Mesurot Nefesh by Rabbanu Ovadiah
It's Friday, around two and a half hours before Shabbat. My friend Dovid and I are finishing the final preparations for the day. Suddenly Dovid remembers that today is the Yom Hillulah of Rabbanu Ovadiah Bartenurah, the most important commentary on the Mishnah. Quickly we run to the local grocery buy some food and make a little meal in his honor. We each light a candle in his memory. Then we pull out a Mishnah and each read over one Mishnah with his commentary. It is starting to get closer to Shabbat, we rush out heading towards the Old City.
We leave the Old City through Shar Hashpot and start heading down through Air Dovid. We reach the end of Air Dovid and start climbing down the mountain. From the top of the mountain we can see the grave, it is deserted. This is very surprising; I had expected it to be filled with people. For a second I begin thinking that I had made a mistake on the date, maybe the Yom Hillulah was yesterday. I quickly confirm with Dovid, Yes today is Gimel Sivun. I then look over at the next hill, the one looming right over the grave. I see that it is covered with Arab houses. I realize that there must have been groups earlier today, when there were a couple units of soldiers protecting them. There probably not to many people that would come here alone without ammunition. Either way we are here already, we climb down the mountain and head to the grave.
I place my head on the grave and announce "I have spent much time studying your commentary. I used to be stuck in Manhattan, on the subways in middle of the biggest Klipot in the world, I finished almost the whole Shisha Sidray Mishnah all with your commentary. May this now come to my merit." We both pull out Tikun Klalis and start saying "I am binding myself to all the Holy Tzadikim of this generation and to all the Holy Tzadikim who have already passed away. Especially to the Holy Tzadik Rabbanu Ovadiah Bartenurah, whom we have come to pray by his grave. We then started reciting the Tikun Klali.
I had just finished the first chapter when I heard a rock falling behind me. At first I thought that it was just a lose pebble rolling down the hill. However it was soon followed by a number other ones, I now knew we were under fire. "May these Arabs stop" how dare they come and throw rocks at us. At first we stayed using the cliff for shelter. However when the rocks were becoming the size of my fist, I knew it was time to get out of there. With a quick jolt we quickly scampered up the hill in the direction Air David. At a distance safe from the range of the rocks we sat down and finished reciting the Tikun Klali.
I then saw two Chasidic kids coming down the mountain. They must have been 15-16 years old, they looked very excited about visiting the Kever. I motioned them to come over; I then warned them about the rocks. I suggested that they pray from the hill as there are opinions that as long as one can see the Kever with his eyes it is good enough. They looked very disappointed, they stood there for a while not knowing what to do. Suddenly I noticed a look of complete determination in one of their eyes. "We are going to the Kever he declared". Then with all their might they stormed towards the Kever, with out looking back once. They reached it, kissed it and then ran back to the safety of the second hill.
I was impressed. The rocks were bad but from our description they probably envisioned it to be even worse then it was and they still went. Chazack... Chazack Vamatz