Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Power of a Jewish Soul - Rabbi Yisroel of Ruzhin Yahrzeit 3 Cheshvan

Related to Mishna Avos 6:9

 "If you gave me all the silver and gold and precious stones and pearls in the world I would not dwell except in a place of Torah."

The Power of a Jewish Soul ; A Precious Stone

Today Gimmel (3rd) of MarCheshvan is the holy Rav Yisrael of Rizhin's yorzeit.
"You are attired with light as a garment." Tehillim 104:2
The first Rizhiner Rebbe, Rav Yisroel of Ruzhin comments that this verse teaches us a deep concept. 
Every Jewish soul is a holy spark which there is none like it in the world even within the Tzadik. However his light is hidden. The parable is that: He is a diamond in the rough.

When a person first discovers a diamond in it's natural setting of rock and stone it looks like little more than a dark stone. It is dirty and doesn't shine from it's place nested in the wall of the mine. First it has to be chipped away and removed from the wall. Even then it looks nothing like a diamond. Then it must be scrubbed and cleaned. Even then it bears no resemblance. One must have it cut & polished and then when it is set in the proper setting of gold or silver it glows and its beauty and splendor truly shines.
This is the meaning of "You are attired with light as a garment." Tehillim 104:2 Hashem attires Himself with your own light as a garment.
It depends on just how a person treats his personal light, what does he do with his soul,
with his own diamond in the rough?
This is the secret of the verse in Shemos 10:23 All the Jewish people had light in their dwellings. "All the Jewish people have light," the only difference is "in their dwellings." Each setting can differentiate our light, if our diamond is polished and set in its proper setting it shines!
(Knesses Yisroel p6-7)
Might I add myself:
A Jewish person may be a diamond in the rough, they can be in a state where they are lowly and suffering, their life is dark and bleak.
Even in the darkest times a Jew must remember that he has a lofty soul, a diamond that can be cleaned and polished through Torah study and mitzvah observance.
Then his soul will truly shine with an otherworldly brilliance.
Related to Mishna Avos 2:13 "A Good Heart."
A Heart of Stone or Iron
A story:
Once Rav Yisroel of Rizhin visited Lemberg to receive the aid of some of the doctors for an ailment that he had. While he was there he went to meet Rav Yaakov Orenstein the Yeshuas Yaakov who was the Rav of the city. The Yeshuos Yaakov was no great lover of Chassidim and Rebbes however The Rizhiner was by then a famous and well known Rebbe whose chassidim numbered in the thousands. He expected that the Rebbe would speak to him in Torah learning and discuss some chidush a novel thought, interpretation or some question in Talmudic logic. However the Yeshuos Ya'akov was greatly astonished at what Rav Yisrael asked him:
"What are the rooftops of the city made of?" "Iron bands," answered the Yeshuos Yaakov. The Ruzhiner asked further: "Why are they made of iron bands?" "I suppose that is done to protect us from the threat of fire since they are inflammable," explained Rav Orenstein growing more bewildered with each question. "But if that is the reason, could they not have used bricks?" So saying the Rizhiner thanked him and left.
The Gaon the Yeshous Ya'akov could barely contain his mirth, this was the great Rizhiner? This was the conversation of a Rebbe that had so much fame and so many chassidic followers? The Rav of Lemberg could not believe it.
Rav Meir of Premishlan also heard about the Rizhiner's upcoming visit to Lemberg. He travelled there to see him, yet unfortunately he did not succeed, for when he arrived the Rizhiner had already left. Rav Meir of Premishlan began to ask around to find out what the Rizhiner had said and done while on his visit. When he heard about the episode between Rav Yisrael and Rav Orenstein the local Rav of Lemberg the author of the Yeshous Yaakov he said: "A pity that the Yeshuos Yaakov did not grasp what the Rizhiner said! He spoke great words of wisdom and he meant that: Just as the roof covers and protects the house, so must the local Rav of the city protect the entire city! The Rav must have a broken heart like bricks which can easily be broken, and not a heart of iron. In essence he was asking him why does he have a hard anger like iron?!"
(Knesses Yisroel p5-6)
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
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