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By Rabbi Daniel Travis | Series: | Level:

Understanding the Mitzvah of Kabbalas Shabbos

A Source of Merit

The Ridvaz was the Rabbi of Slutzk in the 16th century and one of the greatest leaders of his generation. One day he became critically ill and his life hung in the balance. His soul was brought before the Beis Din shel Ma’alah – The Heavenly Court. He was informed that it had been decreed that he die before his time and he was asked to state whether he possessed any significant merit that might alter the decree.

The Ridvaz asked the Beis Din if serving as the Rav of Slutzk, one of the largest Jewish communities of the time, was a great enough merit. The Heavenly Court weighed this, and concluded that this was not sufficient. Someone else could be the Rav of Slutzk.

The Ridvaz then mentioned that he was in the middle of writing his acclaimed commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud. If he died now, it would not be completed. The Beis Din considered this claim, and then rejected it. There were already a number of fine commentaries on the Yerushalmi. In a final attempt to save his life, the Ridvaz argued that every erev Shabbos after midday, he would stop all his weekday activities, and simply sit and eagerly await the entry of Shabbos. Surely the sincere longing that he had shown for Shabbos was a great source of merit.

After deliberation, the Heavenly Court accepted this argument, and in this merit the Ridvaz was granted another 30 years of life (as heard from Rav David Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron Yerushalayim).

Text Copyright © 2014 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and