10 Shevat is the yahrzeit of the Rashash, Rav Sholom (ben Yitzchok) Sharabi zy”a, one of the greatest teachers of the Kabbalahof the Arizal. He was born in Yemen and immigrated to Eretz Yisroel. According to inscription on his kever on Har Hazeisim,he passed away in the year מנוחתו כבוד, which is equal to ה׳ תקל״ז. Although some list the year as תקמ״ב – 5542, in a publication from Rav Yaakov Hillel’s Chevras Ahavas Shalom, it says that the Rashash passed away in the year 5537, and a manuscript records that the tzaddik passed away by Kaddish of Hodu on Shabbos day (Mikabtziel, Gilyon 23, P. 316-317). In 5537 10 Shevat was Shabbos, while in 5542 it was a Friday.

Two renowned students of the Rashash were the Chida (buried on Har Hamenuchos) and Reb Gershon Kitover (also buried on Har Hazeisim; brother-in-law of the Baal Shem Tov). The Rashash is known to have reached his lofty level of understanding the secrets of Kabbalah through pure, tireless immersion in Torah.

The Rashash passed away Shabbos parshas Bo, when, by Mincha, we read Parshas Beshalach through the words ובני ישראל יצאים ביד רמה. Targum Onkelos translates the words ביד רמה as בריש גלי. The Degel Machaneh Ephraim (Beshalach) says that the letters of בריש are the first letters of רבי שמעון בר יוחאי, alluding to the teaching of the Zohar which states that with the Sefer­ HaZohar, we will be redeemed from exile with mercy.

It has been pointed out that many of the tzaddikim who spread the teachings of רשב״י have names with the same initials, such as the Arizal, רבי יצחק בן שלמה, and the Rashash, רבי שלום בן יצחק.

Shabbos parshas Bo is day 21 of Shovavim, and 21 is equal to the Name of Hashem, אקיק, which Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (Likutei Moharan 6) teaches us represents teshuva, since it means, “I am prepared to be.” Before one does teshuva, it’s as if he doesn’t exist, since the Gemara says that (if one lives improperly), “It would have been better for him not to have been created.” However, once one does teshuvah, he will now begin to “exist” in the world.

On his kever, the tzaddik is referred to by the title הרש״ש, the name he is best known by. This title is exactly equal in gematriya to רבן שמעון בן יוחאי.

There is a special lengthy ענינו known as ענינו של הרש״ש that he composed to atone for all the aveiros related to Shovavim one may have done in this or previous gilgulim.

The date of his passing, י׳ ב׳שבט, is equal in gematriya to חיל בלע ויקאנו, words from a pasuk that is connected to Shovavim.

In Tehilim 55, which is part of the daily portion of Tehilim for the tenth day of the month, we say פדה בשלום נפשי. These words may allude to the Rashash, as פדה can alluded to the Pidyon of 84 fasts, 5 times (פד’ ה’), as the seforim teach how one can redeem these fasts with tzedaka (as explained in Tiv Hateshuva from Rav Gamliel Rabinovitz shlita). Excluding the first and last letters of בשלום נפשי , we have the words נפש שלום. The remaining, outer letters are the initials of בן יצחק. Also, the נפשי may be seen as the initials of פה נטמן י׳ שבט – “Buried here, 10 Shevat.”  

Zechuso yagein aleinu!

R' Dovid Friedman
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