Every year, around La”g Baomer, our Kolel of Torah studies sets out to the North to the Galilee to the Tombs of the Righteous, for a lovely (and hopefully useful) excursion.
The word for “north” in Hebrew is צפון, Tzafon. It is derived from the verb צפן, Tzafan, which means to hide, most usually a treasure, most usually (as is customary with treasures) through burying it.
The Tzafon has indeed, almost all my life, been for me “a treasure”, and it has always been the place where most of our Sages (the Hazal) had lived and were also – buried.
In Job it says (chapter 37):
מצפון זהב יאתה
From the North gold shall come
Again, a hint of the wealth of good which is sure to come from the North though it is hidden in the future.
But, it is also said: (Jeremiah chapter 1)
מצפון תפתח הרעה
From the North evil will begin to come
Because North has to do with the divine trait or quality of Judgement, Midat Hadin. South, on the contrary, has to do with Grace, Hessed.
But North is complex. And it’s either wealth or danger – depending upon us, upon our behavior.
It is also a mixture of happiness and sadness. After all, our Tzadikim are buried here – and they are no longer with us. But in Judaism the day of a Tzadik’s parting, is forever a sort of holiday – Yom HaHilula – too. And so is the place of his burial a sort of shrine, or holy place, where prayers are said to mount easily and quickly to Heaven.
Indeed, when we pray at a Tzioun, a Tzadik’s tomb, we pray only to Hashem, and not to the Tzadik. There is, here and there, some ignorance among some Jews in that respect, but Rabbis always warn and teach against praying or “asking favors” of our deceased Sages.
However, the power of prayer in those places is almost indisputable by all but most of the Rabbis. And we pray to G-d that through the righteousness of the Tzadik herein buried, He will answer our prayers, soon.
But going to the Tzadikim is also a good opportunity to learn about them, and about their deeds and special way in Torah. So in the next posts I wish to talk about some of the graves we’ve visited, and the Tzadikim who were buried there.
You are welcome to join me…