Yoshe of Brisk:
The Berditchever once gave a permit to two agunas to remarry. When Rav
Raphael Hamburger heard he disagreed with this ruling, he did not like the
Talmudic logic behind the ruling so he understood that this ruling was only
a supportive measure and the Berditchever must have permitted them to
remarry based on his having seen that their husbands passed away through
ruach hakodesh. Therefore in order to permit them to remarry he could not
rule on a halachic matter using ruach hakodesh, so he worked up a halachic
basis as a support for his ruling.
One time both rabbis met at one of the local trade fairs as was customary at
those times. Rav Raphael challenged Rav Levi Yitzchak how he could have
permitted the agunas to remarry? "If you wish." answered the Berditchever, I
will show you the deceased." The souls of the deceased husbands appeared
before them. Immediately one of the souls began to argue using complex
Talmudic logic that the correct ruling in halacha is that their wives are
forbidden from remarrying. The second soul just stood there in silence.
The Berditchever asked the soul, "how do you know how to learn so well that
you can support yourself with such complex logic and halachic arguments?"
The soul answered him "Whoever was threatened with death or conversion and
chose to die rather than convert and was killed he sanctifies the Divine
Name and is called holy. Now whoever dies like that al kiddush Hashem his
soul is depsoited with the angel known as the Sar HaTorah - the prince of
Torah and this is how I now know how to learn. "
"And why is it that your friend is silent?" Asked Rav Raphael. "I was killed
first," answered the soul, "and when my friend witnessed my martyrdom the
thought came to his mind that when he too will be martyred and killed in
sanctification of G-d's name this will be favor to his orphaned children
since they will be known as the children of a holy martyr. This impure
ulterior motive he allowed to be implanted by the evil inclination in his
head and so when he died they decreed upon him one year of silence to atone
for this thought."
When the Rav further questioned him as to why this soul was so adamant to
prevent them from remarrying he said that it would be a favor to the
deceased that they not wed and remarry again.
(Based on Kisvei Rav Yoshe #30 p129-130)
Which sage did the Berditchever argue with?
Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (1740-1810) author of Kedushas Levi
Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis (1762 - 1828), author of Beis Ephraim and Yad
Rav Rafael Hamburger (1724-1804) author of Toras Yekusiel and VeShav Kohen
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
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