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Rav Meir Poperos - Taking the Arizal's Kabalah Global

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Rav Meir Poperos - Taking the Arizal's Kabalah Global
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Even the Shelah HaKadosh, one of the greatest Mekubalim of his generation, who died nearly 60 years after the Arizal, was unfamiliar with the Arizal's system of Kabalah until he emigrated to Eretz Yisroel near the end of his life. The Arizal purposely taught things out of order to ensure that outsiders would not be able learn his teachings. Rav Chaim Vital insisted that the classic Kabalah work Eitz Chaim, which are his writings that he heard from the Arizal, be buried with him since they were not meant for public dissemination.

The only copy available after his death was a hastily copied bootleg manuscript made from his writings which were taken from his house during his last illness, copied and quickly returned. This manuscript was full of errors and poorly arranged. Many years after his death Rav Yaakov Tzemach (a talmid of Rav Shmuel Vital, Rav Chaim Vital's son) and Rav Avrohom Azulai made a "Sheilas Chalom" and received permission to exhume the writings buried with Rav Chaim Vital. Even so they were unable to make an orderly arrangement of these writings. Rav Yaakov Tzemach's talmid Rav Meir Poperos undertook the task of arranging and organizing the Eitz Chaim and is credited with arranging the format in which we have it today.

Rav Meir was born in 5384/1624 in Prague a few years after the death of Rav Chaim Vital and a few years before the death of the Shelah HaKadosh. Rav Meir was a very holy child. He moved to Eretz Yisroel and started learning Kabalah at the age of 13. After struggling with non organized seforim he made his way to Damascus where he studied under Rav Shmuel Vital as well as Rav Yaakov Tzemach. Rav Meir published many original works in Kabalah the most famous being Ohr Tzadikim a compilation minhagim based on Kabalah which was later edited and lengthened in what is known as Ohr HaYashar by Rav Tzvi Hirsh Chazzan.

Rav Meir along with Rav Yaakov Tzemach and Rav Nosson Shapira are considered the main disseminators of the Kabalah of the Arizal and his various minhagim to the entire European Jewish community. Rav Meir was niftar in 5422/1662 at the young age of 38 in Yerushalayim. Yehi Zichro Boruch.

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