What does it mean to be a Tzedakah of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness? It is to follow in the footsteps of a great teacher and leader, one who dedicated his life to the service of G-d.
Who Was Rabbi Meir Baal Haness?
Rabbi Meir – often referred to with the epithet Baal Haness or “The Master of Miracles” – was a Jewish sage who lived about 1,800 years ago during the time of the Mishnah. He is believed to be a descendant of the Roman Caesar Nero, who converted to Judaism after serving as the final Emperor of Rome under the Julio-Claudian Dynasty.
An Influential Figure
Rabbi Meir was renowned for his wisdom and is said to have performed many miracles during his life. He introduced Talmudic laws and wrote commentaries on the Torah and Mishnah. He wrote many responses, or answers to questions posed by individuals and rabbinic courts. Rabbi Meir’s teachings were highly influential in developing halakhic and ethical literature and inspired numerous commentaries by later great Jewish scholars.
A Prominent Leader
Rabbi Meir is one of the most discussed leaders of the post-Bar Kokhba generation. He is credited with creating and expanding upon many Jewish laws, including those concerning charity and prayer. He was a prominent figure in the Rabbinic academies of both Tiberias and Jerusalem, where he studied under Rabbi Akiva and other respected teachers of his day.
Who Was the Wife of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness
Rabbi Meir’s wife, Beruryah, is a core part of Jewish history, thought to be the only woman in rabbinic literature to study the Torah. She was a prodigious learner, and you can find her halakhic and homiletical statements in the Tosefta and Babylonian Talmud.
Where is Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Buried?
The tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness is above Hamat Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in modern-day Israel. It serves as a place of pilgrimage and prayer for Jewish community members worldwide and is a reminder of his lasting contributions to Jewish life.
Miracles and Charity
Rabbi Meir Baal Haness earned his title through the miracles he performed in his lifetime. The most prominent of these was undoubtedly rescuing his sister-in-law from captivity at the hands of the Romans. That event and his unyielding commitment to the observance of Torah caused his contemporaries to view him as an embodiment of divine providence.
Rabbi Meir is perhaps most known for his charity. He was famous for his kindness and generosity to the poor, often giving away food, clothing, and money. He believed helping others, even in small ways, could bring him closer to G-d. He taught that one should always give more than expected. He saw it as fulfilling the commandment to love your neighbor.
Tzedakah, which means philanthropy or charity in Hebrew, has long been a fundamental part of the Jewish faith. Rabbi Meir Baal Haness is a big reason for this. A collection of teachings from the Baal Shem Tov, an 18th-century rabbi and founder of the Hasidic movement, explains that regular tzedakah donations in honor of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness were a common practice amongst Jews in the Middle East, which then spread to Europe.
The Midrash Talpios and the writings of the Chida also mention this tradition. They say donating to Rabbi Meir Baal Haness can bring about blessings for the giver and help in times of need. Donating to Rabbi Meir Baal Haness is also believed to open one up to spiritual growth and guidance.
Rabbi Meir Baal Haness’ Lost Item Prayer
“Amar Reb Binyamin”, or lost item prayer, is another traditional Jewish practice associated with Rabbi Meir Baal Haness. This prayer involves saying a blessing that helps the speaker find a lost item. It is commonly said in practices of tzedakah in honor of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness. This custom is still practiced amongst many Jews, although exclusively in the Land of Israel, as decided by the Mitteler Rebbe.
To this day, Rabbi Meir Baal Haness is remembered as one of the greatest sages in Jewish history. His legacy lives on through his wise teachings, selfless determination, and generous spirit. He is a role model to generations of Jews who strive to follow in his footsteps and lead their lives through the power of kindness.
Honor Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Through Colel Chabad
Colel Chabad, founded by the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Schneur Zal of Liadi), runs a tzedakah fund in honor of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness. This fund supports numerous causes and organizations in Israel, like food banks and shelters. You can join our efforts by contributing today!