Sauna to be added to Ari Mikva

Feb 27, 2018 by

Sauna to be added to Ari Mikva

BREAKING NEWS – Tzfat, Israel

The world’smost famous Mikva or ritual bath — that of the 16th century famed Kabbalist  – Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, is getting a very serious upgrade, by adding a Sauna to its premises.   This has caused immense debates and uproars in Tzfat (or Safed), the famous mystical city of the Kabbalists in Northern Israel.

This mikva – or ritual bath – which is used by men to spiritually purify themselves, is considered a very holy place  – as many of the great Tzaddikim (righteous saintly people) have used this over the past 500 years, in addition to being the ritual bath personally carved out of the ground by Rabbi Luria – who is universally called by the name “The Ari”  meaning “The Lion”  and also as the acronym for the  “G-dly Rabbi Yitzchaki”

People fly from all over the world to come to this mikva, which is located at the top of Tzfat’s ancient cemetery – which, along with the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, is the final resting place of many of the holiest people in history – including: The Ari, Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz  – who wrote L’Cha Dodi, The RAMAK – Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Rabbi Moshe Alsheich,  Rabbi Yosef Caro – the author of the Beit Yosef and the Shulchan Aruch – the Code of Jewish Law, Hosea the Prophet, R’ Pinchas Ben Yair , Chana and her Seven Sons of Chanukah fame, many Tana’im, and many hidden Tzaddikim.

To many, what makes this mikva special – besides the holiness – is its temperature. Most mikvas today are in buildings or synagogue basements and the water is heated. The Ari’s Mikva is from a Mayan – a spring – and to most people it is considered freezing.  So to many people, it is a bit of a right of passage to dunk in the Ari’s Mikva.  Many go in screaming because of the cold.  Personally, I love the holiness and energy of special mikvahs – so I like to hang out in the Ari’s Mikva usually for 30-45minutes at a pop – doing kavanot or mystical expressions, and only leave when I see my fingers starting to a turn a little purple.

As many people have avoided this famous Mikva – which has helped many do Teshuva (or repentance to return to Judaism)  – because of its cold temperature, a movement  had started a number of years ago to make the freezing cold water more palatable by adding a Sauna to the Ari’s Mikva complex.  It was argued, that even if this took a bit away from the authenticity of the place, it would encourage more to take that major physical jump – which then would often lead to a spiritual jump back to Judaism.

This had caused a big uproar in Tzfat – the mystical capital of Kabbalah.  To some, this commercialization was tantamount to selling sections of the Kotel to charitable givers, such as “This stone in memory of Uncle Herbie Schwartz”.  To avoid a permanent mahloket (or battle), it was decided to bring all the major parties of Tzfat together for a pow-wow to discuss this.  There were senior representatives from Chabad and Breslov, the two largest groups in the old City, the Sephardi shuls – some which go back to the time of the Ari himself, as well as representatives from the other Chasidic groups, the Carlebach Chevra, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat’s office, and the Kabbalists – who of course came in through the hidden back door to avoid the press seeing who they really are.

After 3 days of deliberation that ended in a stale-mate, one of the senior Kabbalistics said “Instead of us arguing, let’s ask the Ari himself what he wants”.  In any other place, people would have responded with incredulous looks, as the Ari passed away in 1572. But in Tzfat they all answered in unison “OK”, as they all knew that the great mystical teachings of the holy Ari had been buried for a long time in the grave of his top disciple Rabbi Chaim Vital, who had been the author of his teacher’s works. More than a hundred years later, two daring young kabbalists went to Chaim Vital’s grave in Damascus and doing certain Kabbalistic yechudim (or combinations / unifications of Hashem/G-d’s secret names”, they were able to elevate and connect to the soul of Chaim Vital, who gave the two permission to dig up the manuscripts.

So at 3am, the senior hidden kabbalist in the group said “I will go the Ari right now and come back with the answer – stay here please”.  He went to the Ari’s grave in the middle of the night, prostrated his whole body on the Kever (grave), went out of his body and elevated his soul to the higher worlds.. connecting to the holy Ari.

After an hour like that, he ran up the hundreds of steps back up to the old Town of Tzfat to the famous Maggid’s cave of Rabbi Yosef Caro, where the group was meeting.  And they all looked at him with anticipatory eyes.

“I can’t really fathom it,” he said.  But the holy Ari said three times in a row “Build a Sauna. . . Build a Sauna. . . Build a Sauna.”  And then he added  “And a Jacuzzi as well:



Chaim David Targan

Copyright 2018




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