Taking it With You: Bedtime Shema
The 30th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Chaim Vital (1543-1620): “The Ari haKadosh had the privilege that each night his soul would ascend to heaven. And ministering angels would come and accompany his soul to the School of Heaven and would ask him to which school he wanted to go. Sometimes he would say to the school of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai or to the school of Rabbi Akiva or the school of Rabbi Eliezer the Great or other Tana’aim and Amora’im, or prophets and he would be led to the school of his choice and on the following morning he would tell his students what he had received at that school.” (Rabbi Chaim Vital; Toledot ha’Ari)
Our souls ascend to heaven while we sleep. We all have the opportunity to acquire great wisdom and energize our souls to achieve great heights. We recite the Shema at night, before going to sleep, to prepare ourselves to take advantage of these awesome opportunities.