I shared with you this week some stories about enlightened animals in the Land of Israel that serve as examples of the following teaching:
”Just as the early tzadikim (righteous people) were chassidim, so too, their animals were chassidim.” (Avos D'Rabbi Noson, end of chapter 8)
As I recently learned, it is not a coincidence that these stories took place in the Land of Israel. The Talmud teaches that the air of the sacred Land of Israel helps us to become wise in Torah – the Divine Teaching (Baba Basra 158b). There is a prayer that we chant on the morning of the Fast of Tisha B’Av which indicates that this “enlightening” quality of our sacred Land affects even the animals and birds in the Land (Kinah 37). During the summer, I hope to study this Tisha B’Av prayer with my teachers, and with the help of Hashem, I will share with you the insights I gain in a future letter about the enlightening Land of Israel.
Have a Good and Sweet Shabbos,
And have a “Chodesh Tov” – a Good Month!
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen