Sunday, March 18, 2007
WHY FUSS ABOUT MIRACLES?
Last year’s post, THE MUSICAL TALENTS OF THE "TIFERES SHLOMO", has much about his Negina and his relationship to Rebbe Yechezkel of Kuzmir.
This was adapted and excerpted from RABBI SHLOMO HAKOHEN OF RADOMSK, by Rabbi Dovid Ebner:
Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen was born in 5563 (1803) into a Chassidic family. As a youth, he became a Chassid of Rebbe Meir of Apt, who was a follower of the holy Seer - the Chozeh - of Lublin. It is told that when he first came to the latter’s court, Rebbe Meir already recognized him as possessing unusual qualities of saintliness.
At the age of 30, he became the Rabbi of Radomsk in the Lodz province of Poland, and served in that capacity for the rest of his life. However, he began to attract followers who wanted him to assume the role of a Rebbe as well as that of the Rav of the community. Much as he sought to avoid taking on such a position, he was eventually convinced to do so, and in 1843 he accepted the role of Chassidic Rebbe. His charismatic personality, human insight, and ecstatic prayer attracted thousands to the Chassidus of Radomsk. When he led prayers, the synagogue would be filled to capacity.
He once taught that David HaMelech was on a higher rung than Aharon HaKohen: “When Aharon suffered misfortune, he remained silent and uttered no word of complaint. But when David faced misfortune, he sang Tehillim [Psalms].”
His assumption of the title of Rebbe met with the approval of even the Rebbe of Kotzk. He remarked, “The Rabbis teach that ‘words which proceed from the heart, enter the heart.’ I think this must mean that one cannot try to correct the ways of his fellowman unless he has examined himself and rooted out of his own heart that which he finds objectionable in the other. Rabbi Shlomo is such a man.”
The Radomsker Rebbe was a man whose mind and heart sang with praise to His Creator. On the 29th of Adar, 5626 (1866) he returned his soul to G-d.
CONSOLATION FOR THE BEIS HAMIKDASH
from The Third Temple, an introduction by Reb Dovid Hertzberg
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach ztl shared the following parable from Rebbe Shlomo of Radomsk: Imagine there's a father and child. The child is crying, so of course being the compassionate father he is, he consoles his son. But what happens when the father is also crying? If the son is a really good child he puts his pain aside and consoles his father. How do we understand this? The Holy Temple is in ruin and we cry a billion tears over the loss of our house. But when our eyes are opened we see that G-d consoles us in his utmost compassion and promises us, we will soon merit to once again see our house rebuilt. From our tears we see how much G-d is crying in his state of homelessness. We make ourselves strong and console G-d with the words, please cease from weeping for I promise you that very soon you will have your new house to dwell in and this Holy Temple will last forever.
The following story is excerpted from Rabbi SY Zevin’s “Treasury of Chassidic Tales on the Torah.”
During the Polish rising against Czarist Russia, a squad of Polish soldiers seized a certain wealthy and respected Chassid who lived near Radomsk, and prepared to sentence him to death for having allegedly refused to supply them with grain and wine that they had demanded of him.
"There is no need for all this uproar," said Rebbe Shlomo. ''The rebels will not kill him, and the whole episode will end up as no more than a matter of money."
He then told them to seek out the rebel chief and to address their entreaties to him.
Following the camp of the rebels, the relatives found their chief and begged him to spare the life of the prisoner. He received them cordially, and averred that a prisoner such as this, who refused to provide his fighters with provisions, certainly deserved to be fined thirty thousand gold rubles. In a flash, the relatives were off to fetch the required sum in cash, and in minutes they were back to ransom their loved one from certain death.
Their first thought thereafter was to bring the glad tidings to the Rebbe: his blessing had been fulfilled. As the family arrived exultant, Rebbe Shlomo asked the freed man: "In what manner did they let you go?"
When he answered that he had paid a fine of thirty thousand gold rubles, the Rebbe commented: ''Is it right that they should take such a vast sum from you? No! You will not lose the money, either. You will get it back."
All those who were present wondered at the Rebbe’s words. Everyone knew that the rebels never let out of their grasp anything they managed to lay their hands on, and who would dare take such a fearsome adversary to court?
His friends recalled the assurance of their Rebbe, and observed that every word of his had come true – clearly a miracle. They hastened to give him the good news, but when he heard their excited report, he answered angrily: "Away with you! What makes you come and confuse me with stories of miracles? Off you go! I don't want to hear any more of your miracle stories!''
"Your question is in place,'' replied the Rebbe, ''but allow me to tell you a story of the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem once earnestly requested one of his disciples to accept a rabbinical post. The disciple refused. The Rebbe spoke to him as if in anger: 'Indeed! Here I am trying to set you up in an easy job, where you will be able devote yourself to the study of Torah while occupying a position as a rabbi - and you're not interested?! This just goes to show that you don't take the obligation of Torah study seriously' - and so he continued, with more words of severe reproach in the same vein.
"The disciple, however, did not swerve from his stance: 'No, I do not want to be a rabbi.' At this point the Baal Shem told him that he had only been putting him through a trial.
"So, too, continued Rebbe Shlomo, heaven sometimes shows even great tzaddikim signs of greatness miraculous exploits, with the intention of putting them to the test, of seeing whether it will make them proud, and cause them to grow lax in the service of their Maker.
Even Moshe Rabbeinu was put through such a test. For when he interceded at Sinai for his People who had sinned in worshiping the Golden Calf, the Almighty spoke of destroying them, and said: 'I will make you into a great nation.' Now had he agreed to accept this promise he would have perished, G-d forbid, for it was mentioned only to test him. He however withstood the test, and answered that if G-d would not forgive His People, 'erase me, please, from your book.'
"Who knows, then,'' concluded Rebbe Shlomo, ''what is behind these miracles they are talking about? Perhaps they are brought about only as a test. Why should they make such a fuss about miracles?"
"Yiftach b'doro k'Shmuel b'doro!"
Adar 29 is also the Yartzeit of R' Yaakov Kaminetzky.
DY - ditto, plus, 29 Adar was also my grandfather Yehuda's yahrzeit!
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