Rabbi Menachem Menashe zt'lExcerpts from the book "Toldot Menashe" on the hidden Tzadik Rabbi Menachem Menashe written by his grandson, Rabbi Yosef Shabtai (with his permission)
- Early Life and Turkish Army
- Immigration to Early Jerusalem
- The Trouble Maker
- Various Stories
- Rabbi Yehuda Fetaya
- Encounter with Baba Sali
- Only one thing can save your son
Early LifeRabbi Menachem Menashe was born in Turkey in 1892. In 1903 his father died, leaving him with his mother and four brothers. He learned Torah from the sages of Bursa and, subsequently, from the Istanbul sages, Rabbi Shlomo Eliezer Alfandri, known as the Holy Grandfather, among them. In 1911 he married Esther Jerez, a daughter of the Adrianople family of philanthropists.
The Menashe family were descendants of Jews exiled from Spain who settled in Turkey, Greece, and other places.
According to R.Yehuda Patilon, "until WWI broke out, Turkey was full of Chachamim (torah scholars) whose diligence in torah was extraordinary. The vast majority of them found their death on dafei gemarah (while learning torah) accepting the decree (matzdikim hadin) due to the terrible starvation that exploded there due to the war (WWI).."
Istanbul was a great city full of chachamim (torah scholars), tzadikim, chasidim (extremely pious), and kabbalists. R.Menashe was drawn to torah study from early age and especially to the study of kabbalah..
At the age of 20, he was enlisted into the Ottoman army, one year before WWI broke out. The situation at the army was very difficult. It required superhuman efforts to keep kosher and he often ate nothing but dry bread or even literally starved.
While in the army, he became the unofficial Rabbi of a group of Jews and tried his best to strengthen them and teach them Halacha (Jewish law). He was "melumed b'nissim" (frequented by miracles). When World War I broke out (on Tisha b'Av 5674), all his students came to him full of fear of what will happen.
He promised them that the moment they enter the battlefield, if they utter all the time the verses: "Hear, O Israel: The L-rd is our G-d; the L-rd is one" (Shemah Yisrael, Deut.6:4) and "blessed be.. (Baruch Shem Kevod..), "from my distress I called G-d; G-d answered me set me free" (Min Hametzar Karati, Psalms 118:5), "Please G-d save us, Please G-d send us success" (Ana H' Hoshia Na.., Psalms 118:25), "See my affliction and release me, for I have not forgotten Your Torah; Plead my cause and redeem me; for Your word sustains me" (Psalms 119:153-154), - then no harm will befall them and they will return home in peace.
Thus it was, while the Turkish soldiers around them fell like flies, all his Jewish students returned after the war healthy and whole.
Some stories from the book by his grandson:
The Turkish army was then full of believing Muslims for whom drinking wine was forbidden. One friday night, one of the officers caught Rabbi Menashe with wine he smuggled in for the kiddush (Sabbath blessing over wine). The enraged officer gathered all his soldiers and commanded them to beat him cruelly. They beat R.Menashe all over his body until blood was all over the floor and even then the officer stepped on him with his spiked shoe.
Afterwards, the Jewish soldiers took him to his bed, gave him water and treated his wounds until he began to recover. Then he asked the soldiers to find out the name of the officer and the name of his mother. That night, he got the names and prayed what he prayed. Later that night, the officer died a horrible and painful death. All the soldiers in the base attributed his death to what he did to R. Menashe and there was a big Kidush Hash-em (sanctification of G-d's Name).
Despite the gruelling days in the army, R. Menashe did not annul his daily torah study. Despite the law in the base that after 10pm, all candles must be extinguished under penalty of severe punishments, he would nevertheless light a small candle next to his bed and learn torah until the latest time he could. His fellow soldiers usually collapsed in bed and fell asleep before 10pm and did not pay much attention to his deeds.
One night, a certain officer entered the room for some reason and saw him sitting and learning by the candle. Enraged, he lifted his arm to strike him, but immediately his arm froze and he screamed in pain. His screams woke up everyone around him. Soldiers and officers quickly came including the chief of the army base to see what happened. They found R. Menashe continuing his studies while the officer stood over him with his frozen outstretched arm and screaming in pain. The officer explained that when he came to strike him for lighting a candle, his arm froze and the pain began. The officers asked R. Menashe what was happening.
