Thousands of people on Friday came to the tomb of the Ari Hakadosh, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi, regarded as a pillar of the esoteric study of Kabbalah. The Ari's tomb, in Tzefat (Safed), attracts visitors all year long, with many coming to pay tribute to his memory on his hilula, the date of his passing.
Though he lived only 38 years, the Ari's influence on modern Judaism has been extensive and wide-ranging. Many of the practices he originated and publicized are in use by Jewish communities around the world. Despite his extensive influence, the Ari wrote almost no books; his teachings were compiled by several of his students, most notably Rabbi Chaim Vital.
The Ari established the order of prayer found in most prayerbooks currently in use in Sephardic and Hassidic communities. In addition, his spiritual insight enabled him to “rediscover” the location of the graves of many rabbis of previous generations, and many figures from the Talmud and the Tanach. The Ari marked the locations of these graves, and they are accepted today as the authentic locations for these graves.