since the Tablets were broken at Sinai, no one was able to rectify Adam’s sin until the holy and awesome soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai came forth. He revealed the seventy Tikkunim (perfections) stemming from the seventy facets of the Torah which encompass all of the hidden lights of the highest spheres. Complete egolessness before Your Infinite Light is within them, and they can bring a person to have no consciousness of self at all.
3. Master of the Universe, have pity on us and enlighten us with the awesome light of the secrets of the Torah on this holy and fearful day. Lag B’Omer is the day when the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is revealed every year, again and again, with ever greater force. For as the generations decline, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s soul keeps on rising beyond all human understanding so that he will be able to retrieve those who are drowning in the treacherous waters.
4. I beg of You, Father, have pity and favor me by virtue of the power of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Of all the great ones throughout the generations, he was unique. He merited to manifest the Divine Image, in which he was created, as completely as possible. Help me to break out of all the iron chains in which I have become bound. Allow me to be free of all the fetters in which I’ve become entrapped, for they wind more tightly around my neck from moment to moment. As time goes on, the bad thoughts that flood my heart and mind only intensify. The waters of the deluge cover me completely. Please, save me from them lest the waters reach even to the high mountains, lest not even one point be spared from the terrible floodwaters! Please, my Father in Heaven, save me from the bad thoughts that surround me from all sides. Advise me how to escape from them, for all of the advice that I’ve found until now only helped me temporarily. Afterwards, my thoughts only got worse and would not let me rest. No one has ever fallen as far as I have. I broke through the earth with my fall and through the abyss with my sins. I’ve sunk deeper than Korach and his band, and the hell that gapes open beneath me embraces me from all sides. I am like a brand that has yet to be plucked from the flames, and they surround me from all sides.
5. Please, merciful and compassionate G-d, I know that I am absolutely empty and that all of my support and security rests with the true Tzaddikim and their powerful merit. On this day, I rely on the power of the holy Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who was worthy of seeing from one end of the earth to the other, from the beginning of history until its end. He came and went in the celestial chambers, knew all their secrets, and had the wisdom to mitigate every judgment. He was even able to say, “If Elazar my son and Yotam the king of Yehuda were with me, I would have been able to rectify all of creation from its beginning to its end.” His words are trustworthy and true, alive and upheld, forever and ever. And surely the other true Tzaddikim aid him, standing at his right hand to repair the entire world from its beginning until its end. So, that is where all my hope lies, that even such a downtrodden one as I am will also be rectified. Even for one whose has so blemished the covenant, I too will be saved and redeemed. Even for a sinner like me who has sinned against both man and G-d, I will also find my way to atonement and forgiveness. And I know that I don’t deserve to be forgiven. For I continue to slander and shame Tzaddikim and all G-dfearing people, worthy Jews, who are thousands of times better than me. Daily, I shed their blood like water both publicly and secretly, and someone who shames his fellow Jew in public has no portion in the World to Come. Even so, I am full of hope that Your true Tzaddikim like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai will share their compassion and kindness with me until my heart will be transformed. I will love all of Your creatures, particularly those who fear You and do Your Will. And then I will merit to repent completely and be totally forgiven.
6. Please, my Father in Heaven, give me a heart that will love all of Your worthy Jewish people. Grant me a pure heart to become closer to simple G-dfearing people. Give me a pure heart to love them with a powerful love—especially Your Tzaddikim who sanctify Your Name in the world. Make me worthy, on the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s death, to become rectified and cleansed of the flaw of Rabbi Akiva’s students who did not sufficiently honor one another. For this sin is great and terrible, and is extremely despicable before You. We find that because of it, such holy people were punished so severely. Twenty-four thousand students of Rabbi Akiva died because of the slightest taint of that flaw, and it is impossible for us to achieve any understanding of this at all.
7. I beg of You, my Father in Heaven, grant me some of the compassion and kindness of the true Tzaddikim. Bring me to feel the love of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who said, “We depend on mutual love.” Let me become a part of the holy glory of the divine Tanna, who rectified the flaw of those who did not sufficiently honor one another. Help me to become attached to the great light of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that is revealed on this special day. Help me to experience the light of the one who redeems the world from the darkness of causeless hatred and scorn of others. By virtue of that light, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai broke through all the heavens and revealed secrets that had never been revealed before, until all of the heavenly hosts, Moshe Rabbeinu, Eliyahu the Prophet, and the rest of the Tzaddikim throughout history, descended to hear his incredible revelations: the Tikkunim, the Idra Rabbah, and the Idra Zuta.
8. Merciful and compassionate G-d! Help me connect to the Tzaddik and hold onto him, for Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai brought all of these lights down to the world to repair all of the souls that would hold onto him. The holy Tanna would be the advocate of anyone who would mention his merit; Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai would pull him out of the deepest hell, he would raise him up from wherever he had fallen. My Father, my Rock and Redeemer, You can do anything and You know how to save even me. There is no sinner in the world who You cannot rectify by virtue of the power of the true Tzaddikim, even such a one as me who has sinned more than any other mortal, who has dug horrifying trenches that go deeper than the deepest pit in hell, and whose sins have sentenced him to excommunication thousands of times. But You can reach down even to the lowest rung, for someone who has defiled the covenant in speech and thought the way that I have, for You are prepared to accept atonement and forgive all of these flaws if I will only truly repent from the bottom of my heart, if I will only feel some real regret, if I will only immerse without continuing to hold onto that which defiles me. Release me from this pit as deep as the grave and stand me before Your Throne of Glory, for at any moment I could merit complete repentance that reaches to Your very Throne of Glory, especially when You, Yourself, are prepared to help sinners repent in the merit of the true Tzaddikim like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and the holy Patriarchs. The light of this repentance descends especially on the holy anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s death. It is a day that the entire Jewish people look forward to all year long. They light bonfires and torches in honor of the Tzaddik, the splendor of the generations. It is a day when Jews from all over the world long to come and prostrate themselves at his holy gravesite, and to beg for their lives and the lives of their families and all the Jewish people both materially and spiritually, for Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai can be every Jew’s advocate and help everyone, wherever he may be. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai incorporates all of the six hundred thousand souls of the Jewish people that exist in every generation. He is fixed in the heart of each and every Jew and is inscribed on their every limb and vessel, just like the faithful shepherd Moshe. The whole universe was created just for this, for the perfect man, for the Tzaddik, for humanity was only created to glorify and exalt the greatness of the Blessed Creator. And it is the Tzaddik, the foundation of the world, who accomplishes this in all its beauty and majesty by sharing his revealed and hidden teachings. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to relate the glory and greatness of the Tzaddik, to learn his holy works and to publicize them throughout the entire world. It is incumbent upon us to glorify the Torah, to shine its light forth, with the light of the Zohar, the seventy Tikkunim , and the awesome Idrot. The Etz Chayim and Pri Etz Chayim are founded on them, and from them, knowledge of the inner dimension of the Torah spreads out all over the world. All the works of Jewish mysticism in the world draw from the flowing brook of his amazing teaching, from the river that flows out of Eden continuously, that constantly spouts new and awe-inspiring Torah concepts. And there is no person who could read the words of the holy Zohar and the seventy Tikkunim without feeling aroused to repentance. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was worthy of this—that the arrow of his words cleaves the innards of the Satan. And this is the secret of the Jewish custom of shooting arrows on Lag B’Omer. It comes to teach us that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai merited to shoot arrows into the heart of the side of unholiness and to deal it a death blow.
9. Master of the Universe, give us the power to shoot arrows into the side of unholiness! Let them cleave through to the innards of the terrifying Satan who encircles us from all sides. Wherever we turn, we see him standing facing us; he threatens to kill us in cruel and unusual ways. We spin like tops and still get nowhere; we turn in circles without moving a hairsbreadth from our starting point. We still haven’t changed in the slightest or made any progress. And all the spiritual advice that we’ve put into practice still hasn’t helped us remove the evil inclination that burns within us day and night. It won’t let us rest for a moment. And we, ourselves, are to blame—especially me, who is worse than everyone else. For from the time of my youth, I’ve allowed my evil inclination to reign over me. From the moment I attained some degree of maturity, I have yet to really serve You. I’ve never put any holy advice into practice wholeheartedly, and I’ve never truly regretted any of my mistakes. I’ve done everything by rote, for I have been like Doeg and Achitofel whose Torah learning and prayer was only superficial. Doeg, who was the most mighty of the shepherds, and Achitofel, whose advice was like the word of G-d, failed to fight against their evil inclinations. They both fell into its trap. And if the cedars fell prey to the flames, what can the lowly hyssop on the wall say for himself?
10. But even so, I do not despair at all, for I am of the lowly hyssop of the wall who relies and depends on the cedars of the world, the cedars that no fire can ever destroy. We believe with complete faith in the Tzaddikim of the generation, and especially in the glory of the ages, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. And since the Tzaddikim are greater in their deaths than they were during their lifetimes, the Tzaddik who lies here shines like a sun that never sets. For even when it does set, it continues to illuminate the moon and all the stars. Merciful and compassionate G-d, draw his light upon us as well, and bring us to repent completely, out of love, on the anniversary of his death.
