Rabbi Meir Baal Haness

Rabbi Meir Baal Haness passed away on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar. He is buried on the shores of Lake Kinneret, only a short distance from the city of Tiberius.

 

The grave of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness is one of the holiest sites in the Jewish world and thousands of people flock there to pray for their salvation.

Rabbi Meir Baal Haness (the miracle maker) was a Jewish sage who lived in the time of the Mishna. According to the Talmud, his father was a descendant of the Roman Emperor Nero who had converted to Judaism. His wife Bruriah is one of the few women cited in the Gemara. He is the third most frequently mentioned sage in the Mishnah.

Rabbi Meir Baal Haness said he would help those that gave to the poor of Israel. Before his death, Rabbi Meir Baal Haness promised - as his legacy to all generations - that he will personally intercede in Heaven, on behalf of anyone in distress, who will give charity to the poor for the sake of his neshama (soul), in Israel in his memory.

To this very day it has been a sacred and hallowed tradition for Jews, in crisis or need, to recite the words “God of Meir - answer me!” while giving Tzedakah. Countless stories abound of men and women who during a personal crisis, experienced miraculous help when they gave charity to this holy fund in memory of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes.

The story behind the segula has its basis in Mesechtes Avodah Zarah 18a-b of the Talmud. When Rabbi Meir’s in-laws were found teaching Torah publicly, they were executed and his sister-in-law was taken by the Romans. Determined to win her release, Rabbi Meir took a large bag of golden dinars and approached her warden with the bribe. “Take the dinars, and give her to me!” he demanded.

 

The warden, fully aware of his fate should the escape be discovered, refused. Rabbi Meir then instructed him that if his superiors would try to harm him, he need only cry out, “G-d of Meir, answer me!” and the threat would disappear. The warden was skeptical, so Rabbi Meir proved the efficacy of the segula by throwing a stone at the vicious jail dogs. When the dogs rushed to attack him, Rabbi Meir cried, “G-d of Meir, answer me!” and they retreated meekly. The Roman warden, satisfied that he could rely on the miracle, released the girl. Sure enough, her disappearance was quickly discovered, and the guard was taken to be hanged. At the last moment, he exclaimed, “G-d of Meir, answer me!” The executioner suddenly stopped, took him down from the gallows, and questioned him. When the guard revealed the entire episode, the Romans engraved a likeness of Rabbi Meir on the city gates and hunted him down as a wanted man. Rabbi Meir narrowly escaped, but felt it necessary to run away to Babylon to avoid the Romans.

There is a custom that when something is lost, a person should give charity in the memory of the soul of Rebbe Meir Baal Haness in the merit of finding what was lost. Then, the following prayer is said 3 times in a row:

 

אמר רבי בנימין, הכל בחזקת סומין, עד שהקדוש ברוך הוא מאיר את עיניהם. מן הכא, ויפקח אלוקים את עיניה ותרא באר מים, ותלך ותמלא את החמת. אלהא דמאיר ענני, אלהא דמאיר ענני, אלהא דמאיר ענני. בזכות הצדקה שאני נודב לעילוי נשמת רבי מאיר בעל הנס, זכותו יגן עלינו, למצוא את האבידה שאיבדתי.

 

Rabbi Binyamin said: All are in the presumed status of blind people, until The Holy One, Blessed Be He, enlightens their eyes.
{Bereishit 21:19}, "And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink."
{The concept is that the well was always there, but Hagar did not see it. Only after praying did G-d open her eyes and she saw what was already there.

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