Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Pesach

Something Great and Awesome

By Rabbi Label Lam

There is a story about Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaria, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Tarfon who assembled in Bnei Brak. They were so absorbed in telling the story of the exodus from Egypt that the entire night passed when their students came over and said to them; “Our masters, it is time to recite the morning SHEMA!” (Haggada)

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day. (Malachi 3:23) (Haftora for Shabbos HaGadol)

Here we have the last words of the last historical prophet pointing the final day of history and declaring that it is “great” and “awesome” and the “the day of HASHEM”. Rabbi Aaron Kotler ztl asked about this description offered by the prophet Malachi, “What’s so great and awesome about that final day?”

What can be more awesome than, for example the Days of Awe, Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur when determinations about life and death and livelihood lie in the balance? What can be more frightening than the unavoidable life review we all must eventually face when our entire lives are before HASHEM and His ultimate throne of justice?

Answers Reb Aaron that let’s say there’s a person named Rashi who was born in 1040 and passed on in 1105, almost thousand years ago, and in his less than seventy years on this earth he built a wine business, learned Torah, taught Torah raised a couple of daughters. Every year on the High Holy Days like so many others he prayed with fervent hope for his own personal wellbeing and the success of the Jewish People. After his time was up his soul ascended to the Heavens and there he gave a detailed account of his honesty in business and as to what kind of husband, father, neighbor, friend, and servant of HASHEM he had been.

What’s more awesome than that?! King Solomon says in Mishlei, “Pri Tzadik Eitz Chaim- The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life”. Realizing that he has a limited time to live and act on earth, Rashi had the foresight, the wisdom, the mazal to marry his daughters to extraordinary Talmud Scholars, the Baale’ Tosfos, and they made a career scrutinizing the notebook of commentaries their father in-law Rashi had carefully scripted on the entire Talmud and Tanach. For the next one thousand years every person who has learned Torah properly and observed Mitzvos with precision has done so with Rashi’s help. It’s as if Rashi is still teaching. He is more alive today than ever.

When the final buzzer of history rings on the last day the tally of Mitzvos and Torah learning credited to that one man based upon the cumulative impact of his life over the many generations adds up to something so incalculable so as to be titled “great and awesome”.

On the flip side there was a person name Marx, Karl Marx. He wrote a bible of his own, a manifesto that gave license to Lenin and Stalin and Mao to eradicate what he called the “opiate of the masses”. They spread out an iron curtain and a wet blanket that snuffed the light of religiosity out of a quarter of humanity for almost a century, including millions of Jews who were left stripped of thousands of years of tradition. We cannot fathom the ever widening angle of darkness that continues to expand from this fallacious theory over time. The negative result is frighteningly “great and awesome”.

The secret is that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azaria, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Tarfon were so enthused at the Seder, talking about the Exodus from Egypt that the wake from their influence is kept alive till the dawn of history when their students, of all time, come to remind them of something great and awesome.


DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Great In His Own Times
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein - 5768

Generation to Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

People In Stone Houses Shouldn
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

ArtScroll

New Stage, Old Actors
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Leave They Must
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

A Sobering Lesson
- 5768

> Three Philosophies at Bavel
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Send The Guinea Pig!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

A Wasted Tragedy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

New Beginnings
Shlomo Katz - 5762

The Ideal Way of Life
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Go the Distance!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The World is a Symphony
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

The Sign of the Olive
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Noach
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Language Barrier
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information