11. Please, merciful and compassionate Father, show me a way out. Reveal the light of the Tzaddik who can save me and show me the way to repentance. Reveal the light of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai to me, the one who knows what kind of dire straits I am in. He knows about all that I have gone through from the time that my soul was sent down through all the worlds and ages until Providence decreed that I be born into just this body, with just this spiritual make-up, with just this mind that I have now. All this potential that I possess, that I have still failed to actualize. I beg of You, Hashem, reveal to me the light of the Tzaddik who will help me live the advice of the Tzaddikim. With it, one can actualize the latent potential of one’s mind, and reject all negative thoughts. It is impossible to keep two thoughts in the mind at one time, and that is the reason that when hidden holy awareness is brought to the fore, all extraneous thoughts are pushed aside. Especially when one learns Talmud in-depth with proper understanding, for that uncovers the latent potential of the mind more than anything else, and it drives out all the negative thoughts. My G-d! What have I done?! I have neglected the advice of the Tzaddikim and defiled every part of myself with every form of impurity in the world. Even the ashes of the Red Heifer would not be able to cleanse me of the terrible thoughts that flood my mind. I haven’t moved even a hairsbreadth out of the profane and into the realm of holiness. And I have no idea how to attain true regret or real repentance—how to really give up the bad habits that defile me. That is why I have made all this effort and dragged myself so far. I’ve lost so much sleep just so that I could come to the holy gravesite of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. In his merit, You can redeem me and release me from the deep hell that I am in. Especially on the awesome anniversary of his death, the day when Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai ascends ever higher. For, by virtue of his incredible ascension, You can even help such a weak and foolish person as I am. There never was such a bad person. My great shame and regret has nearly brought me to despair, for I have been crying out for so long and still haven’t been saved. But because I know that I never really cried out completely honestly and genuinely, I feel that I have a glimmer of hope. If I only would really do so, I would be instantly saved. I would be raised above the treacherous waters and would begin to be cleansed of all my terrible thoughts.
12. Master of the Universe, what can I do—I don’t even know how to force out that first cry, the cry that opens the way for the rest of the cries. I have no idea how to really cry out with all my heart, a cry that would exhaust me completely. As the Rabbis said, “A sigh breaks half the body of a person.” With one true cry, a person can break half of his lusts, and a second true cry can break half of what’s left. Oh that I could only be worthy of those true cries and sighs! Then I would eliminate every trace of lust and every bad thought that is within me. And You know, my Father, my merciful Father, that I’ve tried so hard to cry out authentically, and I still haven’t succeeded. But I believe with complete faith, that this very day makes it possible to cry from the bottom of one’s heart, and to achieve the sigh that breaks a person’s body. And, through this, I can actually escape from all my bad desires and despicable character traits. For, today, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai receives new power to influence and assist those who are weak and foolish, those who are completely empty. he can inject them with holy awareness and bestow upon them an abundance of the knowledge that comes from the river that runs out of Eden. This knowledge can completely eradicate the side of unholiness. All unholy desires will be transformed into the Will of G-d so that all of us will merit to experience the sweetness that the amazing Tzaddikim have known. They are the unique ones of the ages, and the place where they are secreted away shines with the same amazing sweetness that existed before the sin.
13. Master of the Universe, please bring me to experience this amazing sweetness in Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s merit, for he attained the level of Adam before the sin. I beg of You, merciful and compassionate G-d, bestow this same sweetness upon me in the merit of this Tzaddik , for it drives away the mirage of the sweetness of the side of unholiness, whose end result is so very bitter. Oh, Father, G-d of mercy and compassion, release my soul from the trap of the side of unholiness that manages to entice us with its imaginary sweetness. Right from the start, one can already sense the bitterness that hides within it, such that even the biggest fool in the world—if he would only think for a moment—feels certain of the shameful falsehood, the impure sham, the bitterness of disappointment that awaits him. But I am the worst one of all, for despite the fact that I know all of this, I still followed my evil inclination blindly and allowed myself to be enticed into every shameful and disgusting thing. I brought such shame upon myself, my heart is broken from it, and my spirit feels no rest. I haven’t the nerve to come and ask to be saved yet again, every year. I don’t have it in me to be like a dog that returns to its vomit, or like a fool who repeats his folly.
14. My Father in Heaven, infuse me with complete faith in Your ability to save me from the trap of the side of unholiness, through the efforts of Your Tzaddikim who act as advocates on behalf of all the ones who are distant from You. Fill me with complete faith in the power of their teachings—that they can purify the mind and cleanse the blood. Today, please draw the light of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai upon me, the light of a purified intellect, and let it spread throughout my entire body. Let it force out all the arrows that are stuck into me, the negative thoughts that flood my mind. Let it purify all my stirred-up and muddied blood, so that my liver will become cleansed and will begin to generate fresh blood, clean and pure blood that will spread throughout my circulatory system, blood that is drawn from a holy and supernal sweetness. I beg of You, merciful G-d, purify my muddied blood and change it into still waters. Transform all of the stormwinds that blow within me into a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of advice and might, a spirit of knowledge and fear of G-d.
15. Merciful One, have pity on such a downtrodden person as I am. Draw upon me all the spiritual forces from the place where the life force of Moshiach is drawn. Make me worthy of the spirit of life, the life force that will purify all my blood so that I will stop hating righteous, worthy, and simple people that only mean well and so that I will merit to feel true love of my fellow Jews. For as long as my muddied blood still flows within me, I will continue to stumble and hate others for no reason, and the true Tzaddikim will continue to be thorns in my eyes. While I continue to libel and lie about people who are my betters, my blood becomes more and more muddied and I cannot cleanse it. So now, Father, what can I do? I’ve sinned so much in this area, I’ve spewed out so much falsehood about Your creations my whole life long. It’s as though my whole self, my actions, my words, and my thoughts have been only lies, flattery, and attention-seeking. I think only about my own honor all day long; I’m only concerned with appearances, and I pull the wool over other people’s eyes. So how can I turn to You, Hashem? How can such a fool as I am, someone who is so sunk in this-worldly nothingness, expect to be favored by You? I’ve already destroyed the divine image that was mine to manifest; I’ve fallen to the lowest rung—it’s even lower than that of the harmful serpent. Oh G-d! I’ve degraded righteous and upright people, holy and pure people who only mean to do right, who never did a bad thing to me! I’ve been an ingrate, and I've even been disrespectful to those who have been good to me.
16. Master of the Universe, I still am holding on to You. And I haven’t despaired, G-d forbid! For You revealed to us that now, especially during these days of Sefirah, it is possible to rectify our flawed love of others. That is why I’ve come now before the exalted Tzaddik who rests here to seek Your favor for all that I’ve done with my muddied blood. I will beg for forgiveness for having shamed people and mocked my fellow Jews. Especially all of the upright and simple people who follow the advice of the Tzaddikim with total naivete and straightforwardness. I know that the mercy of the true Tzaddikim is limitless and that they only want to plead on our behalf before Your Throne of Glory—to beg for mercy of the exalted G-d. I know that they have the power and that they will do their all to save even someone as lowly as I am, someone who allows his lusts and bad character traits to walk all over him. That is why I rely on the great mercy of the Tzaddik, and now I have come to honestly and simply beg him to transform me from bad to good and to purify me—the inner part of my heart, my limbs, senses, and sinews—not just superficially, as I have done until now. But rather that he should really arouse me from the bottom of my heart to deep and real regret over the past and to resolve to be free of all evil in the future—to remove the leaven from myself, once and for all, so that I shouldn’t see it or find it, not in my thoughts or in my actions.
17. Master of the Universe, You are so full of mercy and great and awesome kindness. Through the Zohar and its Tikkunim , the writings of the Arizal and his students, You revealed the unbelievable greatness of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. How worthwhile it is to rely on him during times of trouble and spiritual fall. He can be our advocate, and he can arouse us to pull out of all our spiritual falls so that we merit to repent completely. His merit is sufficient for all the generations—for every type of fall or failing. Our experience will bear out the promise that he made to us—that he can achieve an acquittal in the Heavenly Court for every single person who ever was or will be, for anyone who will come to his holy gravesite and mention his name and his merit.
18. I beg of You, merciful and compassionate One, save me from the treacherous grip of my own sin, for Your mercy and limitless kindness extend even to such a sinner as I am, someone who wanders a path of iniquity and who is afflicted with all forms of depression and despair. It even seems as though all hope is lost and that no one can help me. I’ve said bitterly, “No one can raise me up again. No one can wake me up again. My whole life has passed by and I have nothing to show for it. I’ve filled it with the debris of bad thoughts and forbidden gazing; they have damaged my soul and driven the higher elements of my soul from me.” The dogs surround me; they bare their teeth at me and pounce. My heart is poured out like water and my bones are out of joint. My heart melts within me.
19. My G-d and the G-d of my fathers, please don’t abandon me! Rush to my assistance, for this is what encourages me: that the merit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his teachings can save me from even the most difficult challenges and from all of my failing and falling. And even if I have no more strength, even if I have no more words, even if death is at my doorstep, I still do not despair! For You can save me in the merit of the great humility of the Tzaddikim, of the humility of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who made himself like the very dust. He actually was buried in the dust for thirteen years, and while his physical skin wore away, he shed the “skin of the serpent.” That was what allowed Moshe Rabbeinu and Eliyahu the Prophet together with a heavenly entourage to come and reveal the secrets of the Torah to him, the secrets of the celestial and terrestrial worlds, of all the angels and seraphim—no secret was withheld from him. The secrets of all souls were clear as day to him, including their roots and all their incarnations throughout history. He knew all that would happen to each and every one of us—how we would become rectified and how we are to be saved from all that threatens us spiritually and materially.
