Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Bostoner on Names

What's in a name? Alot according to Chazal.

The Bostoner Rebbe shlit"a of RBSA was speaking during kiddush about names. The Rebbe said that we give Jewish names to create a Jewish identity for our children. Even names that have non-Jewish origins once they were adopted by the Jewish people and became "Jewish" names serve the same purpose.

This is why the Midrash teaches us that the Jews while in exile in Egypt known as Galus Mitzrayim where redeemed in the merit of the fact that they did not change their names, the style of clothing and their language.

These 3 factors are of prime importance because they create an "identity" in this case a Jewish one. The Egyptian exile is the only exile we faced before Matan Torah, before we recieved the Torah at Mt Sinai. Throughout each other exile we survived with our holy Torah protecting and guiding us. Egypt was different we had no yet recieved the Torah how did we survive that exile?

Jewish identity; created by a distinction of dressing differently, speaking differently and being called by different names.

Whats in a name? identity.

The Bostoner on Earthquakes

The earthquake here in eretz yisroel was felt sometime after midnight. In the morning one chossid jokingly said it was Hashem rocking us in bed like a mother rocking her child in a cradle.
During Shalosh Seudos the Rebbe shlit"a said that after feeling the earthquake in the middle of the night he was pondering the meaning of trembling and awe and fear of G-d what we call in lashon hakodesh, Yiras Shamayim with retes, ziya and ra'ada.
The Rebbe gave a mashal using the parable of a tuning fork, where once hit the fork resonates a tone. One tine of the fork is hit however the companion tine shkes as well. Scientifically this is due to sound waves which are oberservable phenomonen in water. If I throw a pebble into water the water waves ripple and I can see the movement. This is tru in air as well but our eyes cannot observe it.
The Rebbe explained that what is true in the physical world holds true spiritually as well. If my neighbor quakes and shakes the message is that I must be shaking and trembling as well. Sometimes Hashem's message is that we have to unite and feel eachother's pain and fear. Perhaps this is one of the lessons of yiras shamayim.