Friday, March 28, 2014
Week 26 (Book 4a): The Big Picture
Week 26 is the week of Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Nissan is the “head” of all the months, and is related to the Tribe of Judah, which stands for kingship. In the verse of the story of Channah for this week, she makes a request to Eli the Kohen Gadol. It is unclear from the text what the request is. Rashi clarifies this by interpreting as follows: “Please, my lord - Take care of him that he become your disciple. And according to the Midrash of our sages, not to punish him with death.” As noted regarding the previous verse in Channah’s story, for Week 25, Shmuel had shown great insight, yet in so doing was guilty of making a ruling in front of his master, which is punishable by death. This mistake was particularly grievous given Eli’s status as the Judge, and head of the entire Jewish people. Channah asks Eli to help Shmuel to connect to him and, alternatively, forgive the boy for his mistake.
This week’s Pirkei Avot quality is that he becomes “an unceasing river.” Shmuel’s insight into a certain area of Jewish law is related to the aspect of scholarship connected to “an ever-increasing wellspring” (an ability to discover “new” rulings by concentrating on selected areas of the text). However, Shmuel still needed to obtain a second aspect, that of an unceasing river, someone with comprehensive knowledge of the entire Torah. Channah was therefore asking Eli to take Shmuel as a disciple to teach him this aspect as well.
Chapter 26 of the Book of Proverbs is primarily about the actions of fools. It also mentions those that are lazy, quarrelsome, deceptive, and wicked. A general theme of the chapter, related to the above, is that it describes actions that could potentially be deemed righteous, in and of themselves. However, given the context (eg. giving honor to fools or being fearful of potential danger, just as an excuse not to get out of bed), they are quite ridiculous. One must have a comprehensive outlook in order to be able to act properly.
This week contains the yahrzeits of Rav Yitzchak Abuchatzera (the “Baba Chaki,” 25th of Adar) and Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz (the “Tiferes Shlomo,” founding Rebbe of Radomsk, 29th of Adar).
The Baba Chaki was the brother of the Baba Sali. Like his brother, he was known for his great holiness and saintly conduct. Also like his brother, he moved from Morocco to Israel, and became the chief rabbi of Ramla-Lod.
Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz was known as the Tiferes Shelomo due to his authorship of a Chassidic masterpiece under this name. He founded the Radomsk dynasty in 1843. When Rabbi Moshe Biderman of Lelov made aliyah in 1850, he instructed his followers to become Chassidim of the Tiferes Shelomo. The Radomsk court then grew significantly, with thousands upon thousands of followers. Along with his tremendous Torah scholarship and speaking ability, the Radomsker Rebbe was also known for his beautiful voice and his composition of new nigunim (melodies).
Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Visiva son of Rabbi Yisroel Hager of Vizhnitz (25th of Adar) and Rabbi Elimelech of Grodzensk (author of Divrei Elimelech and Imrei Elimelech, father of the Piazeczna Rebbe, 1st of Nissan)
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