20. Master of the Universe, I’ve come to his holy gravesite now to pour my prayer out before You, that You should save me from all that threatens my soul and body, in the merit of the Tzaddik. I’ve hinged my hopes on his holy grave, and I believe that his merit will awaken me from my slumber, that it will pull me out of my falling and raise me up again.
21. Master of the Universe, during these sanctifying and purifying days of Sefirah, these days of repentance that prepare every Jewish soul to receive the Torah, help me to repent the way that Rabbi Akiva did. At the beginning of his life he said, “If I only had a Torah scholar here right now, I would bite him like a wild ass!” But in the end, he merited to repent at the highest level. He entered and exited Paradise in peace, and revealed the multitude of laws that can be derived from every pointed crown of the letters of a Torah scroll. This is the very mystery of the holy time of Sefirah, that anyone who has a true thought of repentance during these days (and especially on this holy and awesome day) is assured that his very hairs will shine with the most precious light. He will be so permeated with the G-dly awareness that descends on Seder night and is revealed during Sefirah, that the light of that consciousness will radiate out even by way of the hair of his head. This light is completed on the day of “hod she'b'hod,” the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s death. Then, on the festival of Shavuos, a person can reach the fiftieth gate that was hidden even from Adam HaRishon.
22. Master of the Universe, make me a part of the amazing rectification that the students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai accomplished with the exemplary self-sacrifice that they learned from their teacher. With their incredible mutual love, and total selflessness, they merited to transform the fire of their own severity into a pillar of holy flame. Because of this, a pillar of fire surrounded them as they learned Torah, and with it, they completely rectified the flaw of the students of Rabbi Akiva.
23. Please, Hashem, help me to become like them, for they were completely free of their physicality just as their teacher was. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai merited to manifest all five levels of his soul only because his body first wore away when he was in the cave for those thirteen years. His students, too, merited to rise to the level of “neshama.” They became like angels, and they bore their own souls to the Throne of Glory and merited to die sweetly by cleaving directly to You.
24. Master of the Universe, save me from the awful sin of baseless hatred and mocking others. Purify my heart to love You and all Your creations, especially during these days of Sefirah when Rabbi Akiva’s students who were flawed in this respect died. You acted severely with them, and punished them harshly, even though their flaw was so subtle. Please help us to be like Rabbi Akiva who entered and exited Paradise in peace because he gave in to others to preserve peace. This was why his prayer for rain was answered immediately when he begged, “Our Father, our King, we have no King but You. Our Father, our King, have mercy on us for Your sake.” He was above mere physicality, for as his flesh was combed with iron rakes, his soul ascended to the highest spheres. He cleared away all the spiritual obstacles himself and took vengeance on the enemy. I beg of You, Hashem, save Your beloved children in his merit, and in the merit of the ten martyrs, and all of the martyrs that were bound and burned throughout the ages. If we would follow their path of self-sacrifice, we would immediately be worthy of receiving a Temple built of fire. Then, all of the bonfires they jumped into as if they were dancing will be transformed into pillars of fire and glory.
25. I beg of You, merciful and compassionate Father, You choose Your nation Israel with everlasting love. Loving and pitying Father, You love every single Jewish soul more than anything else in the world. You take pride in every single Jew—even the sinners—because every Jewish soul emanates from Your Throne of Glory. You have so much pity on Your Jewish people who are trying to follow Your ways, who have faith in Your Tzaddikim . Because of Your pity on us, You revealed amazing rectifications to the true Tzaddikim, ways to forge new hearts for Your straying children, to re-create their hearts and minds by praying with proper intention and by learning Torah with love and awe. You gave them the power to raise every soul up to its source and to draw down light for it from that place so that it can repent completely. If we follow the advice of the Tzaddikim , our purified eyes will witness Your wonders; great things will be revealed to us. Our ears, that we guard from negative and empty chatter, will then be able to hear the songs of angels, heavenly pronouncements, and voices from above. We will be able to hear the Ten Commandments from Your very Mouth. By guarding our speech, we will be able to sing before You like Your angels on high, and if we will not raise a hand or foot without You, the whole creation will spring and dance before us.
26. You revealed to us through Your incredible Tzaddikim —Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the Arizal, the Baal Shem Tov, and their students—that the rectification of the entire world depends on us. Lofty mutual love will help us to transcend our own physical limitations, for only physical bodies are distinct from one another. On the level of the soul, we are all one. All of us emanate from Your unique Name. We are all bound together within the end-point of the “dalet” of “Echad.” And that end-point parallels the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai; it encompasses all of the souls of the Tzaddikim, all of the souls that have existed or will ever exist. If we would only really focus our minds on self- sacrifice and negation of our own egos as we pronounce the “dalet” of “Echad,” if we would only accept the four types of capital punishment upon ourselves during the Shema, then all of creation would repent immediately and would return to its source. All egotism would be nullified and a new spiritual world would be revealed. The souls held prisoner among the impure husks would rise, the wicked and the assimilationists would repent, and those who forgot the Rock from which they came would return to the bosom of the faith of their merciful fathers and the Seven Shepherds. All severity and conflict would be nullified by Yitzchak, for the secret of the redemption is hidden within him. He transforms all severity into joy and happiness; he points with his finger and helps us to see Hashem with our own eyes. He says, “You are Hashem, our Father and our Redeemer. Your Name is eternal.”
27. There is none but You, Hashem, and no one can make a move without the help of Your Tzaddikim, for we are like a pen in the hand of the scribe. And if You would only hand us over to the redeeming Tzaddik, he could do whatever he wants with our hands and minds. He could re-make our hearts, that even now are as cruel as Amalek, Ammon, and Moav. For we too do not go out to offer bread and water to others, but we keep our bread to ourselves. We hide away in our homes and act as though the all-seeing Eye above doesn’t see us.
28. I beg of You, merciful and compassionate G-d, may the sanctity of the eyes of the Tzaddikim, and especially of the holy and awesome Tzaddik, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, help to return Your eyes to their proper place. May Your eyes that wander throughout the world seeking to punish and destroy return to their rightful place in the Foundation Stone in the Temple in Yerushalayim. May the merit of our mutual love bring us to sit beneath our own fig trees and rectify the sin of the fig tree—the sin of the breaking of the vessels, of the moon’s complaint that “two kings cannot wear one crown.” For this can be repaired in the sefirah of “hod she'b'hod,” when all of the sefiros are joined together and everyone can see the splendor of their fellow Jews, especially the splendor of their friends and relatives, since the challenge of seeing the greatness of those who are closest to us is usually the strongest. May we then overturn all severity into mercy, through the song of the Levi’im in the third Temple. Then even the Kohanim will be turned into Levi’im, and they will spend most of their time singing since that will be the main way to serve Hashem during the time of Moshiach. They will transform all of the harshness of fire and stormwind into the pleasing spirit of joy and happiness. And the golden Menorah that was made to mitigate the severity of anger, will become the touchstone of Torah study. The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the sun’s light will be sevenfold stronger than during the week of creation. The sun will be taken out of its sheath, and it will heal the righteous and be like a fire for the wicked. The sun of judgment will be enfolded in mercy, and the hidden Torah will be blessed, so that all of the secrets in its every letter and crown will be revealed .
29. Therefore, our living and eternal Redeemer, enlighten us with the secrets of the Torah on this holy and awesome day. Reveal the hidden Torah to us so that we will be worthy of an everlasting redemption, of a Temple that will be built of heavenly fire.
30. Master of the Universe, nothing is beyond You and You can accomplish anything. Please make us worthy of the hidden Torah today, for today is “hod she'b'hod.” It is the time when the feet begin to falter, and is the very secret of the redemption. For we can merit to repair all of the aspects of “feet” so that all of our falling will change into ascension, all of our failings will become successes, and all of our sins will be transformed into merits. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai rectified the sin of Shimon who threw Yosef into the pit by remaining buried in the earth of his cave for thirteen years. He also rectified the sin of Achiyah HaShiloni, who took on an unworthy student (Yeravam ben Nevat), by becoming like a pillar of fire in his cave. A pillar of flame came out of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and surrounded his students day and night to protect them from learning with an unworthy student.
31. Please, help me to be one of the worthy students who prostrate themselves at the graves of the Tzaddikim, who learn their holy teachings and delve into them day and night. I beg of You, Master of all Worlds—our Father, merciful Father—help me to learn the teachings of the mightiest Tanna who lies here, to study that which he revealed and also the teachings of the Arizal and the Baal Shem Tov and the rest of the Tzaddikim. Their words will forever be upon my lips; I will be fluent in them and they will be inscribed on my heart. And fill Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s heart with mercy for me, that he should never abandon me, that he should bring me closer to his ways and open my heart to understand his teachings, that he should reveal his secrets to me, the secrets that he discovered and revealed to his students.
