Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Blame it on the Tree


When Rav Moshe Cordovero [the Ramak] was niftar [deceased] in Tzfat, he was the leading kabbalist of his generation, and he had many students. He authored many seforim [books] on Kabalah including the classic Mussar Sefer Tomer Devorah.

Before his passing, his talmidim asked him who they will learn with after he passes on. He said the person who sees a pillar of fire above my Aron, he is the one who will lead you. That person turned out to be a little known recent immigrant from Mitzrayim named Rav Yitzchak Luria, better know as the Arizal. 

After realizing that the Arizal saw the pillar, the people asked him to say a hesped [eulogy] on the niftar.  The Arizal said that the pasuk says [Ki Teitzei 21:22], ''וְכִי יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ" And if a man commits a sin worthy of death, he is put to death, and you should hang him on a tree." 

The Arizal explained that the word ''Ish'' means a tzadik. The word "Chait" means lacking. In other words if there is a tzadik whose actions do not warrant him to die because he has no aveirot [sins], yet he dies anyway - וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ - blame it on the tree. His death was only because Adam and Chava ate from the Eitz HaDaas [Tree of Knowledge]. For if not, this tzadik would have lived forever.

1 comment:

Rahel F Adye said...

Whoa! Was not expecting this explanation. Superb. Blame it on the tree. TO me, it points to both the individual and united aspect of the bria. Our own acts do not exist in a totally unique and isolated way. Very edifying.