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City of Salvation

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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City of Salvation

The gemara tells us that the redemption will originate in Tevarya.[1] Why from Tevarya? We would expect a place like Yerushalayim or Chevron.

 

Another question that pertains to Tevarya is about R’ Meir who is buried there. The Arizal[2] enlightens us with a peculiar fact which is that R’ Meir is the only tanna who was buried in the uncanny position of standing up and not the usual custom of lying down. How are we to understand this?

 

The Sefer Emes L’Yaakov,[3] written by R’ Yaakov Shltiel Ninyo who was one of the early kabbalists, explains why Moshiach will initially be revealed in Tevarya. The gemara[4] records a disagreement between R’ Yehuda and R’ Meir. R’ Yehuda holds that the Jewish people are considered to be Hashem’s children only when they behave that way. That is to say, when they follow the Torah. R’ Meir disagrees and says that regardless of how we act we are always considered Hashem’s children.

 

There is a halachic principle that a claimant who is a “muchzak,” in possession of the item in question has the right of קים לי meaning, the claimant holds according to an opinion that may not be in accordance with the halacha. So at the end of days when the ministering angels of the nations challenge our worthiness of redemption, they can argue as follows: the Jewish people are in our land, and we are the “muchzak”; the presumptive status is they should stay in the galus. Therefore we declare that we hold like R’ Yehuda,[5] and based on the behavior of the Jews, they would not be considered Hashem’s children. They would reason that it would be unjust for Hashem to take the Jewish people away from the nations.

 

Since the issue at hand is relevant to the coming of the redemption, this court case will take place in the city where Moshiach will be revealed. Moshiach will therefore reveal himself specifically in the city of Tevarya, and he will consider that to be his place of residence. Then, when the challenges attempt to prevent his revelation, they will be forced to take him to court in his city which is Tevarya.

 

Halacha dictates that when a Beis Din issues a halachic ruling, irrespective of the general halachic conclusion, it must be in accordance with the rulings and teachings of the rav of that city. So the court of Tevarya will adhere to the teachings of its rav who is R’ Meir. Hashem will then rule like R’ Meir that the Jews are Hashem’s children regardless of their actions, thereby mandating the coming of Moshiach and the redemption of the Jews.

 

The astrological sign of the month of Av is the lion. The Ben Yehoyada[6] explains that by rearranging the name טבריא we get the words ארי טב, the lion is good. The month of Av which has the mazel of the lion, will be good for the Jewish people. At first it seems to be a bad month where numerous tragedies happen. However, it will ultimately be a good month, as it is the birthday of Moshiach.

 

The pasuk בני לדברי הקשיבה לאמרי הט אזנך, my child, be attentive to my speech; incline your ear to my words.[7] The Ben Yehoyada[8] explains that the word לאמרי can be rearranged to read למאיר. It therefore can be understood as למאיר הט אזנך, incline your ears to the words of R’ Meir. The tribulations of this long galus may make a person depressed leaving a person to wonder if it will ever end, if we have maybe lost eligibility to be redeemed by Hashem. So Shlomo Hamelech in Mishlei tells us to listen to the words of the holy tanna R’ Meir and therefore don’t fear as Hashem will take us out of galus. This is because no matter how we conduct ourselves, we will always be considered Hashem’s children and He will never abandon his children.

 

The Ben Yehoyada explains the enigmatic words of the Arizal that R’ Meir was the only tanna interred in an upright position. This is because it is his position, his outlook and psak, that provides the Jewish people with their standing in the world. Through his ruling we never falter as we are always considered to be Hashem’s children. It is because of R’ Meir that we stand tall forever.



[1] Rosh Hashana 31b.

[2] End of Shaar Hagilgulim.

[3] P. 91. Eitz Chaim, p. 338.

[4] Kidushin 36a.

[5] In a machlokes between R’ Yehuda and R’ Meir we rule in accordance with R’ Yehuda. The exception is the machlokes we cited between R’ Yehuda and R’ Meir where we follow the opinion of R’ Meir.

[6] Rosh Hashana 31b, s.v. u’lfi zeh.

[7] Mishlei 4:20.

[8] Kidushin 36a, s.v. Rebbe Meir.

 

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