32. I beg of You, merciful and compassionate G-d, help me to become one of his worthy students in this generation, and grant my descendants, and the descendants of all the Jewish people, the merit to follow in his ways and be counted among his worthy students. Incorporate me within his soul, and within the souls of the Patriarchs and all of the Seven Shepherds, and all the Tzaddikim who lived throughout the ages. That way I will be able to mitigate all of the harshness and all the blood that churns and boils within my every limb and sinew, the blood of anger, jealousy, and causeless hatred—the blood of base desires and bad character traits. Please help me so that all of this bad blood within me will become completely purified during the days of Sefirah. Let it be transformed into calm and tranquil blood, sweet and holy blood, so that I will rectify all of the bloodshed that my churning blood caused. I will merit to rectify all the blood of innocent and righteous Jews that I shed during my entire lifetime and to repair the damage that I caused in all my previous incarnations, for my misdeeds caused bloodshed throughout the entire world, especially in the holy city of Yerushalayim. I am the guilty one who has caused Jewish blood to be spilled in the streets, and no one opens his mouth in protest. My G-d! I play such a bitter part in this! I know, my Rock and my Creator, that I am the guilty one, because I stumbled into impure thoughts and forbidden sights, both of which are the root of evil and the source of all the blood that is spilled each and every day. My G-d! I don’t even truly feel how guilty I am! And if Eliyahu the Prophet was unable to visit with the holy Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi because of a single corpse that had been found three parsang away from his vicinity, what can I say? What can such a poor one as I am say while Jewish blood is spilled around me every day? This is why I have come before You, merciful One, to cry and beg for atonement and forgiveness for my part in all of this. Please, protect Your nation Israel and stay the hand of the destroyer. Have pity and forgive me all my sins—they are so numerous that they overwhelm me. “For this I cry; tears drip from my eyes, for comfort is far from me.” The hands of assimilationists rule over us because of our many sins. They have no pity on even the youngest children, and they ride roughshod over the Torah, our most precious possession. Women and children, babies and the elderly, are murdered in the streets. “My eyes are worn out from crying…over the destruction of my people.”
33. There is no one to intercede with You on our behalf. There is no one who can save us from our trouble, except for the Tzaddik who lies here, Moshe the faithful shepherd, and the Seven Shepherds. Only they can save us from the curse of, “Your destroyers will emerge from amongst you.” No one can comfort us, all our enemies rejoice when they hear that our own seek to destroy us. They sell our nation for nothing, for flattery and deception, for mere illusory honor. My G-d! I am the one who is responsible of all of this, for all of my Torah study, prayer, and good deeds have been tainted by ulterior motives of self-promotion and attention-seeking. And You revealed to us through Your true Tzaddikim that everything depends on our actions, on whether they are good or bad. The world’s fate rests in our hands, for good or ill.
34. Master of the Universe, please pity me and have mercy on me so that I will be able to repair all that I ruined, all that I blemished and corrupted. Help me to repent completely, to guard my eyes and mind, to study Torah all my days and nights, and to increase my G-dly awareness and sanctity through every day of my life. For this is the very secret of the days of Sefirah, during which G-dly awareness comes down to us to last us the whole year long. Every day appears with new wisdom, with song, with greater holiness and new melodies. Every day comes with new enlightening inspiration to feel true regret, together with a new song of attachment to the Creator. This new song is the root of all wisdom, the source of all understanding, and every day it is renewed with a melody that comes from the Endless Light, with new power to hope and yearn, that destroys our small-mindedness and brings all the aspects of our consciousness together in an expanded way.
35. I beg of You, merciful and compassionate Father, may this great light that renews itself daily during Sefirah bring us to experience amazing presence of mind in an orderly way, so that we should become attached to You wondrously and not be like those who “rise to heaven and fall to the depths.” Let us break out of the stormwind that comes from flawed speech, from slander and baseless hatred, that raises us to the heavens and drops us into the abyss. It makes our ascent radical and unstable, so that we then fall terribly. For You see how even as I learn and pray I continue to fall, for my learning and prayer fill my mind and heart with egotistical thoughts. Please, merciful and compassionate G-d, You revealed to us that it is impossible to break one’s arrogance (which drives one away from the Tzaddik) except by becoming closer to true Tzaddikim . It is impossible to break one’s arrogance except through the spirit in the heart that comes from the true Tzaddik, which is the spirit of joy and dance. Only that can destroy the arrogance which is likened to idolatry and the Divine wrath and judgments that go with it.
36. I beg of You, my Father in Heaven, remove all arrogant thoughts from within me. Make me worthy of pure prayer and learning Torah for the sake of heaven, and may my dancing and hand-clapping drive the foot of arrogance away from me so that I will merit to “cleanse my feet” and experience the “faithful kindness of King David.”
37. Master of the Universe, during these holy days of Sefirah, when we can ascend and attach ourselves to You at the highest spheres, make us worthy of seeking You out, of searching for You constantly and in all places. I know that even if I am as I am, even if I am worse than anyone else, still if I will only seek You out with all my might, You will stretch Your hand toward me from the crevice. Especially during the days of Sefirah, through the interceding of the true Tzaddik who wears “techeiles” and “chur.” It says about him, “Your handful of grain came and drove away [Haman’s] ten thousand kikar of silver,” for the measure of grain that is brought during the days of Sefirah can bind one to the true Tzaddik. It can push off all the decrees in the world, even those that are like Haman’s purchase of the destruction of the Jewish people with his ten thousand kikar of silver. As long as the Divine seal is only imprinted in clay, as long as we still have some shame and are willing to humble ourselves before the Tzaddikim, it is still possible to mitigate all the judgments in the world. A massacre of the Jewish people can still be averted, especially here at the holy grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, for Eliyahu the Prophet stands at the entrance, and he was the one who rectified all of the severity of Cain and transformed it into a chariot and team of horses of fire.
38. My Father in Heaven, Master of the Universe, favor me with the light of Your countenance. Please help me too, my Father. Help me to rectify the spiritual root of Cain during these days, the root of the severity that churns and boils within me, that refuses to let me rest. Then flax (which is from the side of judgment) will be transformed into the garments of mercy of the Kohanim, and all the harsh judgments will change into garments of mercy that will enclothe our bodies in the future Temple of heavenly fire. Fire will be incorporated within water, and the water will shine like precious stones. All of the towns of Judea will shine like pearls, and Yerushalayim will be draped with sapphires.
39. Master of the Universe, Master of the entire World, who is like You, merciful Father? Who does good the way that You do? Who brings salvation as You do? You are the Master of mercy and forgive abundantly. During these holy days of Sefirah, and especially on this anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s death, please forgive us for Your Sake; forgive us and grant us an atonement. Master of the Universe, have mercy on me and on all of the Jewish people during these days that saw the passing of the twenty-four thousand students of Rabbi Akiva. Remove the harsh judgments that are upon us during these days of judgment, for we see that, even now, worthy and innocent Jews are slaughtered every day. So please purify me of my sins that cause all of this harm. For I too have slaughtered innocent people who are so much better than I am. Please, Hashem, have mercy on me. Only You know how great and wonderful Your mercy really is. Have mercy on me in the merit of the holy Tzaddik who lies here. In his merit and for the sake of his righteousness, pull me out of all the depths to which I’ve sunk and bring me truly and honestly back to You. Then I will again be able to unify all of the forty-nine holy sefiros, which are the source of all the G-dly awareness I achieve during the year and during my lifetime. Please, have pity on me in Your kindness and show me Your way. Make me worthy of holding onto Your holy attributes and Your ways of goodness and mercy that are extensions of Your thirteen attributes of mercy, for they are the way in which You interact with all of Your creations. Then I, too, will be able to follow in Your path and act truly mercifully with Your creations, in all the ways of kindness that comprise Your thirteen attributes of mercy. I will be good to everyone, I will bestow charity and good and kindness to all those who follow Your ways, to truly deserving poor people. Then I will be able to arouse Your mercy during these days of Sefirah that are, themselves, manifestations of Your holy and pure thirteen attributes of mercy. I will arouse Your mercy upon me and upon all of the Jewish people so that You forgive us on this holy day, for it says that the death of Tzaddikim atones just like Yom HaKippurim. Please forgive me all my sins on this day, and forgive all the sins of the Jewish people. Take us out of this bitter exile and redeem us from the tyranny of the assimilationists who have allowed our bodies and souls to be preyed upon by the wild birds and beasts. Remove this evil from us in the merit of my repentance, for it was my sins that brought this great calamity upon us.
40. Please, Hashem, protect and save me from now on from sin, both intentional and accidental. Restore me to You in complete repentance so that I can really be the way You want me to be—myself, and my children, and all my descendants forever. Help me and save me so that I should also help others follow Your holy ways, that they should also hold onto Your ways of goodness and mercy, being kind to others in every possible way. “I will teach sinners Your ways, and they will return to You.”
41. Hashem, full of mercy, You know how far I am from true mercy, how far I am from really being kind to others the way that I ought to be. I am so empty because I haven’t even done a thousandth of what I should have. And, what’s worse, I’ve even been cruel to them; I’ve even ignored them and their needs. The natural mercy that you planted within me when I was born has been destroyed by my own corrupt thinking and perverse actions. And now, who can help me? This is why I’ve planted my hopes on the merit of the awesome Tzaddik who lies here, that he will not let me leave Your Presence empty handed. You will surely restore my attribute of mercy and help me to repair all that I destroyed.
