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Friday
Aug022013

I NEED TO REMAIN WITH MY CHILDREN – IN THIS WORLD

Regular people upon their passing are free from Mitzvos, but tzaddikim at the level of Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi, even after their histalkus, remain alive and can even discharge others of their obligation for Mitzvos. * Source materials compiled by Rabbi Shloma Majeski. Translations are in bold. Underlining is the author’s emphasis.

Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur

Earlier in this series, we quoted the Rebbe MH”M citing the Gemara’s description of the passing of Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi (K’suvos 103a). There he emphasizes that although Rebbi was surely ascending spiritually upon his histalkus, nevertheless, he was not abandoning the people with whom he was connected in this world. Thus, Rebbi clearly stated, “I require the presence of my children.” Moreover, he remained so interconnected with this world that he was able to discharge others of their obligation for the Mitzva of making Kiddush, which necessitates that he too remained obligated in Mitzvos. Here is the selection from K’suvos:

Our Sages taught: At the time of Rebbi’s passing, he said, “I require the presence of my children.” His children approached, and he told them, “[…] a lamp should continue to be lit in its usual place, the table should be set in its usual place, and the couch should be arranged in its usual place.”

The Gemara elaborates on the phrase, “A lamp should continue to be lit in its usual place, the table should be set in its usual place, and the couch should be arranged in its usual place”: Why did Rebbi give these instructions? [After all, he was on his death bed! The reason is because] every Friday evening [after his passing], he would visit his house. [Thus, he would require the use of a lit lamp, a set table, and a couch.]*

This practice, however, did not continue indefinitely, as the Gemara continues: One Friday evening, a woman neighbor came by and called out at the door. Rebbi’s maidservant told the woman, “Silence! Rebbi is sitting [here inside]. Having learned [that the word had gotten out about his posthumous appearances], Rebbi ceased visiting so as not to affront the earlier tzaddikim [who did not return to the physical world after their passing]. He feared people would say that earlier tzaddikim were not as righteous as he, since they were not granted the right to return to their homes [after death], as Rebbi had done. ––Rashi]

The Gilyon HaShas comments on the words, “Every Friday evening, he would visit his house”: And he would appear [not in shrouds but] wearing fine garments in honor of Shabbos. Rebbi would [make Kiddush and thereby] discharge others of their obligation to make Kiddush on Shabbos. Other people when deceased are free from the obligation of Mitzvos, but tzaddikim [at the level of Rebbi Yehuda HaNasi, even after their histalkus, remain a]live and discharge others of their obligation for [Mitzvos such as] Kiddush. Seifer Chassidim siman 1129. 

*“Rebbi’s holiness was such that death held no power over him. He was therefore able to return to this world after death (Rabbeinu Bechaya, B’Reishis 49:33). Maharsha explains that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 92a) states that the righteous are resurrected because of their k’dusha, their holiness. Since mastery over death is due to k’dusha, Rebbi, who exemplified this virtue was able to return to this world after death. He would return at the moment at which the k’dusha of this world is at its height: at the recitation of the Sabbath Kiddush, when the holiness of the Sabbath is proclaimed.”

(Footnote 49 of the Artscroll Gemara’s Schottenstein edition)

 

 

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