When I first began this project I reached out to several scholars in Mysticism. Several of them pointed towards Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, HaAri and his ability to gaze into a person’s soul. I remembered a Mahzor that I had picked up while living in Israel for the first time. I had gotten to Israel and the holidays were around the corner. On Erev Rosh Hashanah I realized I forgot to pack a Mazhor and in Israel many people bring their own to synagogue. I ran frantically to Ben Yehuda street in Jerusalem but all the stores had already closed. I found one storefront still open and it was a center for Kabbalah. They had this very thick (and expensive) Mahzor, which without any choice I had to buy.
I have kept this Mazhor and read through it from time to time. I noticed pages similar to those of Rabbi Juzient, with bizarre Hebrew writing. But also stories about HaAri. It states, “In the 16th century, famed Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, The Ari, would go out to the field and up to the mountains to welcome and draw the tremendous energy that Shabbat transmits to our physical world.” It seems HaAri had incredible powers and able to use those to bring energy to the world and individuals.
The Mazhor brings in several teachings of HaAri:
“The Ari reveals that the Kaddish has the power of twice Light. One Light is the Light within all of us, the spark that is our soul and life force. The second Light is the Light we draw from our surroundings. The Kaddish weds these two Lights in the same method that it links two worlds.”
The lights and energies that HaAri was able to experience and teach about were his way of interconnecting all human beings. Remember the Lamed Vavnickim were responsible for the entire world. HaAri was focused on all of us playing a role in each other’s lives, sharing the responsibilities of the Lamed Vavnickim in safeguarding the world. He states:
“Before we begin a prayer, medieval Kabbalist The Ari states that we must accept the precept ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ We should make a sincere attempt to feel love for everyone in the world and care for their welfare as we do our own. Through this action, our prayer is connected to the prayers of all the people on the planet. This kind of unity fortifies our own prayer.”
Finally, I will share one more quote from the Mazhor that embodies the spirit of this Lamed Vavnick. I label HaAri a Lamed Vavnick for his ability to reveal spiritual strategies that transform the entire world. His ability to see into souls and draw out a better world is, at the lowest level, the essence of the Lamed Vavnickim.
“It is upon the merit of…The Ari, that we have an opportunity to make a personal wish on Yom Kippur for the entire year. Furthermore, The Ari has also revealed to us the very wishes that will bring us the most fulfillment. All too often, we ask for what we want instead of asking for what we really need to help us grow spiritually. Only through growth and inner transformation can we achieve lasting fulfillment as opposed to instant and momentary gratification.”