42. Master of the Universe, have pity on us, for Your sake if not for our own. See how we stand here so empty! You act charitably with every living creature and do not pay back the evil that we do in kind. Quickly, then, send Your mercy for we are utterly bereft and have no strength to arouse Your mercy ourselves, not through prayer and not by being merciful to others. I beg of You, Hashem, have mercy on us for You are full of mercy, and don’t pay attention to our sins. Forgive us and accept atonement for all of our many blemishes so that no trace of them will remain. Turn everything bad into good so that all of our past failures will become vessels of humility to receive the Endless Light of Your Spirit. All of our sins will be transformed into merits, as if we actually repented completely. We do not rely on our own righteousness as we beseech You, but we only rely on Your great mercy that was revealed in the world through the power and in the merit of Your true Tzaddikim. They drew down Your ways of goodness and mercy into this world and revealed to us that Your kindness is endless and Your mercy is limitless and that You are prepared to be merciful once again with us in every single circumstance, as if we had just been born again. For we have trusted in their great and awesome power to come before You and prostrate ourselves before the splendor of Your Holiness to plead for Your endless mercy. Hashem, do what is good in Your eyes, for we are the clay and You are the potter. We are the work of Your Hands. Remember Your kindness and mercy, Hashem, for they are eternal. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before You, Hashem, my Rock and my Deliverer.
43. Master of the Universe, make me worthy of holy speech and of being a truly holy person. Help me to always rise from one level to the next until I merit to actually have the Shechina speak through me. Bring me to all of this in the merit of the holy and awesome Tzaddik , in the merit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who lies here, who was a truly holy man, who was the epitome of what a human being could become. And although I’ve asked for the near-impossible, nothing is too difficult for You in Your great mercy and compassion. And I know that, honestly, my level is so low that I shouldn’t have the nerve to ask for even the smallest thing and that everything holy in the world is about as far from me as far could be. But we have heard about Your exaltedness from a distance and Your unimaginable and limitless kindness. What I have seen with my own eyes is like a drop in the ocean of Your endless mercy. This is why I am full of hope, and why I dare to open my mouth to ask to be brought to the highest of levels, for nothing is beyond You—you can do everything. And this is why You created Your world—to show Your goodness, Your mercy and Your kindness to all those who yearn to receive it.
44. Master of the Universe, have pity on such a poor one as I am, such a low person as I am, for my very guilt and distance from You only reveals Your goodness and kindness all the more. This is the main aspect of Your greatness, for when You are kind and good to those who are deserving, Your amazing goodness is not really revealed. When You give to those true Tzaddikim who serve You every day of their lives with true self-sacrifice Your kindness is less apparent, for their good deeds make them worthy of what they receive. But when You are kind to someone like me, Your good and kind ways are revealed with a great and awesome light, and when someone as distant and guilty as I am comes close to You, Your compassion, which is beyond all human comprehension, is revealed in the most glorious way.
45. Master of the Universe, full of mercy, Lord of joy and delight, happiness is in Your place and there is no sadness before You at all. In Your great mercy and powerful kindness, help me to always be happy. You revealed to us through Your true Tzaddikim that joy is of the side of holiness and that depression and melancholy are from the side of unholiness. Hashem hates sadness very much, and the holiness of a Jew is expressed through his joy. All of our distance from You and our overwhelming bad desires are products of depression and melancholy. Hashem, You surely know how damaged my joy is, and far I am from true joy. That is why I have come before You, merciful One, on this holy and awesome day in the merit of the divine Tanna, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. He is the joy of all of Israel—he draws joy upon all of us. He assures me that You will help me and gladden me with Your salvation, that you will enlighten me with the ways of Your true advice and teach me how to always be happy in the merit of the holy and awesome Tzaddik who lies here. For he taught us that only joy can mitigate judgments and all harsh decrees. Then I will be able to turn all kinds of sorrow and sighing into joy and happiness, and the side of unholiness will have no opportunity to infiltrate my being with any sort of groaning and sighing, heaven forbid! On the contrary, I will merit to always encourage and strengthen myself with great joy so that no sadness will be able to gain a foothold in me. Rather, all the depression that could have taken hold of me because of my many sins will be transformed into joy, for even though I have made so many mistakes, Hashem nevertheless had pity on me and gave me life and did not abandon me. He created me a Jew and graced me with the opportunity to perform great and amazing commandments each and every day—to wrap myself in a tallis and to don tefillin, to recite the Shema and greet the Shabbos and the festivals, to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, and to fast on Yom HaKippurim , to sit in a Sukkah and take up the four species, to eat matzah on Pesach and to count the Omer. And, more than anything, he gave me this holy and awesome commandment—to come to the holy gravesite and beg my Creator for mercy in the merit of the Tzaddik. Even the lowest person can merit to come to this holy gravesite, to truly beg for mercy in the merit of the Tzaddik who lies here. If he will plead for his own soul and beg to repent completely, then surely his prayer and repentance will be accepted. You have done so much good for us! Your mercy and kindness overwhelm us, for You have crowned us with such awesome crowns. You have given us such amazing mitzvos! And, despite this long exile and our distance from You because of our sins, Your love for us endures forever. And You make even me worthy of performing some commandments every single day. So I certainly have good reason to be happy all the time and to transform my sorrow into joy. For that is my joy—that someone as distant and blemished as I am can merit to approach such holy and awesome things as these are. For that reason alone, we should sing and dance day and night.
46. There is one opinion that Meron is Kadesh, a city of refuge, of the Levi’im. They would bring everyone to repent there with their music and singing. They could even revive the person who had killed negligently, someone who had lost all his life-force and had become separated from his spiritual source. The Levi’im did this with their songs and dances which could bring about forgiveness for all sins. By singing of renewed faith every morning, they brought new life—new souls—to those who were cast out and broken. With their love and attachment to You, they were able to bring all those who had sinned, whether intentionally or accidentally, closer to You. That was why their cities were chosen to be the refuge for cast out souls. Please, Hashem, in the merit of Meron and the one who rests here, bring us to sing and dance and to cancel all of Your anger, with our brotherhood and friendship and loving repentance.
47. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the reason why I have come to your holy gravesite is so that you will restore my soul to me and renew it within me. For all those who come to your holy grave, who make the effort of the journey so that they can rest in your shadow, please save every one of them with your merits. Breathe a new soul into them, for you can transform the dry bones of those who believe in you into a flowing garden, into an ever-flowing spring. Share your spirit with us, so that our light can burst forth like the dawn. Our healing will quickly flourish, and your righteousness will go before us. G-d’s glory will gather us in. Then when we call, Hashem will answer us. We will cry out and He will say, “I am here.” Our light will shine out of the darkness—our souls will rejoice and our hearts will exult—because our darkness will be like the bright light of midday. Our souls will be doubly bright and renewed. This is why I will, from now on, encourage myself to always be happy, and I will never let any sorrow or despair affect me at all. I will say to myself: On the contrary! This is my joy and strength—that I trust in the Rock of my salvation, that I know that He will never abandon me in the merit of the true Tzaddik who revealed the seventy Tikkunim that are more precious than gold and pearls. They have the power to save even the most distant souls, even me—and I am more distant than anyone else. See how even I merited to come to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s grave and come in contact with such awesome holiness! Oh, when will my deeds come close to those of my ancestors? When will I merit to come even the smallest bit close to their merits? But I am still with you and still believe that there is hope for even a sinner like me, for someone who has fled to the city of refuge, to the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. And as long as I am for my beloved, my beloved will be for me. I will hold on to him and not let go, I will seek him out and find him. I won’t ever let you go, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, as long as I still have life within me! Your teachings will not leave my mouth until I come to experience the highest level of joy—just like those truly inspired and searching souls. My joy will increase so much, like one of the Patriarchs, until every trace of sadness and sorrow will leave me. Depression will cease to exist forever through this incredible joy and happiness, and I will come to fulfill all the commandments with great and powerful joy.
48. My Father in Heaven, in the merit of this joy, please return to me in Your great mercy and build up my ruins. Return to me and build up my innermost chambers so that my palace stands firm. My mind will be established, and my holy awareness will sit firmly as it should. All the parts of my soul will return to me in true holiness and great purity, in truth and complete faith, in never-ending joy and happiness. In the merit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, I will quickly rise from one level to the next, higher and higher, until, in Your mercy, I actually access all the nine heavenly chambers that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai revealed. All that my soul and spirit longs for day and night are these chambers. This is what I was created for: to become worthy of these chambers that are so beyond any understanding or reason that no mind can comprehend them. My soul thirsts for the living G-d! When will I come and see G-d’s Face? How lovely are Your dwelling places, Hashem; my soul yearns and longs for Your courtyards. My heart and flesh will sing to the living G-d! Even while I still live in this world, I can truly know You. With Your help I can rise to the highest levels of holiness, to the very summit—the perfection—of that which a Jew can attain in this world. That is why my soul descended to this world from its place on high: to rise up again to the Rock from which it was hewn, and even higher than that.
49. Master of the Universe, help us to raise up and improve ourselves during the days of Sefirah, for they help us to prepare for Shavuos. May we attain that state of absolute unity that we did when we saw the vision of Your glory, like a burning fire at the top of the mountain. We will come to the amazing level of mutual harmony and wholehearted self-effacement that transformed all of that generation’s harshness into a burning fire, into the thunder and lightning and the sound of the shofar. As much as their self-effacement intensified, so did the sound of the shofar get stronger until the Ten Commandments could be heard throughout the whole world. “The entire nation saw the sounds,” the sound of the souls coming together as one. And their souls left them with every Divine utterance that they heard, just like the brothers who almost expired with longing and selflessness when they saw Yosef. The Endless Light was revealed to them then—Yosef’s light, the supernal sweetness. Father, help us to also feel this now, when we’ve come to this holy gravesite. Our souls should have left us just as when we heard the Ten Commandments, when their sound reverberated throughout the whole world. We really should feel this powerful yearning for the Endless Light, for the light of the Tzaddik that shines from one end of the earth to the other. It would be only right for us to yearn and long to the limit of our spiritual and physical strength, until we lose all consciousness of self, until we rise to a level that is beyond souls, to the hidden worlds of yearning and longing that become revealed during the holy days of Sefirah. These days are like Chol HaMoed—Pesach precedes them and Shavuos comes afterward, and especially on this day, the sefirah of hod she'b'hod, the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. He merited to manifest the highest level of his own soul—Yechidah.