He answered them: "we Jews accepted the Torah from the Creator of the world and it is incumbent upon us to study it day and night. And since during the day, I am subjugated in your work, then I am obligated to complete my studies at night and this small candle is not visible outside and does not bother anyone. If this officer wants to stop me from my duties to study the holy torah, the Giver of the torah prevented him from this and your claims are not against me".
The chief of the camp was very impressed from what his eyes saw and his ears heard. He told R. Menashe that from today on, he was permitted to learn by candle all night as he wished but please heal the officer. R. Menashe looked up and prayed: "Master of the World, please do for sanctifying Your Holy Name and heal this officer". Immediately, his hand was freed and his pains stopped.
One time, a group of soldiers, including R. Menashe, were sent by boat to a different area. A storm broke out which broke and sunk the boat carrying them. Due to lack of rescue boats, many soldiers drowned. Before losing consciousness in the water, R. Menashe managed to say "Shemah Yisrael.." and prayed "Master of the World, I accept your decree with love, but save me for the sake of my mother who will be very pained by my death". A few seconds later, a large shark several meters long rose up below R. Menashe and carried and threw him to the place where the rescue boats were extracting the soldiers. The rescue men pulled him out of the water and tried to revive him but gave up quickly. They put his body in the area of the dead. After some time, one of the doctors heard him gasping. Immediately, he called other people and they hung him upside down and hit him in the back until he expelled the water in his lungs and his breathing returned..."
The chief of the army base had a daughter who fell in love with R. Menashe. Every day, she tried to seduce him to sleep with her with words and signs. R. Menashe closed his eyes and ears and fought his inclination. This continued day after day and she desired him more and more until she fell ill and was bedridden. She told her father that she is in love with R. Menashe and wants to marry him. The chief quickly requested of R. Menashe to marry her. R. Menashe saw there was no way out and he fled the army base and travelled to his home in Istanbul where his wife and son were. The chief sent soldiers to find him. The soldiers reached the house where he was hiding and out of surprise, he did not have time to flee. He hid under a bed. Even though he knew they would search under the bed, but due to lack of another hiding spot, he hid there and whispered to himself constantly the verse: "And the men who were at the entrance of the house they struck with blindness, both small and great, and they toiled in vain to find the entrance" (Gen.19:11).
He made a great vow to the G-d of Israel that if G-d saved him, he will immediately go to the holy land of Israel. When the soldiers reached the bed and lifted it, miraculously, they saw nothing and left. Immediately, R. Menashe began to fulfill his vow and he took his wife and son and hired a wagon to bring them to the Lebanese border.. On the way, he saw the wagon of the army chief going towards him. He immediately prayed to G-d for help and suddenly had a vision of Moshe Rabeinu who told him: "do not fear, continue on your way and the army chief will pass you and no harm will befall you". He continued and the wagon of the army chief pulled over and he continued to the border and from there to Jerusalem... This was in 1918, towards the end of World War I.
Immigration to Early JerusalemWhen he arrived in Jerusalem, he immediately got a job working in a Shtieblach (synagogue) and lived with his wife and son in very great poverty and hardship in the "Beit Yisrael" neighborhood.
His grandson testifies many years later: "my grandmother knew how to appreciate him and his deeds, his torah, his holiness.. Here is the place to point out that during the eight years I lived with them day and night, I never heard them fight or raise their voice against each other. All their words were with love, affection, and calmness. From what I understood, thus they conducted themselves all of their days including during the most difficult times".
His second son, Nissim, grew up in torah and fear of Heaven as his father desired. When Nissim was about 18 years old, Arabs chased after him with knives drawn. He ran away from them until he fainted and lost consciousness. His liver split (either they stabbed him or from the running away). A few days later, he died. For months R. Menashe cried on him and refused to be consoled. One day while alone in his home, he cried and yelled: "Nissim, where are you?!"
Behold, all of a sudden, his son appeared before him while awake and told him: "father, do not be pained on me. I am sitting in a good place in Gan Eden. I finished my Tikun (rectification) in this world and I have nothing to search for here anymore". When R. Menashe realized that it is indeed his son which was standing before him, he calmed down and told him to ask permission from the Heavenly court to come to him every time he called him and also to answer questions on matters of the next world. Nissim returned and told him that he was granted permission. From then on, R. Menashe called him from time to time to speak with him on matters above...
One time, when R. Menashe came to the Shtieblach late night as he was accustomed. He opened the door and saw a demon standing inside. The demon gritted its teeth and tried to harm him. Since he was alone and this was at night (when it is forbidden to contend with them), he fled and went to the home of Rabbi Shimshon Polonsky, a tremendous torah scholar and the Rabbi of the neighborhood, who was learning at the time and told him what happened. Immediately, the Rabbi got up and went with him to the synagogue. He saw the demon still standing there. Since they were two people, they banished the demon from the place.
