Every season the Jewish calendar has its own soul. We adjust the calendar by making
sure that Pesach comes out in the spring, a time of renewal and growth, by having leap
years. The two hottest months of the Jewish year, Tammuz and Av, are months that
have historically spouted tragedy. The “season” of the chaos that defines exile and living
without answers begins with the 17th of Tammuz and reach its climax on the 9 th of Av. In
the classical Jewish calendar, there are 6 seasons (some of you may remember this
from Rashi in Parshat Noach. Just joking…). The season’s name is kayitz, which means
the end, the time that is as far from blossoming and growth as you can get.
Nonetheless, it’s a time in which you can learn how to come back to yourself. You have
all had times in your life when you felt that your back was to the wall, times in which
there was no place to escape the reality that surrounds you except turning to Hashem.
Feeling trapped and choked seems like the end. In many people’s life, it is the
Last night I was in Kafir Charrith. What? You never heard of it? It’s a medium size Arab
village not far from Ariel and is the place where Yehoshua and Kalev ben Yefuneh are
buried. Periodically one of the groups that arrange trips to the less accessible tombs of
tzadikim organize trips to Kafir Charrith (with the security provided by the army). When
you go a few times, you end up on their list. When I received their call, something in me
said, “yes”. It isn’t a dream trip. You leave at about 9 pm and return at about 2am. It
involves about walking 20 minutes through the kfar, there is something about the three
weeks that made me recall Yehoshua and Kalev, and when I heard that there was a trip,
I said, “count me in”. Much to my surprise, there were hundreds of people on the buses.
What made me think of them now?
It was because their lives told me how to be when you are trapped. When they were
sent to spy out Eretz Yisrael immediately before the Jews were anticipating entering the
Land, along with 10 others. The others felt trapped by the horror that they anticipated
that the conquest and settling the land would bring upon them. They saw that the people
were strong, the cities fortified, and there was no chance of surviving battle after battle
against them. They were right excluding Hashem’s promises.
They should have known better - they had seen the sea split, and the miraculous
intervention that took place in their battle against the Amalekites. One of the women, in
the very Land that they were afraid to conquer saw the same things. She recognized that
life would never be the same. The waters split all over the world; the sun stood still for
everyone. Trying to “escape” into “normal” was not an option. She waited until the
moment was right, and when Yehoshua sent spies she helped them in every way
possible. When the time of conquest came, as was arranged she had a red string
hanging from her window, so that the Jews would recognize her house as belonging to
someone who was very much on the same page that they were. Eventually she
converted, married Yehoshua and ended up with 9 descendants who were prophets.
One of them was Yishayahu, who prophesized both the destruction and the beauty of
the ultimate redemption.
Visiting the tombs of the Tzadikim can be both inspiring and a source of connection to
visions of life that are bigger than you are. You are not them; you have your choices,
your potentials, your background. You still can be very much on the same path. Who
could be more different than Yehoshua and Rachav if you are looking at ethnic
background, life experience or any of the other factors that can be so definitive? What
made it possible was what I call “spiritual flexibility” which means seeking Hashem when
He is concealed, and seeking Him with just as much love when you instinctively think
you “don’t need Him”, because everything is going well. Your particular way of finding
Him is not like anyone else’s.
One of the great sources of nachas that I have, is that my daughter loves the kivrei
tzadikim as much as I do. We both pore over Rav Gamliel’s books on the topic (and by
doing so, also discover that some of them are not necessarily real - of course we choose
the ones that have solid basis for their authenticity.) I am including her add for those of
you in Israel, and for those of you abroad, it offers you the chance to experience some
good old envy.
For those of you who come, explanations of who these greats were are a part of the
A TIME FOR YIDISHKEIT
Rebbitzen Tziporah Heller
Day of Davening for Women
at the Kivrei Tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael
Monday 26th Tamuz / 29TH July 2019
Kever Rabbi Abdami De Man Haifa
Kever Rabbi Yishmael Kohen Gadol
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai
Rabbi Yehuda Bar Ilai
Rabbi Benayahu Ben Yehoyada
Amuka (with time)
- 079 500183 -
DINNER at Bar Yochai!
Thanks for joining us on this exciting and inspiring Davening Day!
With a prayer that all our tefillos will be answered for the best and that we will be
zocheh to see the Geula Bimhera veyameinua.