50. Our Father, holy and awesome G-d, exalted, hidden, and lofty, please bring us also to this holy level of Yechidah—the level of the Tzaddikim who merited to reach Yechidah in the most complete and lofty way. That way we will know that there is no other but You, that You are alone in the entire universe, and that no one can make the slightest move without You, for good or ill. Make us worthy of serving You with great self-sacrifice like the holy Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, until our own feelings and egos are nullified. Then we will be completely encompassed in Your endless light. We will have reached absolute humility, absolute self-effacement. May we be worthy of completely becoming a part of one another in the most humble way so that we can receive from one another. All of our friends’ holy awareness will then shine into us. May we become a part of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and all the Tzaddikim whose souls include all the six hundred thousand roots of the Jewish souls. They attained all of the six hundred thousand types of holy consciousness and, with them, received the Torah from Your Mouth. Every day, they heard the Ten Commandments and the sound of the shofar growing ever louder—it emanated from within their own pure bodies. They had nullified all their love of false and ephemeral things and were worthy of feeling flames of holy love. They destroyed all the leaven in their hearts—the need to criticize Torah scholars and the Tzaddikim of the generation and to make subjective judgments about them.
51. Please, merciful and compassionate G-d, reveal King David’s power of vision to us, for his power of vision is revealed on the night of the fourteenth of Nissan. It gets stronger and stronger until Lag B’Omer, the day of “Uncover (gal) my eyes and I will see the wonders of Your Torah.” The heart is then inflamed with the fires of love so that it becomes a true heart of flesh that can hear the growing sound of the shofar. Starting from Lag B’Omer, the day of the revelation of the secrets of the Torah by the true Tzaddik, the sound of the giving of the Torah can begin to be heard. Please, in the merit of the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, make us worthy of leaving this bitter exile. “With this book, the book of the Zohar, they will leave the exile.” And in the merit of the Tanna Rabbi Shimon who is alluded to in the verse, “A holy angel descended from heaven,” may we be worthy of a revelation of the Torah of the Ancient and Hidden One. May Moshiach ben David then be revealed. “His eyes are red with wine, his teeth are white with milk.” “With fine eyes, and good sight,” he sees his own smallness; he sees only the good points in each and every person. With his “fine eye,” he brings the complete redemption.
52. Master of the Universe, full of mercy, I stand before You in fear and trembling on this day when the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai rises to the highest chambers and to new worlds. I beg and plead before You, You who grant understanding to human beings, please enlighten us with the holy teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Open our hearts and minds to the secrets of his teachings. With them, he shot arrows into the lower serpent that holds onto malchus she'b'malchus, that drags us down to the deepest hell. And he also shot arrows into the upper serpent that holds onto binah she'b'malchus, that “defiled the sanctuary of Hashem” and destroyed the Temple.
53. Our Father, merciful Father, you sent down the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai after the destruction of the Temple so that he would draw down the rectifications necessary for the redemption. Please, in Your mercy, enlighten us too during our own bitter exile with the rectifications that come down during the days of Sefirah. For, during these days, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai shot arrows into the heart of the side of unholiness; he did it with his bow and arrow, with his slingshot and spear. And when the days of Sefirah are over, the “horse and its rider are pitched into the sea.” When the fifty days of Sefirah are complete, the side of unholiness becomes null and void, and one can see the supernal chariot and hear the Ten Commandments.
54. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, you are the master of the slingshot, you are the shepherd who goes out among the sheep to protect them from the bears, wolves, and wild beasts that come to consume them. Get up and take your slingshot in hand! You are the holy slingshot of Hashem from which three holy and precious stones, the three Patriarchs, have been shot. About you it says, “The stone that the builders scorned has become the cornerstone.” And about you it says, “This stone that I have placed as a monument will be a house of G-d.” This is the holy Zohar, the cornerstone of every holy book in the world. About you it says, “The stone that struck the idol became a great mountain and filled the entire world” (Zohar, Ki Teitzei 279b). And the verse speaks of you when it says, “Those who give knowledge will shine like the heaven’s glow, and those who turn the masses to righteousness will shine like the stars.” “Those who give knowledge”—they are the ones who know how to throw that stone, to drive through to the very innards of that snake above and below. And the one who kills the snake is given the King’s only daughter. That stone falls to such a place that no one knows where it is. The holy angels ask about it: “Where is the place of its glory?” No one knows its place. And even though it is small down below, up above it stretches to infinity. When this small stone is thrown all the heavens shake, all the angels and the members of the heavenly academy tremble. And if all this happens when one small stone is thrown, how much more so is it when Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai comes down with his sword and his spear. You unsheathed your sword against your enemies—his weapon is the recitation of Shema and “Boruch Shem.” Together, they include forty-nine letters that parallel the forty-nine days of Sefiras Ha'Omer, and the two recitations of Shema include fifty letters, which parallel the festival of Shavuos.
55. Get up, Rabbi Shimon, and quickly don your weapons, your arrows and bow, your slingshot, your spear and your sword! For all the upper and lower worlds, all the angels above and below, and all the members of the heavenly academy wait to assist you. The verse spoke about you when it said, “And David took five stones from the stream.” Those five stones are Gedulah, Gevurah, Tiferes, Netzach, and Hod. On the day of hod she'b'hod, the anniversary of your passing, you praise Hashem. You say, “Yours, Hashem, is the Gedulah , the Gevurah, the Tiferes, the Netzach, and the Hod.” You take these stones from the stream that is the sefirah of Yesod, and place them in your slingshot, the holy sefirah of Malchus. You make these five stones as one, and drive them into the forehead of the Plishti and kill him. These five stones are the words, “Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad.” And when you put them in your slingshot—your mouth—they have to be a unity. With them, Hashem will be the victor over all the nations of the world, “For then I will transform all the nations into a single clear language, so that all may call out in the Name of Hashem and serve Him as one.” In the future, all the nations of the world will submit to the authority of Moshiach the King, and he will make Hashem the ruler over them all.
56. Master of the Universe, full of mercy, help us to discover the secrets of the Torah that are to be found within the soul of every single Jew. Then all of the Torah’s secrets will be revealed, and we will be completely humble like Moshe. Like him, we will merit to hear, and make heard, the Ten Commandments. He merited this with his complete reverence and shamefacedness, the aspect of “Bereishis—Yirei Boshes.” He always sought out Your Glory that is hidden within all worlds, that is buried inside the heart of every single Jew. That made him worthy of hearing and seeing—of showing and making heard—the thunder and lighting, the fire that shines out from every single soul.
57. Master of the Universe, You do good even to the undeserving, so please help me to attach myself to the level of Rabbi Shimon and his students. A fire that was generated by their intense love for one another, the light of their joy in loving one another, encircled them. And because they worked so hard to discover the Torah’s secrets that are within each and every person, the soul of Rav Hamenuna Sava was revealed to them. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai himself attested to the fact that secrets that hadn’t been revealed since the giving of the Torah were revealed to them, and he was amazed that they hadn’t been burned. Rav Hamenuna Sava let them know the secret of the resurrection, that it will happen when the "feet" have fallen to the lowest place, to a place where this is no life-force at all. For, just prior to the completion of the rectification, it will be impossible to draw any light down to that place—except when yechidah she'b'yechidah is revealed. And, even so, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Abba were worthy of just such a revelation. They merited to draw light from yechidah she'b'yechidah all the way down to malchus she'b'malchus.
58. Please, Merciful and Compassionate One, make us worthy on this, the thirty-third day after the hanging of Haman, to receive the “masculine” holy awareness of Zeir Anpin. And after another thirty-three days, on the twenty-third of Sivan, help us to also receive the “feminine” holy awareness of the sefirah of Malchus. That was the day on which Queen Esther nullified the evil of Haman the Agaggi, and on that day, the collective soul of the Jewish people hears a voice from heaven calling out. “And, you, write whatever pleases you about the Jewish people and seal it with the signet of the King.” That is when the masculine and feminine aspects of holy consciousness are completed, and nothing of the side of unholiness holds sway. “For the fear of the Jews was upon them.” The aspects of holy consciousness are all completed by the Tzaddik, the one who, “seeks good for his people and speaks peace to all his progeny.”
59. Please, Hashem, may this holy consciousness help us to experience the illumination of the Tzaddik who rests here; he is the one who constantly unites “Where is the place of His Glory?” with “the whole earth is full of His Glory.” By doing so, he rectifies the flaw of Rabbi Akiva’s students. The aspect of “Where is?” hid the secrets of the Torah from them, the hidden greatness that lies within each and every person. Please help us to also repair this flaw completely and to reveal the secrets of the Torah that are hidden within each and every Jew. We will then be worthy of having the secrets of creation revealed to us, from the secret of the tiny gnat up until the lion, king of the beasts. Our faces will then shine with the mysteries of the Zohar and the Eitz Chayim, and all the other hidden secrets that have yet to be revealed. They are all an aspect of, “All the Torah concepts that will ultimately be innovated by the veteran student, were first given to Moshe at Sinai.” They are the secrets that can only be revealed by uncovering the inner nature of the Torah secrets that are within each and every Jew.
