REBBI RETURNED HOME, JUST AS BEFORE
June 30, 2015
Rabbi Shloma Majeski in #979, D'var Malchus

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 return to his home. Thus, he would require the use of a lit lamp, a set table, and a couch. * From Chapter 8 of Rabbi Shloma Majeskis Likkutei Mekoros. (Underlined text is the compilers emphasis.)

Translated by Boruch Merkur

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 the following instructions, “Be scrupulous in honoring your mother. 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. Yosef of Haifa and Shimon of Efras – were the ones who attended on me in my lifetime and they shall attend on me when I am dead.”

“Be scrupulous in honoring your mother.” This is [obvious. Why would Rebbi have to caution his sons of] a Biblical commandment, for it is written, “Honor your father and your mother”?

She was their stepmother.

But honoring one’s stepmother is also a Biblical commandment, as it was taught in a Braisa: “‘Honor your father and your mother’ – ‘your father – es avicha’ includes ‘your stepmother,’ ‘and your mother – v’es imecha’  includes ‘your stepfather,’ and the superfluous Vav [‘and (your mother)’] includes ‘your older brother.’” [So why would Rebbi need to remind his sons of honoring their stepmother?]

This teaching applies only during one’s own parents’ lifetime, but not after their death.

[The Gemara elaborates on the phrase:] “A lamp should continue to be lit in its usual place (near the table as it was during his lifetime, for every Erev Shabbos, after he passed away, Rebbi would return to his home, as the Gemara goes on to say ––Rashi), 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 return to his home. [Thus, he would require the use of a lit lamp, a set table, and a couch.]

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)

(K’suvos 103a)

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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