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Thursday, May 08, 2008

 

A Fiery Love of the Land


Tonight and tomorrow, 4 Iyar, is the 24th yahrzeit of the third Modzitzer Rebbe, Rebbe Shmuel Eliyahu Taub, known as the Imrei Aish [Sayings of Fire]. Ostensibly, this appellation comes the first letters of his name - Shmuel Eliyahu - the Shin and Aleph comprising the word Aish. But perhaps there’s a deeper meaning here as well.

For a lot more about this Rebbe, see my previous posts:
Yahrzeit of the Imrei Aish 5767
The Advantages of Negina
Scenes from the Yahrzeit Seuda
***

In 1935, the Imrei Aish accompanied his father, the saintly Imrei Shaul, on a trip from Poland to Eretz Yisrael. It was in the month of Iyar, the day before Lag B'Omer. The very next day, they went to Meron, where Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is buried - and Lag B'Omer is his yahrzeit. There they met various Chassidic Rebbes and other Rebbeim, and this visit made a lasting impression on young R. Shmuel Eliyahu. Later on this trip, they met with many other Gedolei Yisrael. The trip lasted close to three months, and on Shabbos Chazon [right before Tisha B'Av] they were guests in the Old City of Yerushalayim. On the night of Tisha B'Av they made their way to the Kosel [Western Wall], accompanied by throngs of people.

This trip so affected the Imrei Aish, that when his father told him he was ready to return home to Poland, he asked his permission to remain in Israel: "Eretz Yisrael has found favor in my eyes. I will dwell here, for I have desired it" [see Tehillim, 132:14]. The Imrei Shaul, who also had a great love for Eretz Yisrael, immediately agreed. A year later, his Rebbetzin and their only son, the "Nachalas Dan", made Aliya to Israel as well. In that year [1936], the Imrei Aish was chosen for a position on the Tel Aviv Rabbinate.

It was also in that year that he composed his first niggun. His father [the Imrei Shaul] made yet another visit to Eretz Yisrael two years later. At the Tish, the Rebbe asked his son [R. Shmuel Eliyahu] to sing "Kol Mekadesh." He sang his first niggun, and the Rebbe learned it immediately. Upon his return to Poland, he sang it often, telling his Chassidim, "I have brought you fruit from the Land of Israel - my son's first niggun." Even upon his flight from the Nazis [ym"sh], Rebbe Shaul continued to sing this niggun very frequently.

The Imrei Aish lived the entire period, from his Aliya in 1935 until his petira [passing] in 1984, in Tel-Aviv. He saw his living in the heart of central Tel-Aviv [his last location there was on Dizengoff St.] as a mission. After many other Chassidic Rebbes had moved from Tel-Aviv to Bnei Brak, he was asked why he didn’t do so as well.

"They don’t need me there," he answered with a smile. "In Bnei Brak, there are dozens like me." Indeed, his smile and warm demeanor affected every one who entered his Beis Medrash. On a typical Yom Kippur, while the Imrei Aish intoned the Kol Nidrei prayers, one could see actors from the Bima theater davening next to bearded Chassidim; famous singers and musicians alongside yeshiva bachurim and avreichim [young men]. One did not need a black hat, a bekeshe [Chassidic coat], or even a beard to be warmly received by this amazing Rebbe, whose heart and soul were open to all who came.

As we described previously: Carefully balancing the emotional overflows from the Holocaust and the new State, with the deeply rooted values of Agudist-Polish Chassidic Jewry, the Imrei Aish earned the love and respect of all kinds of Jews, from all walks of life. The Modzitzers who survived or fled Europe flocked to him, as did hundreds of others who found his home and guidance an Ir Miklat (City of Refuge) from which to rebuild their own lives. To this very day, one sees on any given Shabbos by the Rebbe Shlita’s Beis Medrash heads covered with hats, spodiks, kippot srugot, streimlach, and even some hastily donned kippot, all by people who definitely consider themselves Chassidei Modzitz... talmidim of Rebbe Shmuel Eliyahu zt"l.

And finally, from an earlier post, but worth repeating:
In regard to Israel’s soldiers, it is proper to relate what his son, the Nachalas Dan, wrote: "I recall that during the Six-Day War, there were young men who were called up to go to the War in the middle of the night. When they returned, they told me that they took a tally, and whoever went into the Rebbe [his father, the Imrei Aish] for a blessing before departing for the War, returned unharmed. Hashem should bless us, that just as he [the Imrei Aish Zt"l] protected us in his lifetime, he should do so now."

Zechuso yagein Aleinu, v'al Kol Yisrael – May the Imrei Aish's merits protect us all!!!

Comments:
Beautiful post.

there's lots more yiddishkeit in Tel Aviv than most people would suspect.
 