60. Master of the Universe, help me to attach myself to true Tzaddikim like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Because of him, the Torah will never be forgotten by us. His incredible revelations and hidden secrets penetrate to the innermost part of the soul of every single Jew wherever he may be. They warm his heart and elevate his spirit. They re-create him—his Jewishness and his holiness.
61. Hashem, help me to bask in the warmth of such holy, lofty souls as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. His soul was like a burning flame hewn out of the sefirah of Binah. He manifested the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu more powerfully than any other Tanna. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai merited to have the sound of his teachings cleave through all the heavens and break through every barrier. It destroyed all the “thorns” and canceled all the harsh judgments. His sweet teachings carried the scent of Gan Eden through all the heavenly spheres until they reached the very highest place. The angels above were silent before him, and they stopped singing their song of praise when his teachings could be heard. All of creation was aglow with his light, and was aroused by the power of his holiness. Even the birds of the skies awoke as if from a deep sleep, and began to spout wisdom. His face shone like the light of the sun at noon, and a pillar of fire surrounded him always. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was the greatest lion among lions, and he was not like the others. The roar of his prayers nullified every heavenly decree—not with fasting, but with joy and lofty attachment to You.
62. Master of the Universe, full of mercy, please help the true Tzaddikim in their battles against the heavenly accusers. For You know how intense this war is between Pesach and Shavuos—this war between the true Tzaddikim and the legions of the Satan. They want to obscure the prayers of the Jewish people that are blemished by sin and extraneous thoughts. But the Tzaddikim struggle to transform them into amazing vessels so that, with them, the Torah can be given anew. With them, every Jew will be able to hear the Ten Commandments once again. Please, merciful and compassionate G-d, help them to gather together all the pure good points that are dispersed among the prayers of Israel and to build them into a complete structure. They will build a Temple out of them, just as Moshe raised up and built the Tabernacle. Please, Hashem, make us worthy of understanding the secret of the ladder that appeared to Yaakov in his dream. He saw angels of merit, who were trying to raise up the prayers of the generation, doing battle with the accusing angels. Some prayers ascended and were accepted, and some were pushed away and fell. Until Hashem “stood above” him and gave him the good news that, in another twenty years, he himself would be gifted with a much higher soul. He, himself, would struggle and prevail against the Satan to raise up the prayers of his and all coming generations. All the prayers that had not yet managed to ascend to their source and achieve what they were meant to.
63. Master of the Universe, You perform wonders beyond human understanding—endless miracles. You did an amazing act of kindness for us by giving Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai the task of revealing and composing the holy Zohar so that we might study it day and night, so that we should know that he is the Tzaddik of the generation that raises up all the prayers and their teachings to their source. He purifies and cleanses them of all blemishes and dross. And now, G-d, Who is so full of mercy, Merciful and Compassionate One, You have given us these thirty-three days between Pesach and the holy anniversary of Rabbi Shimon’s passing. They are the thirty-three days of the purification of the mother after birth, after the birth of our holy awareness for the entire year that happened on the night of the Seder. And You commanded us that we should, “continue in the blood of our purifying for thirty-three days” to purify and cleanse us from every hint of dross and blemish, to release us from all kinds of defilement and impurity, so that the holy consciousness that we received on Seder night should be able to settle into our minds and infiltrate all of our bodies. For they cannot settle into the mind or spread throughout the entire body unless the mind is free of all dross and flaws. Every limb and organ of the body must be clean of all impurity—for without that, “[we] may not make contact with anything holy, and [we] may not come into the Temple.” Until all the days of purification are over, until we are able to cleanse and sanctify ourselves completely, we cannot make contact with holy consciousness or with the heavenly chambers.
64. So now, Hashem my G-d, full of mercy, where will our help come from? For, in order to become purified and cleansed, we need a place from which to start. And we still have not moved from the profane into the realm of the sacred even a hairsbreadth; we are swallowed up within the serpent himself, Satan. The waters were over my head; I said, “I am finished!” I have fallen into the deepest pit. I am locked in and cannot escape. And I have no hope and no one to rely on, except for the merit of the divine Tanna who lies here, the one who shoots arrows and spears into the very heart of the side of unholiness. He is truly merciful and diligently seeks out the good points of the Jewish people. This searching is an extension of the night of the fourteenth of Nissan, the night of the search for leaven. “On that day, I will search Yerushalayim with candles.” “The soul of man is the candle of G-d, searching through the chambers of the innards.” Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is the candle of G-d that searches through every single mitzvah, every single bit of Torah learned, every little prayer, for some good point. He is looking for the “one angel for the defense out of a thousand accusers.” He can raise our prayers up before Your Throne of Glory and speak on our behalf. He can mitigate all the harsh decrees that are decreed upon us every day. And, especially, he can mitigate the terrible accusations that arise during the days before the giving of the Torah. They intensify then all the more. They try to sneak up on the weak stragglers, just as Amalek did before the giving of the Torah, so that their prayers should not be accepted, and they should not merit to hear the Ten Commandments. That is why we come before You now, our Father in Heaven. Please remove all of the heavenly accusations that prevent the giving of the Torah, in the merit of the soul of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Even Moshe Rabbeinu was helped by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s soul when he went up to receive the Torah.
65. That is why I have come before You Who are full of great mercy. Please see me in my suffering and remember my smallness, and accept the words of our advocate who speaks on all of our behalf. Heal me of all my wounds, just as You healed the Jewish people when the Torah was given. And just as You opened the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, so too open my eyes and ears that I may see and hear, that I may understand the words of Your holy Torah. And in the merit of the fifty days of Sefiras Ha’Omer, destroy all our enemies immediately; throw them down from their high perch into the deepest pit. Please do it, just as You answered the prayers of Mordechai and Esther during these days. You canceled the decree and hanged Haman on a gallows fifty cubits high in the merit of the fifty days. The sun will shine with the brightness of morning—the sun of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who sweetens all the judgments—throughout the thirty-three days preceding Lag B’Omer, all the way until the thirty-third day after Lag B’Omer. They are the sixty-six days of purification after the birth of a boy or a girl; they are the days that lead up to the moment when Hashem Himself stretches forth His golden scepter. The sefirah of Chochmah then shines through the sefirah of Binah as He says, “And, you, write whatever pleases you about the Jews.” All the blood is purified, and all the judgments are mitigated by this illumination of Chochmah. “And many of the people of the land became Jews.”
66. “I remember the days of old, I meditate on Your deeds. I speak of the work of Your Hands.” “I spread my hands out to You.” “My soul is like a parched land with longing for You.” “I will remember the works of Hashem; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.”
67. Master of the Universe, our hearts pound when we are faced with Your wonders; they murmur a quiet song of praise to You for this, the greatest wonder in all of creation. It is the souls of the Tzaddikim that You brought forth even before the creation. They are terribly great souls that You consulted with about the creation of Your universe. Souls like that of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the holy Patriarchs, and Moshe the faithful shepherd. All were drawn from the supernal glow of Adam Kadma’ah, and You incorporated every soul into their souls. You revealed all Your secrets to them, how to mitigate the severity of Your Judgments. During their lifetimes, they merited to ascend to hidden heavenly chambers and hear the words of the Living G-d from Your Mouth. Then, every word that came out of their holy mouths, even words about mundane matters, was an aspect of the Shechinah speaking through them. Their mouths were like Your Mouth. With every word that left their mouths, they merited to accomplish the all-inclusive act of spiritual redemption. They mitigated the judgments of all twenty-four heavenly courts, and they drew joy and mercy and loving-kindness down to all Israel and all of creation. They nullified all concealment—even the deepest concealment—so that we should be worthy of seeing You eye to eye, Hashem returning to Tzion, Yerushalayim.
68. Master of the Universe, a holy angel descended from heaven to illuminate the inner secrets of the Torah, to rise from the crowns on the letters up to the mystery of the vowels, from “Where is the place of His glory?” to revealing the place of His glory—to see You and allow You to be seen by everyone, and to adorn the collective soul of the Jewish people with words of Your Torah and faith in You, like a bride going to greet the groom. All this was so that You should emerge and reveal Yourself to us “face to face.” He came to gladden our downcast souls during the day of hod she'b'hod, to gladden us with thanks and praises to You, with songs and dances that can bring about forgiveness of sin. Please, Hashem, make us worthy of all the secrets of the holy and awesome Zohar; make us worthy of walking by its great light, the light of the inner essence of the Torah. It is the mystery of the nekudot (vowels)—“the studs of kesef (silver)”—the four hundred worlds of kisufin (longing) for You.
69. Then I will be endlessly joyful; I will rejoice forever. I will dance and leap from night until morning, and my singing and dancing will help me to draw the bow—the bow of the covenant—and shoot arrows into the heart of the side of unholiness. I will be worthy of speaking words of prayer, joy, and faith. They will blossom forth like an arrow from the bow until my arrow strikes through to the innards of the Satan. Then all of the good that hides within the heart of every single Jew will be revealed, also that which is within the hearts of the gentiles. And many converts will join the Jewish people like Ruth, the mother of royalty. We begin the days of the Sefirah by the light of her glow, and we sweeten the bitter herb with charoses (chas–Ruth), with Ruth who sweetens all kinds of bitterness—the bitterness of the Jewish people—with the sweetness of the sweet singer of Israel. We begin the Sefirah with the perfected consciousness of Ruth, and end it with reading Megillas Ruth.
