Printed from kabbalaonline.org
The Talmud teaches that whenever Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel studied Torah deeply, birds flying over his head were burnt and fell.

Straying Birds

Straying Birds

 Email
Straying Birds
The Talmud teaches that whenever Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel studied Torah deeply, birds flying over his head were burnt and fell.

"It was said that whenever Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel sat down to delve into the Torah, any bird straying over his head was burnt by his words." [Sukkah 28a]

"No fly passed over the table of the prophet Elisha." [Berachot 10b]

The Baal Shem Tov taught: Wherever a person's thoughts are, so is he surrounded by spiritual worlds that mirror his thoughts. If his thoughts are holy, so is he surrounded by holy worlds, but if his thoughts are impure, so is he surrounded by impure worlds.
Wherever a person's thoughts are, so is he surrounded by spiritual worlds that mirror his thoughts.
By the same token, wherever a person's thoughts are, and whichever worlds surround him, so is he surrounded in this earthly world, be it with kosher birds and animals, or non-kosher birds and animals.

[In the source text, (Ben Porath Yoseph 56d-57a) the Baal Shem Tov adds that whatever happens to a person is also a mirror of his inner world. Thus, G·d is constantly talking to each and everyone of us, trying to make us aware of what is going on inside us. And hence, when we see some human act "out there" that is "non-kosher," we should look inside ourselves for similar failings, rather than judge the other person.]

And there are three categories of worlds: the pure, the impure, and the in-between. Above these categories is the world of pure thought, which cannot be fathomed.

This, then, is why any bird straying above Rabbi Yonathan son of Uziel was burnt, and why no fly passed over Elisha's table, by way of which his host knew that he was a holy man, because his thoughts were holy.

["Straying birds" is an allusion to straying thoughts, which were "burnt" by Rabbi Yonathan's Torah study. Similarly, no fly, being a non-kosher creature, flew over Elisha's table, because his thoughts were always holy.]

Biographical note:
Yonatan ben Uziel lived 2000 years ago. He was the greatest of all the students of Rabbi Hillel. Known for his famous Targum [Translation and commentary] of the Prophets, it is said [Megillah 3a] that he also planned to author a translation-commentary on the "Writings" [Hagiographa] but was prevented by Heaven so that he would not reveal the secrets of the final redemption. For more about him and the frequent pilgrimages to his burial site near Tzefat, see Help for the Lovelorn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Translation from Keter Shem Tov and commentary in brackets by Rabbi Yehoshua Starrett.
Reprinted with permission from //baalshemtov.com.

Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov [“Master of the Good Name”], 1698–1760. A unique and seminal figure in Jewish history, revealed the chassidic movement, and his own identity as an exceptionally holy person, on his 36th birthday, 18 Elul 1734. He passed away on the festival of Shavuot in 1760. He wrote no books, although many contain his teachings. (Also referred to as “the BeShT,” from an acronym of Baal Shem Tov.)
 Email
Sort By:
Discussion (1)
March 1, 2015
I'm gathering experiences related to Amuka/ Uziel
Visiting Rabbi Uziel's resting place in Amuka had a profound effect on my spirit for the very reason pointed to in this article. This article is quite literally right about the power of his holiness. It still pervades the area around the dome over his shrine. When my cabbie brought me to his grave in Amuka on a private tour of the Galilee, I did not even know this Rabbi's name. I'm not Jewish. But I left a changed person from here and have since tried to learn as much about him as possible. I am glad to have found this article because it describes my experience exactly! The power of this Rabbi still seems to live in Amuka. I felt my mind and heart unified with all my thoughts stilled by the holiness present above his shrine. While circumambulating the dome above the one room structure, I felt my straying thoughts fall away, making me feel my spirit and leaving me with great joy, peace and trust in God. If you've had any experience in Amuka, please share with me at UzielAmuka @ gmail.
One immensely blessed by Rabbi Uziel
USA

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.