Hamaayan / The Torah Spring
Edited by Shlomo Katz
Volume XVII, No. 2: Love versus Fear
6 Marcheshvan 5763
October 12, 2002
Mrs. Esther Liberman and family
in memory of husband and father Azriel Yaakov ben Aharon David a”h
Daf Yomi (Bavli): Sanhedrin 31
Daf Yomi (Yerushalmi): Shabbat 80
Introduction to Parashat Noach from Midrash Hagadol by R’ David ben Amram z”l (Aden; 14th cent.)
“With the permission of the One who resides in the awesome heavens – / He is Holy and Sanctified in the heavens and the earth, / He does kindness and justice and charity on earth. / He summons the waters and pours them upon the face of the earth [Amos 5:8], To make it known that there is a G-d Who judges upon the earth. / For the one [i.e., Noach] who walked straightforwardly before Him, He fulfilled [the verse (Yishayah 57:13), `The one who trusts in Me will have a portion in the world.’ / He called him [Noach], `The restorer of paths’ and the `repairer of the breach’ [see Yishayah 58:12]. / So may He fulfill [His word] in our day and grab onto the corners of the earth [to gather in the exiles], / For Your nation is entirely righteous, forever they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed is His Name, He Whose strength makes the world tremble, / Together, all His troops acknowledge Him and with their mouths speak of Him. / He chooses His people from among the seventy nations, / And He distinguishes us for His honor from those who wander in confusion. / He has given us that which lights up the eye [i.e., the Torah], a faith which gives pleasure, / He has made us so fortunate as to find salvation through it [the Torah], / As was written by the noble among the shepherds [i.e., King David, (Tehilim 1:1)], / `Fortunate is the man who has not walked in the path of the wicked’.”
“Noach walked with G-d.” (6:9)
The Aramaic translation Targum Onkelos comments: “Noach walked in [the path of] the fear of G-d.”
R’ Eliezer David Gruenwald z”l (1867-1928; prominent Hungarian rabbi) explains Onkelos’ statement: The gemara (Yoma 86a) interprets the verse in Shema (Devarim 6:5), “You shall love Hashem, your G-d,” to mean: “You shall cause G-d to be loved by others.” How is this implied in the verse? R’ Gruenwald explains by contrasting a person who serves G-d out of love with one who serves G-d out of fear.
One who serves G-d out of fear attempts to perfect himself so that he will not be punished. Then he asks himself, “Will I be punished if those around me do not serve G-d properly?” He concludes that he will not be punished, and he makes no effort to cause others to improve themselves.
On the other hand, one who serves G-d out of love is not content unless everyone loves G-d. Therefore, he tries hard to cause others to behave properly.
Chazal criticize Noach for not rebuking, or at least praying for, his generation. It seems that he was not concerned with whether they served Hashem properly. Why? Onkelos tells us: “Noach walked in [the path of] the fear of G-d.”
The midrash relates that Noach prayed (in the words of Tehilim 142:8): “Release my soul from confinement to acknowledge Your Name; on me, the righteous will be a crown, when You bestow kindness upon me.” R’ Chanoch Henach Dov of Alesk z”l (see biography below) explains:
Sometimes, when a person does not merit to reach a particular level or to experience a miracle, Hashem bestows a kindness upon him and joins the souls of tzaddikim to his soul so that he will have additional merits. This is what happened when Hashem wanted to extract Noach from the ark – He “crowned” Noach with the souls of other tzaddikim so that their collective merit would stand in good stead for Noach.
R’ Chanoch adds: This is alluded to by the phrase (Bereishit 8:4), “va’tanach ha’taivah” / “The ark came to rest.” The word “va’tanach” appears one other time in the Torah, in the verse (Bemidbar 11:26), “The spirit rested upon them.” Noach, too, had a new spirit rest upon him at the time he was rescued from the ark.
(Lev Sameach: Derech Ha’tefilah p. 45)
“They departed with them from Ur Kasdim to go to the land of Canaan; they arrived at Charan and they settled there.” (11:31)
R’ Moshe Yehoshua Hager shlita (the Vizhnitzer Rebbe in Bnei Brak) related: A chassid of R’ Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch (died 1772), devoted his entire life to strengthening Torah observance in his community. In his old age, he decided to retire in Eretz Yisrael and devote his last years to his own spiritual growth. Telling no one, lest his rebbe object, he sold all his belongings and, together with his wife, left town.
Arriving at the port of Istanbul, the last stop before Eretz Yisrael, he began to have second thoughts. “What if I cannot find like-minded Jews in Eretz Yisrael with whom to study?” “What if I end up having to find a job to stay alive?” Bothered by these thoughts, he wandered the streets of Istanbul. Suddenly, he met another Jew, and as they talked, they realized that they were both chassidim of R’ Ber. The second chassid said, “I still remember the last Torah lesson that I heard from our rebbe. It was Parashat Noach. R’ Ber asked, `If Avraham was on his way to Eretz Yisrael, why did he settle in Charan? Also, why was a command from Hashem [in next week’s parashah] necessary to get Avraham to finish his trip?’