Rabbi Shimshon (picture on right) realized then that R. Menashe was a hidden torah scholar and refrained from using him. He began to honor him publicly. R. Menashe feared this honor more than the demon. He left to seek work elsewhere where people would not honor him at all. Namely, blacksmith work, a trade he was an expert in.
R. Menashe opened a metalwork shop and worked there.
His grandson relates a story: grandfather told me: "near my shop was another metal shop. One day, while standing in my shop, I saw clearly a customer who began to be interested in the wares at the entrance to my shop. Suddenly, the owner of the other shop appeared and approached the customer and enticed him to come with him and buy from him. The customer indeed went with him. I decided not to react at all today and only tomorrow to speak gently to explain to the owner of the other shop on his mistake and [improper] conduct. The next day, I went to the owner and began to speak to him on the incident yesterday. I was surprised to hear from him that yesterday he did not at all open his shop the whole day and was busy with other matters".
Grandfather told me: "I believed him and was certain that this was some sort of illusion (achizat einayim) by the side of the Sitra Achra (forces of evil) to test me if I will get angry. Thank G-d I stood up to the test".
In those days, there was a bitter internal war in Israel between the secular Zionist Jews and the religious Jews. The Zionists wanted a secular non-religious state and fought hard to uproot torah from the land of Israel.
When R.Menashe saw the terrible situation in Israel and the large immigration of Jews many of whom were ignorant of Torah and vulnerable, he decided to try to help the situation. He set up blacksmith classes for young people and taught them torah at night. He also went from neighborhood to neighborhood to give weekly torah classes, especially on the Sabbath. People were drawn like a magnet to the Tzadik. He devoted himself to the community and opened a Torah learning and prayer center called "Chevrat Ahavat Chaim". Eventually, hundreds of people attended his weekly classes and he saved many Jews from becoming victims to the secular Zionists and their anti-religious agendas.
The Trouble MakerHis grandson recalls: when grandfather gave a weekly class in the synagogue "Shauli" in Jerusalem, the synagogue was completely packed from one end to the other with listeners who loved to hear him.
Opposite the synagogue was a secular Jew who desecrated the Sabbath publicly and hated religious people. His children were educated by the Kibbutz "Hashomer Hatzair" and the class of grandfather was like a thorn in his eyes.
One Sabbath during the class, he blasted his radio very loudly in order to disturb the class. The congregation became angry at this purposeful affront and wanted to get up in the middle of the class and teach him a lesson. Grandfather pleaded with them exceedingly to ignore him completely, even after the class.
This man who was waiting for a strong reaction and was prepared for a confrontation was disappointed. The next Sabbath, he repeated the same disturbances and the angry congregation was forced to restrain themselves by request of grandfather. This continued on for several weeks.
When the man saw that his disturbances were not working, he went down to the synagogue and grandfather asked the congregation to make a place for the man to sit next to him. When the man sat down, he started to harass grandfather with questions such as: "who says there is a Judge and Judgment after death? You are deceiving these simple people who did not merit the enlightenment of modern education (haskala) like myself and selling them fantasy stories that are impossible to prove!".
The furious crowd thought that finally the time arrived to end his incitements and to tear him apart like a fish. But grandfather stopped them with a gesture of his hand and smiled. He started to answer on his questions one by one and to demonstrate to him that there is a Judge and Judgment. For example, everyday stories of people who committed certain sins years ago and who were struck recently with calamities that corresponded measure for measure to their sins. He told him many more things along these lines. Also regarding the afterlife, grandfather answered him with interesting examples and proofs.
This man who considered himself "enlightened", his faith in his "education" slowly became shaky and he lowered his head. He remained until the end of the class. The next Sabbath, he was among the first to arrive and waited for grandfather to arrive. Eventually, he became a fixed student and did Teshuva (repentance). After a few months, he started to learn in additional places even during the week until he decided to rectify his deeds through benefiting the public. He merited to remove his sons from the kibutz and return them to complete teshuva (repentance). He became a popular speaker on Jewish subjects. Over the years, he merited to benefit the public and likewise for two of his sons, one of them in Israel and the other in New York...
