It’s not clear from whom Rabbi Adam learned the secrets. What is clear is that Rabbi Adam taught the secrets to our Heiliege Yid, though not directly. Rabbi Adam’s son, Ben-Adam, was actually the transmitter of this toira. Why not the receiver?
“Mein kind,” Rabbi Adam said to his son, “my son, you thirst for toira, but this toira will not refresh you. This toira is for another. Give it to Yisroel ben-Eliezer in the place where he lives.” Rabbi Adam soon died and his son journeyed to find the rabbi, Yisroel ben-Eliezer, in Okup.
“There is no rabbi by that name here,” a pasht Yid said.
“Is he then a talmid chochum?” Ben-Adam asked.
“No,” the Yid replied. “We have no scholars here. Yisroel ben-Eliezer is the shammes of our shul. He’s not the rabbi.”
So Ben-Adam went to the shul, opened up some seforim, and began to learn while also keeping an eye out for the shammes. He hadn’t long to wait.
This shammes was a bit unusual. The shmutz he took outside, but the candles and the wax left over after someone completed his lernen toira, this he collected. Ben-Adam had the shammes bring together benches for him, so he could spend the night lernen toira. As he said Tikkun Chatzois, Ben-Adam watched the shammes, who lit a candle made from all the wax crumbs he collected. He realised Yisroel could read when Yisroel went to the seforim, chose a sefer, and began to learn.
Ben-Adam new that this was who Rabbi Adam wanted him to contact. Yisroel got up to stoke the oven in the bes medrish. Ben-Adam placed one of the lessons Rabbi Adam gave him on top of the sefer Yisroel was learning from. He watched, fascinated, as Yisroel returned and read the lesson: fire shot forth from Yisroel’s body. Ben-Adam desperately wanted what Yisroel had.
“My father, the heilige Yid Rabbi Adam, wanted me to give this to you,” Ben-Adam said as he sat down next to Yisroel. “I have much more. My path is different, but even so I must learn this with you! I thought I was the teacher but I see now that I am the learner. Teach me!”
Yisroel agreed. “It’s on condition,” he said, “that the Yidn here think that you’re the teacher.” The mentshn und falk, the villagers, were amazed that a wealthy scholar would live among them, for he built a house outside the shtetl, and even more amazed that he took on such a dull student.
Rabbi Adam gave Yisroel a toira he had long hungered for, a depth from the soid, the highest mystical interpretations. It happened that they began to learn a commentary on Vyikra that captivated both of them. Ben-Adam wanted to pursue this knowledge. Yisroel was reticent but his resistance wore down.
Preparations were made, and over days and weeks they fasted, they davened, they immersed in the mikve – and nothing happened when they thought they were ready.
“We must summon Yofiel,” Ben-Adam asserted.
“No!” Yisroel replied adamantly. “We cannot summon a malakh, an angel!” Yisroel knew the dangers of such wisdom and was shocked that Ben-Adam didn’t. Even so, he permitted himself to be persuaded – right until the malakh hamoves, the Angel of Death, appeared.
Yisroel handed a scroll to Ben-Adam.
“Gazong dem megila,” Yisroel told Ben-Adam, “chant this scroll repeatedly – and stay awake,” for Yisroel knew that the malakh hamoves prefers to take the neshoma when Yidn sleep.
Yisroel also chanted, all night he chanted, he freed himself from the gashmius, the physical body, and he knew then that he was safe. He returned to the gashmius when Hashkomes Haboiker occured, the time you say the first qrias Shma of the day.
“Gute tag,” he said to Ben-Adam, “good morning.” He received no greeting back, touched a cold body, and realised that Ben-Adam was dead.
His toira, his father’s toira, however, was very much alive.