Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yarzheit: 26 Sivan: Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel

Kever of Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel, Amuka Israel

Tradition has it that Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel - יונתן בן עוזיאל - gave a blessing to all those who are unmarried that if they visited his resting place they would merit to meet their soulmates and marry within the period of one year. This blessing has worked for all these centuries and countless numbers of people have married.


"It was said that whenever Rabbi Yonathan, son of Uziel, sat down to delve into the Torah, any bird straying over his head was burnt by his words."  [Tractate Sukkah 28a]

"No fly passed over the table of the prophet Elisha." [Tractate Brakhoth 10b]

The Baal Shem Tov taught: A person is surrounded by spiritual worlds that mirror his thoughts. If his thoughts are holy, then he is surrounded by holy worlds, but if his thoughts are impure, then he is he surrounded by impure worlds.

By the same token, wherever a person's thoughts are, and whichever worlds surround him, so too he is surrounded in this earthly world, be it with kosher birds and animals, or non-kosher birds and animals. In the source text [Ben Porath Yoseph 56d-57a], the Baal Shem Tov adds that whatever happens to a person is also a mirror of his inner world. Thus, G d is constantly talking to each and everyone of us, trying to make us aware of what is going on inside us. Hence, when we see some human act "out there" that is "non-kosher," we should look inside ourselves for similar failings, rather than judge the other person.

There are three categories of worlds: the pure, the impure, and the in-between. Above these categories is the world of pure thought, which cannot be fathomed. This, then, is why any bird straying above Rabbi Yonathan son of Uziel was burnt. ["Straying birds" is an allusion to straying thoughts, which were "burnt" by Rabbi Yonathan's Torah study. Similarly, no fly, being a non-kosher creature, flew over Elisha's table, because his thoughts were always holy.]

And because no fly passed over Elisha's table, his host knew that he his thoughts were holy and that he was a holy man.

[from the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov]

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