His grandson said: "grandfather never received any money for his classes. He did this completely l'Shem Shamayim (for Heaven). He spoke often on the obligation to study torah and that no one is exempt from this.. Yet in his home there were not many books. Nevertheless, besides the words of torah and halacha he taught in his classes, he was often asked questions of halacha (Jewish law) from many people. And after brief thought, he answered them and gave a broad range of halachot and customs related to the question. I also noticed he was often engrossed in thought for a long time. When I grew up, I realized that during the times he was engrossed in thought, he would review his torah learning by heart or do some kind of yichudim (kabalistic union of holy names) using the power of the phenomenal memory he was graced with."
Various Stories"Many times I travelled with grandfather by intercity bus. He always tried to sit in the back of the bus and immediately after he sat, he would close his eyes and be absorbed in his thoughts. Even though he never explained the reason to me, I understood that this was to guard his eyes, something he was very very meticulous in. Thus, by sitting in the last row of the bus, the travellers do not walk by him to their places and usually leave before him and enter after him."
"From the day I recognized grandfather, all his eating was l'shem shamayim and his table was like a mizbeach (altar). During the week, on the days he did not fast, he would minimize eating and most of his food was bread and fish or bread and techina.. For his many journeys, he took dried bread which lasted a long time. He dipped this dry bread in tea or water and this was his whole meal or most of it. When he felt weak, he ate chicken soup with vegetables. The chicken meat itself he ate on the Sabbath. He never put in his mouth food during the week without saying before almost every piece or every spoonful of soup "l'shem shamayim" or "for His service, blessed be He (l'Avodato Yitbarach)", or "in all your ways know Him", and other similar things."
A well known story circulated in the family on grandmother who once woke up after midnight and saw in the room flames of fire. She was very scared and screamed "Menachem, where are you?!"
Grandfather immediately went to her and calmed her down by showing her that everything is normal. When she insisted that she saw fire in the room and that it was not imagination, he told her: "fortunate are you that you saw but do not tell this to anyone".
From what I remember, he told her that this was Eliyahu Hanavi. In the morning, she told her sons, and then grandfather asked her to keep this quiet. From then on, nothing was heard from him or her, not confirmation nor contradiction of this story.
Grandmother was ill in the heart for many years. Many times she was on the verge of a heart attack. Most of these incidents occurred at night. And then I would run to the house of Dr.Cohen and scream to him. (he would come with his car even on the Sabbath due to the mortal danger and return to his home by car for concern of being called by another sick person.)
But grandfather would immediately get up to pray and he would separate money for pidyons (redemptions) to tzedaka (charity). When Dr. Cohen came he would almost always say that she had suffered a light heart attack and thank G-d once he got there, the crisis passed and he gave her medications.
One time, grandmother had a heart attack during the day when grandfather was outside the city. The doctor said the heart attack was serious and she needed to be hospitalized. She was hospitalized in the "Bikur Cholim" hospital in central Jerusalem. My mother asked us not to say anything to grandfather until after she herself told to him the situation in a calm manner. But when grandfather returned to Jerusalem, he immediately went to my sister and asked her which hospital grandmother is at. When my sister saw that he already knew her situation, she told him the name of the hospital. Immediately, grandfather went there and he did for her kaparot with money over her head (like before Yom Kipur) and stood in prayers and supplications for her healing as was his way in similar cases when this happened late night. Immediately, the danger passed and she was sent home by the doctors.
R.Yehuda FetayaIn the year 1934, "a lion came up from Bavel", namely, the famous kabalist R.Yehuda Fetaya. Immediately, grandfather became his student and right hand man. He also clung affectionately to his kabalist students, among them the two luminaries, R.Solomon Mutzafi and R.Avraham Barzani.
He joined them in various tikunim (rectifications) at the graves of tzadikim and hakafot (special prayers). Like them, he also devoted time to all poor and downtrodden who came for help, advice, money, and prayer. Even though grandfather never used Kameot (amulets), but nevertheless many were saved by the power of his prayers after doing complete teshuva (repentance)...
Women also joined the journeys to the graves of tzadikim. Although grandfather was very much opposed that women enter cemetaries under any circumstances, even in these journeys, but the women did not enter the cemetaries and prayed from the outside. For graves of tzadikim not in cemetaries, he would encourage them to come pray when they were not in the days of Niddah. For the prayers of women are many times more received since they do not have the matter of the two severe sins, namely, wasting seed and bitul torah. For this he would arrange special seating in the journey so as not to lose more than gained..
