Weekly Cycle

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 40 (Book 4): Getting to the Root of the Matter, the Torah

STORY OF CHANNAH: 12 Now the sons of Eli were base men; they knew not the LORD.     

PIRKEI AVOT ON G-D’S ACQUISITIONS: G-d acquired five acquisitions in his world. These are: one acquisition is the Torah… The Torah, as it is written (Proverbs 8:22), "G-d acquired me as the beginning of His way, before His works of yore."


TZADIKKIM: Rabbi Menachem-Mendel ("Reb Mendel") Futerfas (4th of Tammuz), Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter (the “Lev Simcha,” Fifth Rebbe of Ger, 7th of Tammuz), and Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Halberstam (the Klausenberger Rebbe, 9th of Tammuz)      

Week 40 is the second week of Tammuz. The verse from the story of Channah speaks of how the sons of Eli were base men who did not know G-d. The primary way of knowing G-d is through the Torah, and the behavior of Eli’s sons shows a real deficit in this area. Their lack of connection and respect for the Torah was their ultimate downfall.

The quotation from Pirkei Avot is about how the Torah is the first of G-d’s acquisitions. In line with the above, we see that the way of Hashem begins with the Torah: "G-d acquired me as the beginning of His way…”

Chapter 9 of Ecclesiastes contains the same concept: everything is dependent on wisdom and righteousness (in other words, on Torah):

1. For all this I laid to my heart and to clarify all this, that the righteous and the wise and their works are in God's hand; even love, even hate, man does not know; everything is before them.

This week contains the yahrzeits of three relatively recent figures in Chassidic world: Rabbi Menachem-Mendel ("Reb Mendel") Futerfas (4th of Tammuz, 1995), Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter (the “Lev Simcha,” Fifth Rebbe of Ger, 7th of Tammuz, 1992), and Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Halberstam (the Klausenberger Rebbe, 9th of Tammuz, 1994)

From Ascent.org

Rabbi Menachem-Mendel ("Reb Mendel") Futerfas (1906 - 4 Tammuz 1995), was a near legendary Lubavitcher chasid, even for those who knew him personally. In 1947 he was arrested for administrating networks of underground yeshivas and Jewish schools, and for facilitating the repatriation of thousands of Soviet Jews to Poland after WWII, and sentenced to 8 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, which he went through without compromising any religious observances, despite the cruel pressure to do so. After another six years in Siberian exile he was allowed to emigrate to England, thanks to an appeal for family repatriation made by prime minister Harold Wilson during his summit meeting in Moscow with Chairman Nikita Khrushchev. In 1973 settled in Kfar Chabad, Israel, for the rest of his life.

From Matzav.com:

Rav Simcha Bunim Alter zt”l, also known as the Lev Simcha after the works he authored, was the fifth Rebbe of Ger, a position he held from 1977 until 1992.

The Alter mishpacha managed to escape from Poland during the Holocaust to Eretz Yisroel. Prior to becoming Rebbe of Ger, Rav Simcha Bunim Alter was supposedly extremely successful as a businessman, although it is not known what line of business he was in. During the time of his leadership, Ger grew greatly in Eretz Yisroel. He continued the family tradition of vigorous leadership of the Agudas Yisroel party in the Knesset.Rav Simcha Bunim instituted the daily learning of a page of Talmud Yerushalami.

From Ascent.org

Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Halberstam [1904-9 Tammuz 1994] the Klausenberger Rebbe, also became the post-war Rebbe of the Sanz Chassidim. One of the foremost Chasidic leaders of his generation, he is best known for his revitalization of the study of Talmud through "Mifal Shas" and the building of a hospital, Laniado in Netanya, that functions at the highest standards of Jewish law and medical practice.

Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Pinchas HaLevi Horowitz (brother of Rabbi Shmuel "Shmelke" of Nicholsburg, teacher of the Chattam Sofer, 7th of Tammuz) and Rabbi Boruch Frankel-Tumim (father-in-law of R' Chaim of Sanz, 7th of Tammuz).

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