Discovering the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
כי יקרא קן ציפור לפניך בדרך
“Blessed are You HaShem our God Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us on the deliverance of the nest [‘shiluah haken’].” The Kabbalists teach that one should seek to commit the mitzvah of sending off the mother bird from her nest, because one should strive to commit in practice as much of the 613 commandments as possible in order to complete one’s soul, except for mitzvoth that are not under initial human volition (such as pidyon haben, halitza, etc.) or preferably not done (such as divorce by get). The Kabbalists, based on Tikunei Zohar 23a, have a fascinating explanation of the mitzvah of “sending of the mother bird” in which the mother bird represents the Holy Presence and “her children” represent the People of Israel. According to the Tikunei Zohar, when one commits the commandment of releasing the mother bird, the mother birds cries out in compassion for her children, and the children in turn cry out longing for their mother. This action serves as a “reminder” or medium of compassion before HaShem about the state of Israel in Exile, in which the Holy Presence is apart from the People, and both the Holy Presence and the People “cry” out in longing for each other. “At that time (when committing this mitzvah) HaShem cries out and says, ‘for My sake, for My sake I will do, and I will do for the sake of my Name’, and with this (action) compassion will be aroused on the Holy Presence and upon His ‘children’ in Exile” (ibid).
We should note that the Torah describes the mother’s nest to be ‘on the way’ – ‘baderech’. Indeed, when the mother bird represents the Holy Presence in exile in the fore-mentioned analogy, then this Presence is described to be ‘on the way’, i.e in flux, and not in its proper place, the Holy Temple. For this reason we find that some of the righteous wished to connect to the Holy Presence by self-inducing exile upon themselves, to so-to-speak ‘participate in the ‘pain’ of the Holy Presence’. Nevertheless, we may say that even the common Jew who makes effort and ‘takes pain’ so-to-speak to go to a set location where the Holy Presence rests is also part of joining with and ‘aiding’, so-to speak, the Holy Presence in Her journey to the Temple. This matter can be accomplished in many ways, such as going from home to the synagogue, going from Diaspora to the Holy Land, going to holy locations within the Holy Land such as Hebron and Maarat HaMachpela, or going towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. One of the locations within Hebron that represents this journey in a poignant way is the ‘Worshipers Way’ – ‘Tzir Hamitpalalim’. In the midst of this path to Maarat HaMachpela is the Simtat HaGiborim – ‘Heroes’ Alley’ where twelve courageous men sacrificed their lives to protect the Hebron community and the worshipers on this path. This site awakens our spirits to contemplate and appreciate the path to Maarat HaMachpela and the Holy Land in general. Let us appreciate and give honor to these men and also to the myriads of people who took pains and/or sacrificed their lives to come and/or let others come to the Holy Land.
Real Stories from the Holy Land: : “I had failed a number of driving tests over a period of many months, so I decided to try changing my driving-teacher and location of practice-driving. The very same day I decided to do so, my mother suddenly recommended to me in a phone conversation to learn driving in the very same location I decided to relocate my driving-practice (she had not been updated on my driving problems, and it was the first time she recommended me anything about driving). Shortly after, I passed the first driving test with the new teacher and location.” Y.G