THE KABBALAH OF TIME:
Kahane and Wainer explain that the calendar is the master key to unlock the hidden rationale behind the formal structure of ancient sacred texts, as well as to understand basic mystical concepts. When comprehended within the context of the Jewish calendar, these works reveal the spiritual energy of each week, serving as a practical guide for self-analysis and development.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Week 6 (Book 4a): Dealing with Difficult People
OF CHANNAH: 6 And her rival vexed her sore, to make her fret, because the LORD
had shut up her womb.
OF THOSE THAT STUDY TORAH FOR ITS OWN SAKE: Loves people
7 Cheshvan- Rav Yehuda Meir Shapiro of Lublin
Week 6 is
the second week of Cheshvan. The verse from the story of Channah continues to
reflect the story of our matriarch Rachel, whose yahrzeit is on the 11th of Cheshvan.
As mentioned in the previous week, G-d had not graced her with children. Yet
she watched how her own sister, who Jacob did not intend to marry, had one
child after the other.
Avot adjective associated to this week is again associated with love: “loves
people.” In Hebrew, it is written “Ohev et HaBri’ot,” which literally means
loves “the creatures.” This is a quality very much associated with Aharon
HaKohen, Moshe’s brother and the first High Priest. As Hillel states in the
first chapter of Pirkei Avot, “Hillel would say: Be of the disciples of
Aharon--a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, loves the creatures and draws
them close to Torah.” (emphasis added). Our sages explain that people are
referred her as creatures (or creations), because Aharon loved those people
that had no obvious positive qualities other than the fact that they were
created by G-d. In Cheshvan, when we are “out and about” in the world, we are
likely to encounter people that also do not appear to have any positive
qualities, yet we must love them and learn from them.
In the above
verse from the story of Channah, we see the difficult situation she was in.
Channah had to live with a rival, Peninah, that vexed her about the fact that
she had children while Channah did not. Such a situation required great “love
for people,” and the ability to judge others favorably. In fact, we are told
that Peninah’s motives were in fact positive ones – she wanted to enhance
Chapter 6 of
the Book of Proverbs encompasses many of the basic ideas of loving G-d’s
creatures. It speaks of how to behave when encountering strangers, and what to
look out for when faced with unscrupulous and violent men and evil and adulterous
women. The chapter also teaches us to learn lessons from other creations,
animals: the ant, the bird and the deer.
1. My son, if you have stood surety for
your fellow, have given your hand for a stranger, 2. you have been trapped by
the sayings of your mouth; you have been caught by the sayings of your mouth.
5. Save yourself like a deer from the
hand and like a bird from the hand of the snare. 6. Go to the ant, you
sluggard; see her ways and become wise,
12. An unscrupulous man, a man of
violence, walks with a crooked mouth;
13. he winks with his eyes, shuffles
with his feet, points with his fingers.
24. to guard you from an evil woman,
from the smoothness of the alien tongue.
25. Do not covet her beauty in your
heart, and do not let her captivate you with her eyelids.
we discuss another important rabbinical figure related to the Rizhin dynasty.
The 7th of Cheshvan is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Yehuda Meir Shapiro of Lublin,
known for institutionalizing the Daf Yomi cycle. Rav Shapiro was a devoutchassid
of Rabbi David Moshe Friedman, the Chortoker Rebbe, discussed in Week 4. Rav
Shapiro was the chief rabbi of Galina and Piotrkov, and author of the book Or
HaMeir. He is also well known as the founder of Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin, in
Shapiro faced tremendous challenges and difficulties in convincing the Jewish
leadership and the rest of the community at the time to institute the Daf Yomi cycle,
in part because of his young age. Today it is the hallmark of the vibrancy of
Talmudic scholarship worldwide.
mentioned in Week 4 was the Holy Yid of Peshischa. The 7th of Cheshvan is the yahrzeit
of not one, but two of his descendants, both of them rebbes in their own right:
Rabbi Nosson Dovid Rabinowitz of Shidlowitz, grandson of the Holy Yid, and Rav
Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowitz of Biala-Shedlitz.
It is also
important to mention the continuation of the line of Rav Menachem Mendel of
Kosov, founder of the Vizhnitz dynasty, also mentioned last week. The 9th of Cheshvan
is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Yidele Horowitz, the Dzikover Rebbe, who was raised by
his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Yisrael Hager, Rebbe of Vizhnitz:
known as a formidable scholar and a man of exceptional character, he shunned
the limelight and abhorred any reverence or treatment as a Rebbe. He lived a
very frugal life. Absolutely all the monies forwarded to him by admirers and
Chassidim were immediately distributed to orphans and widows.
this week include that of Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid (6th of Cheshvan), Rabbi
Shlomo Dovid Yehoshua Weinberg of Slonim son of Rabbi Avrohom, the Bais Avrohom
(6thof Cheshvan), and Rabbi Asher bar Yechiel, the Rosh.