During WWII, the German army reached "El Alamein" in Egypt and it was already known that their intent was to reach Syria and from there to Israel to slaughter all the Jews. They had already made a pact with the arab Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, ym''sh who trained arab S.S. men to do the job. It was a difficult time for the Jewish people. The holy kabalist, R.Yehuda Fetaya assembled the congregation for special prayers. He divided them into four groups and sent them to the four corners of Jerusalem to stand and pray in the order of Hakafot of "seven covenants" which he composed.
At the head of one of the four groups, he placed grandfather. After the prayer, R.Yehuda Fetaya called to bring grandfather and in front of all those present, he said: "your prayers today had an effect. They confounded the Sar (angel) of Hitler, exchanging the word 'Syria' (סוריה) for 'Russia' (רוסיה) and there he will fall".
After a few days, the holy kabalist, Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeira came in a dream to R.Yitzchak Alfiyah and told him to come with a congregation (kehal) to his grave in Damanhur, Egypt and to pray on the situation. R.Yitzchak reached Egypt through miracles and assembled a congregation who prayed with him at the grave of R.Yaakov Abuchatzeirah. They prayed much and on the third day of their prayers, the German army was defeated at "El Alamein".
Following the invasion of the Soviet Union, using the Blitzkrieg tactic, the German Army marched far into Russia. However, they did so on very slow, overextended, supply lines. These supply lines hindered the German advance, and eventually led to a huge lack of supplies on the front line. This, alongside the sheer vastness of Russia, cold winter, difficult terrain and key Soviet advances, it became a death trap for the German army. The result was heavy bleeding of the German army and massive defeats. Indeed, most German military casualties in WWII occurred on the Russian front.
Rabbi Yehuda Fetaya received people every morning after the morning prayer at the Musayif Synagogue in the Bukharim neighborhood of Jerusalem. He treated them through writing amulets, blessings, or the like. Many people were saved through him. (after his death, R.Yitzchak Kaduri took his place). His reputation went out as a miracle worker and his amulets were renowned (even the holy shoemaker, R.Moshe Yaakov Ravikov, would wear continuously an amulet of Rabbi Yehuda Fetaya).
One time a Jew by the name of Shasha came to him. He suffered from large stones inside his testicles and every time he urinated, he would scream out from the pain. He sought healing for his condition. R.Fetaya put his hand above his pants and said the verse: "you shall not keep in your pouch two different stones.." (Devarim/Deut.25:13) with certain kavanot (kabalistic intents) and afterwards told him to go urinate. He went immediately to the bathroom and while urinating all the stones dissolved and exited with the urine and he was healed.
One time, a certain man came to him who was unable to have children. He cried and wanted to merit to have a son. After pressing and pressing, R.Fetaya blessed him that next month he will merit to a son. After a few months, the man returned to R.Fetaya claiming "where is your blessing? My wife is still not pregnant". Immediately, R.Fetaya closed his eyes and when he opened them, he said: "Rashah (wicked man) you gave my blessing to an arab woman which you sinned with in the hotel". The man lowered his face in shame and left.
After the six day war, I offered to grandfather to do hakafot in the cave of the prophets Chagai, Zecharia, and Malachi at the Mount of Olives. Grandfather agreed and publicized to the public and we gathered several minyanim.. After the hakafot, grandfather told me that the prophets Chagai and Malachi stood with us in prayer. I asked him what about Zecharia? And he answered me that he is not sure that he is buried there...
Encounter with Baba SaliMy father was a close friend of Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira (Baba Sali) and his son Rabbi Meir Abuchatzeira. After my mother passed away, Baba Sali set up a Chupah and Kidushin (wedding) for my father for his second wife including paying for the entire wedding meal from his own pocket. Due to this friendship, I merited to enter several times in the holy abode of Baba Sali. One time I entered his home, Baba Sali took an empty bottle of "Arak" and in front of my eyes, he whispered to the bottle and it filled up with high quality "Arak". He poured to me a big cup from it. When I told him that alcohol damages me, he promised me that I won't be damaged. I drank the whole cup which tasted and smelled like very strong "Arak". Besides a little dizziness, I was not at all damaged from it.
