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Prayer Skills: The Ari HaKadosh: Meditation

The 5th of Av is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi from Tzefas, the Arizal (1534-1572), born in Jerusalem, son of Rav Shlomo Luria Ashkenazi, who is believed to be descended from Rav Yechiel Luria, Av Beis Din of Brisk and author of “Chochmas Shlomo on Shas and the Yad Shel Shlomo. His father passed away shortly after his birth, and Rav Klominus taught him. He and his family moved to Egypt when Ran Klominus died. There he learned with Rav Dovid ben Zimra, the Radvaz from age 14. Among the other talmidim was Rav Betzaelel Ashkenazi, author of Shitas Mekubetzes. He moved to Tzefas at age 36, in the same year that the Ramak, Rav Moshe Cordovero, was niftar. He was niftar 2 years later.

All the discussion regarding fasting and self mortification found in the earlier texts apply only to one who is not steadily involved in the Torah study. But when a person’s main occupation is the Torah, and when he knows wisdom and fears God, he should not weaken himself and diminish his studies.

This, then, is his rectification: One day a week, separate yourself from all people and meditate upon God. Blinded your thoughts to Him, just as if you were speaking to Him on the Day of Judgment. Speak to God softly, like a slave to his master, or a child to his parent (Sefer Charedim, Teshuvah 3).

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