Today we are celebrating the anniversary of the death of the ARI. We will commemorate this day by joining together in a festive meal; many students around the world will participate as well. We honor this special soul that revealed spiritual redemption for us: the way to come out of the last exile and to achieve the revelation of the Creator. The revelation of the Creator is the revelation of love and bestowal, which connect us all together. And to the extent that we unite, we reveal the Upper Force, a higher, spiritual life within us.
If we talk about the ARI as a person who lived and died, rather than as a soul that exists eternally in spiritual space, then the ARI was a person who threw the end of the rope to us who are existing in this world. By grabbing onto this rope we can begin to ascend to the spiritual world from our present state.
This is why we are so thankful to the ARI and we honor him so much. We want to be as close to him as possible since he represents the desire of the Creator, thanks to which we ascend. Baal HaSulam writes that he did not add a thing to the ARI’s teachings; he merely explained them. Every Kabbalist that came after the ARI helped to develop his teachings a little more since the ARI laid the foundation for the method of correction.
You might ask: “What about Abraham, the father of the nation? Doesn’t the method of correction belong to him?” During the times of Abraham we had not gone through the breaking of the souls and the destruction of the First and the Second Temples; the period of exile had not yet come to an end.
The ARI lived during the very end of the last exile, and from his time and on the “labor pains” of the time of redemption, the need to ascend, began. The ARI took the method of Kabbalah from the time of the Patriarchs and the time of the exile and made it into a method for correction of the souls. That is why he is especially dear to us. Let us hope that we will merit becoming true students of the ARI.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/15/10, Pri Hacham, Igrot (Letters), Letter 39