Printed from kabbalaonline.org
Every Friday he used to wash his face and feet in honor of Shabbot and was similar to an angel of G-d.

Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai and the sons of Rebbe Chiya

Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai and the sons of Rebbe Chiya

Gate of Reincarnations: Chapter Thirty-Five, Section 2b

 Email

Also, Rabbi Yehudah bar Ilai z"l was from this second level of Cain. Our Sages hinted to this in the Talmud by writing that every Friday he used to wash his face and feet in honor of Shabbat and was similar to an angel of the legions of God. (Shabbat 25b)

Friday is the special time for Shabbat preparation. (Orach Chaim Shabbat) On Shabbat the worlds ascend. They start to fly up on Friday afternoon. There are special mitzvot that are then done which help propel the ascent. One of them is washing in hot water the face, hands, and feet, the face representing the relationship to the worlds Above.

Shabbat is the time of complete peace, love, and unity - Above and in the world below. (Zohar II Yitro) Before Shabbat, all the lines of connection need to be cleansed in order to allow them to rise to the coming new level. The kelipot see that the holiness is on the go and ready to go up; they also want to take part and hop on the flight, but a chashmal fire descends and prevents them from entering. Washing in this world with hot water is an embodiment of the spiritual process and greatly empowers it to vanquish the kelipot. (Shaar HaKedusha Erev Shabbat)

The three places to be washed are learned from the angels, showing that when they are polished, a person becomes pure and angelic. This is all learned from seraphim - fiery angels, signifying the fire that comes down to destroy any hold of the kelipot. One subjugates the hold of kelipot on the heart by means of the fire of love and fear of G‑d. (Likutei Moharan 59) This elevates him to be in the Shabbat aspect the entire week.

The six wings of the seraphim correspond to the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin, from which come the six days of the week. Friday, the sixth day, includes them all. On Shabbat, the days ascend to their source Above and are, as if, stored in the heavenly archives. (Likutei Torah, Baal HaTanya) One should therefore repent on Friday for the whole week; the physical washing should be accompanied by a soul-wash.

The Talmud calls Rabbi Yehudah "an angel of the G‑d of Legions". (Berachot) This title was first used by Hannah, the mother of Samuel the Prophet. It means the revelation of omniscience and oneness in the world of separation itself. The week is marked by diversity. Shabbat is all oneness. (Zohar II Yitro) Friday, the bridge between, is the opportunity to draw from ‘the simple unity and manifest in diverse actions’. (See Likutei Moharan II 2)

This whole dynamic especially manifested in Rabbi Yehudah bar Ilai, who was always super-angelic and so he serves as an archetype role-model. Some of how he reached this level can be understood by the Talmud’s story of him and his disciples’ great self-sacrifice to learn Torah, as six students of his would cover themselves with one garment. Whatever this meant in the finite realm, it comes to allude to the covering of the garment of surrounding Shabbat light that manifested on them because they were all together as one in the unified Shabbat aspect in the midst of the six days of diversity.

Materialism fragments the spirit. Compromising it for spirituality pays off in the real sense of affording extra levels to the soul.

Yehudah and Chizkiah, the sons of Rebbi Chiya, are also called angels, also being from the root of the second level of Cain. Our Sages alluded to this when they taught, "In Heaven two angels, Gabriel and Michael argued - and some say two Amoraim in the west. Who were they? Yehudah and Chizkiah, the sons of Chiya." (Baba Batra 75a)

Yehudah and Chizkiah were as angels while in this world. The right and left sides of Gabriel and Michael manifest in them. Their father Rabbi Chiyah is an expression of the unifying tiferet aspect. Together, they were as the Patriarchs in their generation. Therefore, when they prayed together, it could have brought the redemption. (Baba Metziya)

However Enoch, who received the zihara ila’a of Adam as high as the neshama of Atzilut, was a greater angel than Elijah. Therefore, we find that one who is from the world of Atzilut is called an angel, and can rise to the level of an angel. Remember this.

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria […Ashkenazi ben Shlomo] (5294-5332 = 1534-1572 c.e.); Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death): 5th of Av. Buried in the Old Cemetery of Tzfat. Commonly known as the Ari, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzchak, the
G-dly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter Aleph, standing for Elohi [G-dly], prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what his contemporaries thought of him. Later generations, fearful that this appellation might be misunderstood, said that this Aleph stood for Ashkenazi, indicating that his family had originated in Germany, as indeed it had. But the original meaning is the correct one, and to this day among Kabbalists, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria is only referred to as Rabbenu HaAri, HaAri HaKadosh [the holy Ari] or Arizal [the Ari of blessed memory].
Yitzchok bar Chaim is the pseudonym of the translator, an American-born Jerusalem scholar who has studied and taught Kabbala for many years. He may be contacted through: webmaster@kabbalaonline.org. He translated the Ari's work, "Shaar HaGilgulim;" his translation into English (but with much less extensive commentary than offered here). Information about his translation in book form may be obtained through www.thirtysevenbooks.com
Rabbi Chaim Vital c. 5303-5380 (c. 1543-1620 CE), major disciple of R. Isaac (Yitzchak) Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works.
Rabbi Peretz Auerbach, originally from New York, has been living and learning Torah and kabbala in Jerusalem for 18 years. He teaches at Shvu Ami beit medrash, lectures in Kabbalah and chassidut at the Jerusalem Connection and Heritage House and to private groups. Rabbi Auerbach is also a talented musician. He is currently working on an all new translation of the Zohar into English with extensive commentary as well as a disc entitled "Music, Meditation and Mysticism."
 Email
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.