“Our teacher, R’ Ber, answered: `Rashi teaches that Avraham and Sarah used to proselytize monotheism among their neighbors, and they were very successful at this. The yetzer hara could not stand this, so he said to Avraham, “Why don’t you settle in Eretz Yisrael?” Avraham listened, not realizing that it was the yezter hara giving him this advice. However, once Avraham had left home and could no longer influence his neighbors, the yetzer hara was satisfied, and the urge to go to Eretz Yisrael left Avraham; he settled in Charan. Therefore, Hashem came along and told Avraham to finish the trip. “This is My will as well,” Hashem told him’.”
The chassid who was on his way to the Holy Land realized that this was a message for him also, and he finished his trip. (Quoted in Otzrot Tzaddikei U’Geonei Ha’dorot)
“If someone is running [in a public place] and another person is walking there, and the one who is walking is injured by the one who is running, the latter is liable to pay damages, for he has no right to run [in a public place]. When is this true? On an ordinary weekday. However, on Erev Sabbat / Friday bein ha’shmashot / in the twilight, he is not liable for he has permission to run.”
(Shulchan Aruch: Choshen Mishpat 378:8)
The source of this halachah is Tractate Bava Kamma 32a-b, which states: “What is the nature of the permission that he has? This follows the teaching of Rabbi Chaninah, who said, `Come! Let us go out toward the bride, the queen [i.e., Shabbat]’.” The gemara concludes that the sage Rabbi Yanai used to wrap himself in his cloak and walk out, saying, “Bo’ee kallah! Bo’ee kallah!” / “Enter, O’ bride! Enter O’ bride!”
There appears to be a disagreement among poskim / halachic authorities in what circumstances a person who is running on Friday afternoon or evening is exempt from paying for damage that he causes:
R’ Moshe Isserless z”l (“Rema”; 1525-1572) states that we presume that a person who is running is doing so to prepare for Shabbat. However, if we know that he is taking care of his personal business at that time, he is liable for damages that he causes.
R’ Yehoshua Falk Katz z”l (Sefer Me’irat Enayim or “Sema”; died 1614) quotes Rambam who states that one is permitted to run so that he will not be busy when Shabbat arrives. This implies, writes Sema, that even if one is running to finish up his own work before Shabbat, he still is not liable.
R’ Meshulam David Soloveitchik shlita (the Brisker Rosh Yeshiva in Yerushalayim) suggests that there is no disagreement; rather Rema and Rambam are addressing two separate time slots. Specifically, Rema’s halachah applies all of Friday afternoon, the time when the most intense Shabbat preparations take place. During that time, one who is running in connection with Shabbat preparations is not liable for damage that he causes, whereas one who is taking care of his own business is liable. However, Rambam is speaking of late on Friday afternoon, near twilight, when people are usually preparing themselves for Shabbat. (This is implied by Rambam’s language: “so that he will not be busy when Shabbat arrives.”) At that time, even one who is running to finish up his personal business is not liable, for that is part of his personal Shabbat preparation. This is because proper Shabbat preparations require that one be finished in sufficient time that he can sit, dressed in his Shabbat attire and with a proper, serious frame of mind, waiting for the Shabbat Queen to arrive.
(Me’orai Ha’moadim Vol. II, p.4)
R’ Chanoch Henach Dov was born in 1800. At age seven, he visited the “Chozeh” of Lublin, who predicted a great future for the lad. For his part, R’ Chanoch said that he kept the visage of the Chozeh in his mind’s eye for the remainder of his life and was inspired by it.
R’ Chanoch married Frieda Rokeach, daughter of the first Belzer Rebbe, R’ Shalom. R’ Chanoch testified that he and his father-in- law stayed awake together studying for more than 3,000 nights. Frieda engaged in the rag trade to support her husband’s Torah study. Once, she visited R’ Yisrael of Ruzhin, one of the leading chassidic rebbes of the day, and he said to her: “You are worthy of being a rebbe in your own right, and you are selling rags!?”
Following the death of R’ Berish Flam, R’ Chanoch was elected rabbi of Alesk. There, he began conducting himself as a chassidic rebbe, and many stories are told of the miracles he performed. Some of the leading rebbes of the next generation were influenced by him including R” Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam of Shiniva and R’ Chananiah Yom Tov Lipa Teitelbaum of Sighet.
R’ Chanoch passed away on 1 Elul 5644 / 1884. It is said that he knew that his end was near when he did not have the strength to serve as mohel and sandek simultaneously, as was his custom. He left behind a number of works, a number of them entitled Lev Sameach. One of these is on the subject of prayer, a form of Divine service in which R’ Chanoch was known to have excelled. (Source: Encyclopedia L’chachmei Galicia p. 862)
Copyright © 2002 by Shlomo Katz and Project Genesis, Inc.
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