70. For it is impossible to receive the Torah without the five books of the Psalms that parallel the five books of the Torah. The ten types of song parallel the Ten Commandments, and only with them do all the barriers disappear and do all the harsh judgments become mitigated. The hidden Face of the King is then revealed, as are His hidden treasures, His hidden secrets, that He will once again make us worthy of hearing His Voice directly.
71. Hashem, You are full of mercy, and no one else but You can redeem us. Forgive me. Forgive me for being so insistent and also for taking so long to come before You to ask for Your help. I am a worm and not a man—a reproach of men, and from a despised people. But You revealed to us that the divine Tanna that lies here is the Tzaddik of all the generations who was alluded to in the verse, “And he rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well.” He is the one who can roll the stone off of our hearts of stone, and he can melt our hearts and transform them into wells of living waters. He is “a garden fountain, a well of living waters coursing down from the Lebanon.” They course down from “lebuna di’mocha,” from the mind itself. He draws living water for us from the supernal well. “You provide corn for them…You make it soft with showers…The pastures of the wilderness drip moisture, and the little hills rejoice on every side. The meadows are clothed with flocks; the valleys are also covered with corn. They shout for joy, and sing.”
72. Master of the Universe, Master of the entire world, may it be Your Will before You, Hashem my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, that You make me worthy of attaching myself to the words of Your Torah. And especially to the words of the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that are found in the holy Zohar. Open my heart and mind so that I will be able to hear and truly understand all the words of Your pure and holy Torah, Your perfect Torah that restores the soul and makes the fool wise. It enlightens the eyes and stands forever. Then I will be able to really feel the wonderful sweetness of the words of Your Torah, the sweetness of the awesome and holy new Torah concepts that the true Tzaddikim who enliven all the worlds revealed. I will then delight in the light of Your mysteries and enjoy the shine of Your Countenance, so that I will completely despise this temporal life, with its desires and vanities. All the life of this world will be to me as nothing because of this intense pleasure that I will feel in Your holy and awesome Torah, especially in the words of the holy Zohar. For all of their words are alive and upheld, trustworthy and desirable forever. They are more desirable than the finest gold, and more sweet than honeycomb. For every single word of Torah rises to infinity and plumbs the very depths; they join all the worlds together and provide amazing direction for the celestial and terrestrial beings. How can one know You, Hashem, and how can one truly become attached to You? “How great are Your works, Hashem, Your thoughts are so very deep.” If we were only worthy of inclining our ears and hearts to really hear just one word of Your holy Torah, the Torah that You revealed through Your servant Moshe and through all the true Tzaddikim in every generation, if we would only really hear a single word, we would simply cease to exist, our attachment to You would be complete.
73. Oh, if we would only listen and heed the sound of the river that waters the Garden, the sound of Your holy Torah. Oh, if we would only listen to the sound of the words of the holy Zohar—its sweetness is unparalleled since the time that the second set of Tablets was received. Oh, if we would only attach ourselves to the light of the Tzaddik! With its sweetness, he lit up all the dark places and removed all concealment, he broke through all the heavens for us and restored the missing parts of our souls, all the parts that have been lost during our present incarnation and all our other incarnations since the time of the Tree of Knowledge. If we would only attach ourselves to the Tzaddik who bestows kindness and mercy on the Jewish people and the entire world—he does it through the power of the sparks he draws down from the fiftieth gate. If we would only connect to the Tzaddik who gathers up all the parts of the soul through all the worlds and times, to clearly show us the Divine Providence that exists at all times.
74. “I lift my eyes to the mountains, from where (“ayin ”) will my help come? My help is from Hashem,” the One who brings me close to the Tzaddikim who have achieved the aspect of “ayin” (nothingness), just like the holy Patriarchs who merited to attain the level of “dust and ashes”—like Moshe the faithful shepherd who said, “and we are nothing.” You bring me close to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who buried himself in the dust for thirteen years in his cave; through this he merited to reveal Your Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. My help comes from Hashem, the One who brings me close to the Tzaddik who was worthy of being like the endmost point of the letter “dalet” in the word “Echad,” to the Tzaddik who merited to reveal and enlighten everyone in the world in every generation to know that Hashem is G-d. By doing so, he mitigated the judgments of all twenty-four heavenly courts, the courts that sentenced the twenty-four thousand students of Rabbi Akiva to death, for those students had blemished the lower unification of the twenty-four letters of “Blessed be the name of the glory of His Kingship forever.”
75. Please, merciful Father, have mercy on me for my heart is pained. I stand before You on this day like a poor man at the door, with my eye to You like a handmaid toward her mistress and like a servant toward his master, like a prisoner and sentenced criminal pleading for clemency. Have pity on the one who stands before You with a broken heart, who pleads on the anniversary of the passing of the divine Tanna who lies here. Please, have pity on me, and raise up an absolute barrier between me and the side of unholiness so that it should never come near me again. Please, remove all my sadness from me—drive it from within me once and for all. May the side of unholiness say, “I am fleeing from the presence of Sarah my mistress.” Let the handmaid flee from the singing of Sarah, the song of the body and the soul united, from my singing and dancing. I will rejoice with all my heart; I will leap and dance with all my strength until a heap of stones rises up between me and sadness, just like the stones that Yaakov raised up between himself and Lavan. And You, Yourself, will warn the evil inclination and the side of unholiness that they should not speak with me for good or ill until I merit to escape from them completely. Then I will be able to confess before You on the day of the first fruit offering in a Temple built of fire, and I will thank You for saving me, for saving me from the Aramite who tried to destroy my father, the one who pursues me relentlessly.
76. Master of the Universe, full of mercy, make me worthy of experiencing the light of the Tzaddik of the generation and his amazing rectifications. Help me to attach myself to the Tzaddik who is like Boaz who, during the Omer, threshed the barley on his threshing floor. He sifted out souls from among the chaff, the souls of converts from among the nations, and he brought Jewish souls to repent. He raised them up from the level of barley to that of wheat. He accomplished it with the power of his prayers. They were “a house of prayer for all the nations.” They were like the Temple, about which the verse says, “The nations will be called to the mountain; there they will bring righteous offerings.” And if we would only reach this level of prayer, all the holy sparks that were dispersed throughout the world after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge would come on their own to gather in our fields, like Ruth the Moavite who built the kingdom of the house of King David.
77. But, in our many sins, we turned our back on You. The clear and open paths that would have led us to the sheaves of wheat, that would have repaired the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, have been make crooked. They were paths that revealed new attributes and channels through which all the forms of holy consciousness could have come down, but they turned into crooked byways of suffering and travail.
78. Please Hashem, merciful and compassionate Father, help me to receive the six “barley grains,” the six wondrous attributes of King David, on this day of Lag B’Omer. For he “knows how to play music and is a fine warrior and a man of war, prudent in speech, and a comely person, and Hashem is with him.”
79. Master of the Universe, bring us to dance and leap with all our might on the holy anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. I will raise my hands and legs in song and dance until also the gentile nations sing to You. The Mount of Olives will then split, the voice of the one who brings good tidings will be heard, the great shofar will sound, and the Temple itself will sing praises to You. Mount Tabor and Carmel, Hermon and Sinai, will burst out in song, and all the nations will joyfully sing out. “And nations will walk by your light, and kings to the shine of your rising.” The rainbow will then be revealed in all its splendor, and the side of unholiness will be consumed like vapor in a burning fire. The fire that burns in the hearts of the Tzaddikim, and the four hundred worlds of longing, will consume those who rebel against You as if they were straw.
80. And strangers will build up the walls of Yerushalayim, and their kings will place gemstones upon your gates, to the Holy One of Israel Who has glorified you. They will not cease by night or by day, until you see that they have all gathered to you; the legions of the nations and the hordes from the sea will come to you. The ships of Tarshish and Eifah, the gold and frankincense of Shva, will bring you tidings of praise of Hashem. Your sons will be borne in their bosoms, your daughters on their shoulders; kings and princes will fall prostrate before you and bow down to the soles of your feet. All who once despised you will break out in praises of Hashem, and you will see this and be filled with light, and your heart will be afraid. Violence will no more be heard in your land, wasting nor destruction in your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. Your sun will go down no longer, nor will your moon withdraw itself. For Hashem will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be ended. And the mountain of Hashem will be established at the head of the mountains, and all the nations will stream to you (paraphrase of Yeshayahu 60). “And kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down to you with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet” (Yeshayahu 49:23). And they will bring all your brothers on horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon fleet camels, to My holy mountain Yerushalayim studded with sapphires. Who has ever heard the like, who has seen anything like this? They that spoiled you will be for spoil, for you will be a desirable land. Your land will no longer be called desolate, nor will Yerushalayim be called a wilderness, but you will be called Cheftzi–Va ("my delight is in her") and Yerushalayim will be called Praise. You will call out then in the name of Hashem, and with the light of the Tzaddik who is called Leviathan, your light will shine from one end of the earth to the other. Every wall will shine in you, and every heart will burn with the fire of the Tzaddik.