Updated: May 17, 2022
It’s interesting that no sage earned the nickname of Ba’al HaNes (master of
miracles) other than the Tanna R’ Meir. Originally called Nehorai, his name was changed to Meir which literally means he “illuminates” the sages of his generation. His intellect was so bright that few people could understand his reasoning and therefore the Halacha seldom follows him.
Rabbi Meir was one of the 5 disciples of Rabbi Akiva that remained after
the 24.000 died during the course of the counting of the Omer, and also studied under Elisha ben Avuya, the one who abandoned Torah after his spiritual trip. This happened when Elisha ben Avuya travelled to the spiritual realms with other 3 outstanding sages (Rabbi Akiva, Shimon Ben Azzai and Shimon Ben Zoma) in order to fix the primordial sin of Adam and bring the redemption This is all explained in Sha’ar Ma’amarei Razal (The Gate of our Sages’ Teachings), by the Arizal.
Maker of miracles for the world
There’s a known story through which Rabbi Meir became known by his nickname “master of miracles”. This happened when his wife Beruriah’s sister was thrown into a brothel by the wicked romans and Rabbi Meir went to rescue her with money. He then gave the secret words to the guard to be saved from wild dogs and the supervisors, which are: אלהא דמאיר ענני (God of Meir, answer!). With that gift to the guard, he was able to save the woman (Avodah Zarah 18a)
These words are used to this day to evoke miracles, but especially when people lost objects and what help finding them. It’s become a sort of a custom to say these words whenever one needs a salvation and this clearly has to do specifically with Rabbi Meir himself. But how did he managed to do that?
The question is important, because many sages were able to effect miracles and segulot in their lifetimes. They were able to alter the course of nature while they were alive. But to create a rule in the universe for future generations is something else entirely!
As we know, the entire world is dependent on Torah. Our sages teach that Hashem looked into the Torah and brought forth Creation. This means, simply put, that one who has mastery of the Torah, has the keys to alter world as he sees fit since the entire Torah is one long name of Hashem (with many more encoded in it).
This explains the basis for certain prayers and segulot, which invoke that specific name that is encoded in the verse. One such example is the verse from the well-known Psalm Ashrei (145) which states: פותח את ידך ומשביע לכל חי רצון. Its translation is “Open your hand and satiate all life with their desires”. The Arizal in Sha’ar HaKavanot explains that the last letters of the first 3 words form the divine name for sustenance (חתך) and, ingeniously, the first letters of the last 3 words form the name Rachel (רחל) which, as we saw in a previous article, is a nickname for the Shekhina! In essence, we are drawing down sustenance from the higher 6 sephirot down to the Shekhina with our Kavanah (intention), so she can send it down to us.
The Pure Pomegranade
Perhaps we can answer the question with one of the most striking Aggadot (stories) of Rabbi Meir in the Talmud. In Tractate Chaguigah (Chapter 2), it’s related how Elisha Ben Avuya became known as Acher (the “other) by a harlot, after he went to the path of evil.
The sages digress to discuss how is it possible that someone such as Rabbi Meir could’ve learned from him without becoming corrupt. And the answer given is that Rabbi Meir “took the shell out of a pomegranate and ate its seeds”. The parallel is obvious: he cast away the bad part and took for himself the good part, but the deeper meaning is that the word for Pomegranate (רימון) is the same Gematria (numerical value) as that of the angel Meta-tron, if we take out the 2 letters Tet (ט) from his name. The remaining letters are the husk of the Rimon and represents evil. It also represents the domination of the angel Meta-tron during the 6 days of the week as explained in the Zohar. Obviously rulership is Hashem’s only, but he does that through that angel who forms a barrier to his Providence, and is discarded (like the Pomegranate) during Shabbat so Hashem is more readily experienced.
We see however how Rabbi Meir’s brilliance was able to imprint his segula in the fabric of Creation for generations to come. He was able to take all good in Creation and discard everything bad, and the proof of this is what he did with his former teacher! He not only knew the Torah but also authored many hidden books full of Midrashim, parables and maxims which were lost, including Torah Shel Meir and Sifra Shel Rabbi Meir (Bereshit Rabbah 9:5).
Rabbi Meir is buried in Tveria and the wondrous shrine around his grave is one of the most popular attractions in the North of Israel. Many stories are known from people who received their salvations by praying there. May the memory of the Tzaddik be for a blessing!
This article was written in the zechut of Yehudit simcha bas chaya yitta, may HaShem help her attain her hearts desires speedily!
In the merit of the study of this book - the book of the Zohar - the Jewish People will leave the Exile in a merciful manner. (parashat Naso, 124b). Studying Kabbalah is a huge source of merit that can bring all sorts of salvation to a person’s life. If you want to sponsor to have me study in-depth Kabbalah from the Arizal or the Rashash in your merit and receive its blessings, especially for sustenance, children and health.