PARSHAS BEHAR
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶךָ
What is the significance of seven years? The Matteh Moshe has an interesting answer. The solar Year is 365 days .Within this time period there are 52 Shabbosim. Therefore it comes out that the number of Shabbosim in a Shmitah cycle is 364 days rounded you get the Shmitah year. The Chida has a more exact answer. The Gemara in Brachos says Rava told his students during Nissan and Tishrei don’t come to Yeshiva to learn, work the fields so you have the means to learn for the rest of the year. If you do the math over the six years it adds up to twelve months. Therefore the seventh Year is Shemita.
וְכִי תֹאמְרוּ מַה-נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת הֵן לֹא נִזְרָע וְלֹא נֶאֱסֹף אֶת-תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ.
The question seems to be wrong, in the seventh year we eat the crop of the sixth year so what is the posuk asking what will be in the seventh year, it is the wrong question? The Sefer Peh Kodesh has an amazing Psychological insight. The Gemara in Yoma says
אינו דומה מי שיש לו פת בסלו למי שאין לו פת בסלו .That means that a person who knows that he is provided for in the future is more psychologically fulfilled. Now we understand the Posuk easily. It is talking about the seventh year but since in his mind he is concerned about the upcoming year he is unfulfilled so Hashem in the next posuk
says וְצִוִּיתִי אֶת-בִּרְכָתִי לָכֶם so he knows this year and next year he will be fulfilled.
כִּי-לִי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדִים עֲבָדַי הֵם אֲשֶׁר-הוֹצֵאתִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
Why does the Posuk have a double wording עֲבָדִים עֲבָדַי? There is a din in the Rambam that a slave immerses himself and he has in mind for his freedom he goes out free. The din only applies when he was sold by his previous owner, but if was sold by the government "גבהו הגוי בחובו" his intention by the immersion does not affect the status of the Slave and he does not go free. In our Posuk Hashem is saying I bought you as Slaves but you can't immerse to be free like the din of a slave because I bought you as a governmental purchase מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.
לֹא-תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם אֱלִילִם וּפֶסֶל וּמַצֵּבָה לֹא-תָקִימוּ לָכֶם וְאֶבֶן מַשְׂכִּית לֹא תִתְּנוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶם לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת עָלֶיהָ כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶת-שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ וּמִקְדָּשִׁי תִּירָאוּ
The Chasam Sofer asks if Hashem dislikes stone floors why did he command that the Beis Hamikdash be made with them and what is the connection to Shabbos? The answer is simple stone floors in the Beis Hamikdash are needed because of the blood of the Korbanos would muddy a sand floor. The connection to Shabbos is because on Shabbos you would need to clean it up. That would mean you would be Desecrating Shabbos it is this very reason that Hashem wants the stone floors. Therefore the Parsha ends talking about the stone floors and Shabbos.
 
