Sunday, November 14, 2010

Strange tale concerning a man of simple but flawed belief & the Arizal

Rav Moshe Chagiz (Mishnas Chachomim): A Portuguese Marrano living in Tzfas (the city of the Arizal) heard the sermon of a local rabbi concerning the importance of the Show Bread that was brought every week in the Temple. This rabbi expressed great anguish because the mitzva of the Show Bread was no longer practiced. This pure hearted Marrano returned home and told his wife to bake two perfect loaves of bread every Friday. He told her he wanted to offer these loaves to G﷓d and that hopefully G﷓d would find them acceptable and would eat them. Friday afternoon he brought them to the synagogue and placed them before the Aron HaKodesh where the scrolls of the Torah were kept. Then he prayed that G﷓d would accept them and eat them. He entreated G﷓d like a child entreats his father. He then returned home. When the caretaker of the synagogue came, he saw the loaves and ate them with great happiness. That night when the Marrano came for the Shabbos evening prayers, he ran to see what had happened with the loaves. When he saw that they were missing he was filled with great joy. He returned to tell his wife how wonderful it was that G﷓d had not rejected his offering and had eaten them. He told his wife that she needed to be very careful in the preparation of the loaves since they gave G﷓d pleasure. Every Friday he would bring fresh loaves to the synagogue, pray and leave them before the Aron HaKodesh. One Friday while he was delivering his loaves and saying his prayers—it happened that the rabbi of the synagogue was there preparing his speech for Shabbos. The Marrano who was in ecstasy while offering his loaves to G﷓d was unaware that the Rabbi was listening to everything he said. The rabbi became furious when he realized what was going on. He started screaming and insulting the Marrano “You idiot do you think that our G﷓d eats and drinks? It is obvious that the caretaker takes them—not G﷓d. It is a terrible sin to ascribe any physicality to G﷓d.” The rabbi continued his tirade until the caretaker came in as usual to take the loaves. The caretaker—without the slightest embarrassment—admitted that he had taken them. When the Marrano heard the confession of the caretaker he started to cry. He begged forgiveness from the rabbi that he had erred in understanding the sermon. Suddenly a special messenger entered and announced in the name of the Arizal that the rabbi should immediately return to his home. He explained that on Shabbos morning when the rabbi would be giving his sermon—he would die. The rabbi was shaken by what he heard and went immediately to the house of the Arizal to find out what he had done wrong. The Arizal explained that the rabbi’s sin was that he had ended the pleasure that G﷓d had been receiving. That since the destruction of the Temple G﷓d had not received pleasure comparable to what the Marrano had provided by bringing his two loaves of bread with such purity of heart. Consequently, since the rabbi had stopped the Marrano’s offering it was decreed that the rabbi had to die and that there was no way the decree could be changed. The next morning while the rabbi was giving his sermon he died as the Arizal had said.


  1. They teach this story in Cheder to Yiddishe schoolchildren throughout the world. I must've heard this story the first time when I was about 10.

  2. im sure slifkin already checked if this story works out scientificly and if it makes sence the arizal knew what was going on I think Slifkin will be looking for scientific proof to g-d

  3. If you believe every bubba ma'aaseh like this, you're an am ha'aretz, and if you don't believe any story, you're an apikorus.

    So said the Satmar Rebbe. Or was it Rav Ahron Kotler?

  4. Eli -

    Bubba ma'aaseh? Is that your derech eretz for our Achronim, like the Maharam Chagiz zt"l -- a talmid of Rav Moshe Galante (II) and one of Shabsai Tzvi's fierce opponents.

  5. this is obviously not a bubbe maise nor is a chassidic tale nor was he an opponent os Shabtsai Tzvi. He was a major opponent to the Rammchal who he suspected of being a follower of Shabsai Tzi movement

  6. His father was an opponent of Shabsai Tzvi. He was an opponent of Shabsai Tzvi's remnant followers.

  7. Must I believe every ma'aseh said by an achron?

  8. I believe in the general principle expounded by HaZaL:
    Hezekiah said to him why? He replied, because you have not been occupied with the mitzvah of Pru U'Vru. He replied, If so give me your daughter. Isaiah said to him, the decree has already been decreed. Hezikyah replied to him, Ben Amotz finish your prophecy and go. Thus is the tradition of my ancestor's house(David HaMelekh A"H), even if a sword rests on the throat of a man, he should not withhold himself from the Merciful. That if the decree has already been decreed and there is no further hope, why did HaShem send you to me, because He had good news to tell me. Thus is the matter of a dream that is shown to a man by means of an Angel, that if it was impossible to nullify the decree by means of prayer, fasting and tzadaka, and to regret his actions, if so, why would they show him this dream. As our Sages of Blessed memory have said[Berakhot 55a]

    Thus as Rav Yehuda Patiya ZTz"L brings down(as well as the AriZ"L in his own seforim(see introductory drushim to Sha'ar HaKavanot, and Helek Dalet of Shaarei Kedusha) that they only reason for such a Ruah HaKodesh would be to warn the person so that they could repent, and rectify their error.

    So I reject a story that directly contradicts the Torat HaAri, and the Torat HaKabbala.


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