Only one thing can save your sonDuring the seven days of mourning (Shivah) on grandfather, a certain G-d fearing Jew from Bulgaria came and told over that when he came to Israel, he did not know much about Judaism and he raised a completely secular family. At ten years old, his son became ill. After medical tests, the doctors discovered a hole in his heart and his status was categorized as dangerous. In his distress, the friends of the father came to him and told him: "go to Rabbi Menashe and ask him to pray for your son". Even though he was very skeptical of the benefit of this, he did this. When grandfather heard his situation, he told him: "only one thing can save your son, namely, completely teshuva (repentance) to Hash-em, the G-d of Israel". He started to explain to him what is the torah and its mitzvot (commandments). When the man answered that he was prepared to do everything for his son, grandfather told him: "let us go pray mincha (afternoon prayer) and during the prayer accept on yourself to fast tomorrow". He showed him how to pray and where to accept the fast. Grandfather also took on himself a fast for the next day for his son.
The next day, the man returned to grandfather and the two sat together in the synagogue and recited the entire Tehilim (Psalms) word by word. When they finished, grandfather told him: "your teshuva (repentance) was accepted in Heaven and your son is now healed". He immediately ran to the hospital and saw that his son's health appeared to have improved greatly. He pressed the doctors to perform the heart tests anew saying that Rabbi Menachem Menashe promised him that through his repentance, his son is already healed. The doctors laughed at his words and thought him crazy. They attributed his son's improvement to medications. They told him that the medications do not heal the heart, they only treat the side effects of the illness and that his son is still in mortal danger and that he should find a way to fly his son to a dangerous surgery [with specialists] outside Israel.
But when the father stood his ground and decided to take his son out of the hospital and back home, the doctors agreed to do another test of his heart and they were shocked to see that everything was ok. There was a big kidush Hash-em in the eyes of the entire hospital staff and the father and all his family did teshuva (repentance) and returned to the G-d of Israel in whose hands are all living things.
R. Menachem Menasheh passed away in Jerusalem on 12 Elul, 5728 (1968). He authored several works such as "Ahavat Chaim", which includes sermons, Halachot and stories on the weekly Torah reading portions.
See the book "Toldot Menachem" by R.Yosef Shabtai (his grandson) for much more.
(note: I was given permission by R.Shabtai only for the website version of this series. He requested of me to not include this section in the book version of this series.)
R.Yosef Shabtai (Shani) has a youtube channel (Hebrew) with stories of the many tzadikim he met and words of torah.
-  The book author writes (pg.122): Rabbi Ben Tzion Abbah Shaul zt'l told me once that when he was a young avreich (kollel student), he went with a few avreichim (students) of Yeshiva Porat Yosef to speak in torah with the gaon Rabbi Shimshon Polanski (picture on right) and to bask in his amazing bekiut (proficiency of torah knowledge). Rabbi Shimshon asked them a difficulty (kushia) in the words of Maran, the Beit Yosef on Hilchot Pesach. When they did not find an answer, one of the Avereichim said that Maran the Beit Yosef was not exact (lo diyek) in his words. When Rabbi Shishom heard this, he fainted. It was necessary to help him regain consciousness. After he regained consciousness, he said "how can a ben torah in our days say something like this on Maran the Beit Yosef". He was very pained for having heard such words.
Parenthetically, Rabbi Ben Tzion Abbah Shaul (picture on right) also told me that among the Avereichim of the Yeshiva Porat Yosef in the Old City of Jerusalem, there was a certain Avreich who was tremendously proficient in Kabalah and the Kavanot (kabalistic intents) of the Rashash. He told his peers: "I am going to transgress the oath and I am going to usher the Holy One, blessed be He, in the Jerusalem above and immediately the Geulah (redemption) will come".
(the explanation is that our sages said that G-d swore that He will not enter Jerusalem above until the Jewish people will enter Jerusalem below, namely, at the time of the Geulah (redemption). Our sages also said that G-d made the Jewish people swear three oaths, one of them was to not push/force the time of the Redemption. The secret of the matter is that there are holy names that one can have intent during the prayer but without having intent for their vowels. For if one has intent also on their vowels, it will cause the Holy One, blessed be He, to enter Jerusalem above and since He swore to not enter Jerusalem above until the Geulah, perforce through these intents, the Redemption will come immediately. Therefore, G-d made the Jewish people swear to not push/force the end time through these holy names with vowels. Thus, when the Kabalists pray the Amidah prayer, they refrain from having intent on these holy names with their vowels in order to not transgress the oath).
This Avreich wanted to have intent for these holy names in the Amidah prayer with the vowels. He stood in one of the synagogues in the Shtieblach of the "Beit Yisrael" neighborhood and started to say the Amidah prayer wearing Talit and Tefilin with intention to have intent for the holy names with vowels. Immediately, he fell down and dropped dead. May H' save us. The torah is truth, the Arizal is truth.
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_casualties_in_World_War_II
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