Friday, October 8, 2010

Fw: [Bostoner Torah Insights] Bostoner Torah Insights Parshas Noach – Rosh Chodesh – 1 MarCheshvan 5771

Bostoner Torah Insights 

Parshas Noach – Rosh Chodesh – 1 MarCheshvan 5771

Bostoner Rebbe shlit"a - Yerushalayim

Secretariat E–mail:


  A common feature of the first two Torah readings describes the generations that preceded Avrohom Aveinu. Parshas Bereishis records the generations from Adam until Noach, while Parshas Noach lists the generations from Noach until Avrohom. Certainly, the ancestry of Noach and Avrohom are noteworthy, but what is the significance of recording the number of years between each generation?

   Pirkei Ovos 5:2 explains that there were ten generations between Adam and Noach in order to demonstrate Hashem's characteristic of patience, waiting for each generation to repent. The following Mishnah brings the same rationale for the ten generations between Noach and Avrohom. What additional lesson emanates from the latter generations that was not understood by the former generations?

   Perhaps the kindness of Hashem is not only his patience in regard to the length of 'time', but also with respect to each generation of 'people'. After displaying centuries of tolerance towards the first generations, Hashem could have punished the later generations immediately, claiming they should have learned from the calamity that befell the first generations. Instead, Hashem renews his patience with each successive set of generations, extending to them the same courtesy as their ancestors.

   One difference between the generations listed in Bereishis and those enumerated in Noach is the presentation of the chronology. From Adam until Noach, each generation contains a third concluding Posuk, which calculates the years of their life presented in the previous two P'sukim and states their age at death. However, the generations from Noach until Avrohom have only two P'sukim each: the first Posuk states the age at which they became a father; the second states the years they lived after becoming a parent. Each generation concludes with the 'continuity of life' and no direct mention of death.

   The Bostoner Rebbe zt"l explained that the reason the generations in Parshas Noach conclude in a positive fashion, without recording the age of death, is because the successive generation internalized the teachings of their parents and perpetuated the legacy of their parents and grandparents even after death. However, in the generations between Adam and Noach, the children deviated from the ways of their parents after they departed.

   The exception was Noach, who clung to his grandfather, the righteous Mesushelach, who in turn had received his Mesorah [tradition] directly from Adam HaRishon. The only hope for the continuity of a living, thriving Klal Yisroel is for each successive generation to be an honorable link in the chain. To faithfully internalize and transmit the Torah and Middos [character traits] of the previous generation to the subsequent generation.

   Perhaps this was why the punishment of the Dor HaMabul [Generation of the Great Flood] was much harsher than the Dor HaFlogoh [Generation of the Great Dispersion]. The generations before Noach had to be annihilated completely, whereas the generations after Noach were allowed to live, but were exiled and dispersed throughout the world.

   In subsequent weeks throughout Sefer Bereishis, we will study how the Ovos and Imahos continued this trend of spiritual elevation from previous generations by refining themselves through the separation of evil from within their midst. Avrohom first separated himself from his land, birthplace and family in Parshas Lech Lecha. Avrohom and Sorah then separated Yitzchok from the negative influence of Yishmoel, while Yitzchok and Rivka separated Yaakov from the evil Esav.

   Maseh Avos Siman L'Bonim. The actions of the Fathers (and Mothers) are an omen for their Sons (and Daughters). May we continue to internalize and transmit Torah, Avodah and Maasim Tovim to our children, while filtering out the negative impurities that have seeped their way into Klal Yisroel, with the ultimate goal of cleansing mankind to its pristine form and meriting the coming of the Geulah Shlayma speedily in our days

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from a friend of mine

I am putting together a book about Gerim and plan to include stories of Gerim who became Chassidim and those who were inspired by Chassidic teachings.

Please contact me if you are interested to have your story included. I am particularly interested to include stories about how Gerim first discovered Yiddishkeit, overcame obstacles during the geirus process, and what attracted them to Chasssidic teachings.

Please contact:
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022 / eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list here:
Noam Elimelech, Kedushas Levi, Pirkei Avos more!
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yahrzeit of R Levi Yitchak of Berditchev Kedushas Levi

Another version of this tale is found in the Slonimer Collection Kisvay Rav
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

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022 / eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list here:
Noam Elimelech, Kedushas Levi, Pirkei Avos more!
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Author Page

Yahrzeit of R Levi Yitchak of Berditchev Kedushas Levi

Today, the 25th of Tishrei (Sunday October 3, 2010) is 201th yahrzeit or
yorzeit of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (1740-1810)

Two Stories, One Tradition?

There were two widows that were chained as agunahs during the time of Rav
Levi Yitzchok of Barditchov. There was no conclusiive evidence of their
husband's passing and so they could not remarry. When the Berditchever Rav
found a way to permit them to remarry he received a rebuke from the eminent
sage Rav Ephraim Zalman Margolias of Broydie who said "Although you may see
using ruach hakodesh that these women can remarry you certainly cannot use
it to rule on a halachic matter!"

"But I did not use ruach hakodesh, I used a logical argument!" protested Rav
Levi Yitzchak, he then presented the complex halachic argument which he had
used to arrive at his ruling. As the two prominent rabbonim and Torah
scholars jousted and dueled using arrays of complex Talmudic logic building
and destroying eachother's edifices of arguments finally Rav Margolias
acceded to the Berditchever's use of logic although he still argued at his
arrived decision.

When they had concluded Rav Levi Yitzchak brought both of the deceased
husband's souls back to reveal themselves before Rav Margolias. One of the
souls was silent, however the other cried out saying "How can you let our
wives remarry?!" So saying he began to build his own halachic argument
against the permit, citings numerous sources to back up his claims. Rav
Margolias had known the deceased, and during his lifetime he was not a Torah
scholar, "If during your lifetime you were not a Torah scholar," he asked
the soul, "how did you become so learned now after your passing?"

"When I died, it was al kiddush Hashem, in sanctification of G-d's Divine
Name. Now the gates of Kiddush Hashem and the Heichal HaTorah - adjoin
eachother and when they brought my soul up through there I gained all this
knowledge," the soul explained.

"Why is the other one silent?" Rav Margolios asked. "When we were both
killed, I had in mind that I was giving my life to sanctify G-d's name, my
friend however although he too had that in mind, also had an ulterior motive
thinking that perhaps now that he would be famous as someone who died al
kiddush Hashem, perhaps his orphans would have an easier time with
shidduchim for marriage. Therefore he was punished with one years silence."

(Based on Gut Voch p 173-174)

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022 / eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list here:
Author Page