I updated
PARSHAS BEHAR
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶךָ
What is the significance of seven years? The Matteh Moshe has an interesting answer. The solar Year is 365 days .Within this time period there are 52 Shabbosim. Therefore it comes out that the number of Shabbosim in a Shmitah cycle is 364 days rounded you get the Shmitah year. The Chida has a more exact answer. The Gemara in Brachos says Rava told his students during Nissan and Tishrei don’t come to Yeshiva to learn, work the fields so you have the means to learn for the rest of the year. If you do the math over the six years it adds up to twelve months. Therefore the seventh Year is Shemita.
וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת-חֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת-מִשְׁפָּטַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וִישַׁבְתֶּם עַל-הָאָרֶץ לָבֶטַח
Why does the torah change the language from the חוקים to the משפטים by the חוקים it says עֲשִׂיתֶם and by the משפטים it says תִּשְׁמְרוּ? Rabbi Frand offers an interesting Pshat. The difference between a חוק and a משפט is that a חוק is without logic we do it because Hashem told us too. A משפט is a logical law like not murdering or stealing. Now the change in the Posuk makes sense. A חוקwhich we do without logic and are done without reflection into its logical reasoning we say to do it ַעֲשִׂיתֶםor to continue doing it. Then there are משפטים which are logical, but here we are thrown a loop if the logic does not make sense to our modern sensitivities we are no longer so sure. The advocacy for euthanasia is a simple case in point as is abortion, so maybe murder is not so simple after all the a person is suffering, and the child will just be a drain on society. Stealing is also not so simple we all grew up on Robin Hood. His motto was steal from the rich and give too the poor this makes perfect sense to most of us .Now it becomes clear that when it comes to משפטים we have to watch them and make sure we don’t loose our torah Ethics to our modern Sensibilities.
וְכִי תֹאמְרוּ מַה-נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת הֵן לֹא נִזְרָע וְלֹא נֶאֱסֹף אֶת-תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ.
The question seems to be wrong, in the seventh year we eat the crop of the sixth year so what is the posuk asking what will be in the seventh year, it is the wrong question? The Sefer Peh Kodesh has an amazing Psychological insight. The Gemara in Yoma says
אינו דומה מי שיש לו פת בסלו למי שאין לו פת בסלו .That means that a person who knows that he is provided for in the future is more psychologically fulfilled. Now we understand the Posuk easily. It is talking about the seventh year but since in his mind he is concerned about the upcoming year he is unfulfilled so Hashem in the next posuk
says וְצִוִּיתִי אֶת-בִּרְכָתִי לָכֶם so he knows this year and next year he will be fulfilled.
כִּי-לִי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדִים עֲבָדַי הֵם אֲשֶׁר-הוֹצֵאתִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
Why does the Posuk have a double wording עֲבָדִים עֲבָדַי? There is a din in the Rambam that a slave immerses himself and he has in mind for his freedom he goes out free. The din only applies when he was sold by his previous owner, but if was sold by the government "גבהו הגוי בחובו" his intention by the immersion does not affect the status of the Slave and he does not go free. In our Posuk Hashem is saying I bought you as Slaves but you can't immerse to be free like the din of a slave because I bought you as a governmental purchase מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.
אֶת-כַּסְפְּךָ לֹא-תִתֵּן לוֹ בְּנֶשֶׁךְ וּבְמַרְבִּית לֹא-תִתֵּן אָכְלֶךָ. אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר-הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם לָתֵת לָכֶם אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים
The Yalkut says on this Pasuk whoever lends with interest it is as if he is saying he has nothing to do with Yetizas Mitzrayim. What is the connection between Yetizas Mitzrayim and interest? The first answer is if someone gives you a lot of money and tells you my gift is conditional. The condition is if any of my children need money in the future you will lend it to them without interest so to says the Chasam Sofer Hashem when we left Mitzrayim Hashem took us out with great wealth. There was a condition in the torah lending without interest to Jews who are Hashem's children. This is the connection between Yetizas Mitzrayim and interest The Darash Vihaiyun has another answer. They ask why where the Mitzrayim Punished for enslaving the Jews after all Avraham was told in Golus the Egyptians would ועבדום וענו אותם the Ravad answers they added the work was בפרך and now we understand the connection between Yetizas Mitzrayim and Interest that is the Egyptians worked us בפרך hence taking interest.
וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַיהוָה שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר
The Har Tzvi points out a inconsistency in our Parsha. When talking about Yovel all the Issurim are written in plural לא תורעו ולא תקחו .Then by Shmitah it speaks in singular. The answer is simple the Din of Yovel is Only when most Jews are in Israel the din of Shmitah is if even one Jew is there he must keep Shemita. Therefore the Posukim are exactly to this point.
וְקִדַּשְׁתֶּם, אֵת שְׁנַת הַחֲמִשִּׁים שָׁנָה, וּקְרָאתֶם דְּרוֹר בָּאָרֶץ, לְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ; יוֹבֵל הִוא, תִּהְיֶה לָכֶם, וְשַׁבְתֶּם אִישׁ אֶל-אֲחֻזָּתוֹ, וְאִישׁ אֶל-מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ תָּשֻׁבוּ
The Pnei Yeshouah asks what does it mean לְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ.It is only the slaves are going free? He answers based on a Gemara in Kiddushin. The Gemara says "whoever buys himself a Jewish slave Buys Himself a Master". This is Because Halacha says if there is one pillow in the house the servant gets it, and the servant must be served food of equal or greater quality then his master. Therefore now the Posuk is clear לְכָל even the masters of the slaves.
לֹא-תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם אֱלִילִם וּפֶסֶל וּמַצֵּבָה לֹא-תָקִימוּ לָכֶם וְאֶבֶן מַשְׂכִּית לֹא תִתְּנוּ בְּאַרְצְכֶם לְהִשְׁתַּחֲו‍ֹת עָלֶיהָ כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶת-שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ וּמִקְדָּשִׁי תִּירָאוּ
The Chasam Sofer asks if Hashem dislikes stone floors why did he command that the Beis Hamikdash be made with them and what is the connection to Shabbos? The answer is simple stone floors in the Beis Hamikdash are needed because of the blood of the Korbanos would muddy a sand floor. The connection to Shabbos is because on Shabbos you would need to clean it up. That would mean you would be Desecrating Shabbos it is this very reason that Hashem wants the stone floors. Therefore the Parsha ends talking about the stone floors and Shabbos.
 
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