11 Cheshvan 5782 / Sunday, October 17, 2021 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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The Mystical Kinneret    

The Mystical Kinneret

What makes Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, so mystically enchanting, as if it were a magnet that pulls a person's heart close to it? What is the source of her exquisite beauty?


Those who love the Land of Israel say the word Kinneret  - Hebrew for the Sea of Galilee - as if it were the name of their long-lost love.
"Eretz Yisroel is holier than all other lands" (see Mishna, Kelim 1:6 - LB). Kabbala teaches that Eretz Yisrael has a holiness that manifests itself by seven different spiritual lights that illuminate the seven different sections of the Holy Land, corresponding to the seven Divine spheres of Chessed to Malchut. Kinneret receives her illumination directly from the Shechina, the Divine Presence.
Kinneret gets her name from the Hebrew word kinor, which means violin, for the Sea of Galilee - a lake by other nations' standards - is shaped like a violin.
The shores of Kinneret ooze with history. It's not uncommon to step on Roman pillars when you're wading in the Kinneret. But, most notable and deeply mystic, is the fact that Miriam's Well according to tradition can now be found in the Kinneret. Maybe that's why the Kinneret is so very enchanting, especially at sunup and sundown.
Our holy master the "Arizal", Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi of 16th-century Safed, was initial in locating the graves of many tzaddikim in Eretz Yisrael. He was also the first to note the location of Miriam's Well - somewhere in the Kinneret.
In the Arizal's Shaar HaGilgulim, recorded by his prime disciple Rabbi Chaim Vital, the Arizal confirms that a particular area of the Kinneret is surely the site of Miriam's Well. However, the book did not specify the exact location. In another work, however, entitled Nagid U'Mtzaveh by Rabbi Yaakov Tzemach, written 60 years after the Arizal's death, Rabbi Chaim Vital is quoted as saying, "When I, Chaim, came to my teacher of blessed memory [the Arizal] to study this [Kabbalistic] wisdom, my teacher of blessed memory went to Tiberias and took me with him... and when we were on a boat in the water, opposite the pillars of the old synagogue [on the shore of Tiberias], my teacher of blessed memory then took a cup and filled it with water from between the pillars, and gave me that water to drink, and said to me: Now you will attain with this that wisdom, for this water that you have drank is from Miriam's well. And from then on, I began entering the depths of this wisdom."
If I could only find that exact place and drink of those waters myself...
Miriam's Well, known as Be'er Miriam in Hebrew,is more like a perforated rock from which water used to trickle, and which "ascended mountains with [the Israelites in the desert] and descended to the valleys with them" (Tosefta Sotah 11:1). After it completed its purpose in the wilderness, Hashem moved it for safekeeping into the Land of Israel. One ancient Midrash tells of a person who "suffered from boils and went down to immerse in the waters in Tiberias, and it was an opportune time, and he saw Miriam’s Well and washed in it and was healed... The well was opposite the main entrance to the ancient synagogue of Tiberias..."
What is the underlying power of Miriam's Well? It's the Shechina, from where all of Kinneret receives her dazzling illumination.
The world is full of beautiful lakes, but none captivate one's heart like the Kinneret, for she truly reflects the Divine Presence.
We all long for the Shechina. We're waiting eagerly for the redemption of our people, when the Shechina will illuminate all of Eretz Yisrael in an indescribably exquisite splendor. One look at the Land of Israel in all of her glory will make everyone forget about the senseless and meaningless material idiocies they chased after their entire lives.

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