Armour To Withstand The Exile/More Thoughts on Tisha B’Av 2021

The Tikkunei Zohar is a major section of the Zohar and portions of it (mianly Petach Eliyahu (the end of the second introduction) have made their way into the daily liturgy for many Sephardim and some Chassidim as well. The main text comprises seventy drashim (explanations/insights/poems/explorations/meditations) on the first word of the Torah, בראשית, Bereishit, each drash original, unique and inspiring, each a universe of its own.

Composed after the main text of the Zohar, after Rabbi Shimon and his son emerged from their cave and foreseeing the two-millennia Galut, exile, about to commence, Rabbi Shimon had to prepare Am Yisrael, The Jewish People, to be scattered among the nations of the world, cut off from their land and roots, he armed us to survive through our only permanent possession, the Holy Torah. With this secret knowledge, he filled the Torah with a portable and permanent spiritual energy, based on the understanding of The Creators connection, through this Torah, refused by all other people, with Yisrael.

It is this connection, and only this connection, which has allowed us to survive genocides, persecutions and ethnic cleansings, the seemingly unending exile and alienation, filled with poverty and struggle, discrimination and universal hate. Shattering all rules and logic, miraculously and finally on the road home after all these years. Many of us are back in the Holy Land, some of us even privileged to live in Jerusalem. The return journey home isn’t over, but as far as we’ve come, often our only hope has been that memory of the eternal connection The Creator has made with The People and The Land of Yisrael.

(A millennium-and-a-half later, another mystic, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto, composed seventy meditations, Tikkunim Chadashim (New Tikkunim) on the final pasuk, verse, of the Torah, beginning to collect wind up and return this energy back to it’s source, returning us to our source, may it be soon in our days.)

With the destruction of the Holy Temple, the Shechina, the Divine Presence was scattered, as were each of the six hundred thousand soul roots of the Jewish People. How can they possibly find their paths to reunite? How can they, in the chaos of the world, now thrown off its axis identify each other.

The Torah begins with the word Bereishit, which Rabbi Shimon divides into two parts, ב, Bet and ראשית, Reishit,  and he then explores the Bet, ב, open on one side, closed on three, like a door or gate, Sha’ar L’Hashem Tzaddikim Ya’vo-u, God’s gate through which only Tzaddikim, the righteous, can pass.

How does the Tzaddik, how does the Jewish Soul find its way back to The Creator? How do we identify our place in Spiritual Space, that reunites us with God? How does The Shechina, the Feminine Divine Spirit, return to Zeir Anpin, the Sefirotic manifestation of The Divine Name, God the Creator? How will they recognize each other and reconnect?

If we imagine a Sofer, a holy scribe, writing a scroll for the Tefilla shel Yad, the Tefillin we place on our arms, inking the Divine Name on a kosher parchment. First he visualizes, then solidifies that visualization as an outline, he fills it in until he finally applies the ink and the image, until now completely hidden, manifests. 

The Tikkun refers to Shir HaShirim, Song of Songs, 6:8, “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm, for love is fierce as death”. The daily ritual of Tefillin, placed on the arm, against the heart, each day brings us closer to a reunion which can overcome Death, even generations of Death.

A first step to understanding the end of Exile is the daily, step-by-step, as it were, slow progress returning home, powered by a love which even when it is faint, is fiercer than death. It will, eventually, return us to the Sha’ar, gate to The Creator, which our daily devotions, developing in us the the capacity of Tzaddikim, the Righteous, will return us to the Holy Shechinah, which never really left.

May it be soon in our days, Bimheyra b’Yameynu. May this be our last fast of mourning.

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