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A Royal Residue

Rabbi Yehoshua Alt

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the Sefer, Fascinating Insights: Torah Perspectives On Unique Topics. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

A Royal Residue

In 1924, at the laying of the cornerstone of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, R’ Meir Shapiro said, “Our great Rebbes of Chachmei Lublin—the Maharshal, R’ Shalom Shachna,[1] Maharsha, Maharam Lublin[2]…You Gedolei Hador spread Torah here in Lublin before me. It is your light and power that gave me inspiration to establish a Yeshiva that will continue the light of the Torah that you transplanted in Lublin. I invite you to come and be part of our cornerstone laying. I am sure that in your merit and in the merit of your Torah we will be successful.” Then he commented קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבוא:[3] The Kedusha from the great Achronim whose Torah we learn to this day, that Kedusha remains.

 

Rashi[4] says יציאת צדיק מן המקום עושה רושם, the departure of a Tzadik from a place makes an impression.  R’ Menachem Mendel of Kassov[5] remarks that even after the Tzadik leaves, an impression of Kedusha remains, which is recognizable that in that place, a Tzadik was there.

 

R’ Tzvi Hirsch Chayus, known as the Maharatz Chayus[6] (1805-1855), once had the great Tzadik, R’ Zelig Shrintzker, as a guest.  After the Friday night davening, R’ Zelig was walking to the house of the Maharatz Chayus when at a certain corner he suddenly rested. He then commented, “It smells like Gan Eden here.” Puzzled, the Maharatz Chayus called the elders of the city to find out what occurred at this corner. He was told that it was at this corner where R’ Avraham Gombiner wrote his famous commentary called Magen Avraham (on the Orach Chaim section of Shulchan Aruch).

 

The reverse is also true. R’ Baruch Mezbitzer was once in a house and wanted to say some words of Torah but was unable to. He then commented that there must have been a Rasha who once lived there. In this way he explained דרוש נוי ואולמי:[7] seek out (דרוש) who was in this dwelling (נוי) and then you will know why you are an אלם, mute (ואולמי), meaning that you are unable to say words of Torah.[8]



[1] He lived from 1490 until 1558. He was the Rebbe and father-in-law of R’ Moshe Isserles, known as the Rema. In 1515, he established the Yeshiva in Lublin, which became a center of learning of both Gemara and Kabbalah.

[2] The Maharam Lublin (1558-1616) studied Torah in his youth with the Rosh Yeshiva of Krakow, R’ Yitzchak Hakohen Shapira, who later became his father-in-law. He was a Rosh Yeshiva, Rav and Av Beis Din in Lublin in addition to being a Dayan and head of the Yeshiva in Krakow (1587-1595) and Rav in Lemberg (c. 1595-1613). He had many students, including individuals who became great Torah figures in their own right, such as the Shelah and the Megale Amukos.

[3] Megila 10a. The simple meaning of this is that the initial sanctification of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash sanctified for its time and for all future time, meaning that the sacred status is retained even after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and the walls.

[4] Breishis 28:10.

[5] Mayana Shel Torah, Breishis 28:10.

[6] He was an only son, and his father, who was wealthy and educated, taught him the ways of Torah and wisdom. In addition to his traditional Talmudic education, he was educated in modern and classical languages and literature, as well as geography, history and philosophy. By the age of 11 he was studying with the greatest rabbis of his generation. At the age of 22 he received semicha from R’ Efraim Zalman Margolis. When R’ Tzvi Hirsch became the Rav of Zolkiew, there were 17 communities under his jurisdiction. He published his Sefarim from the age of 29 to 43, which include Toras HaNeviim (where he shows that Hashem’s Torah is perfect, eternal, and immutable), Ateres Tzvi, Mishpat HaHora’ah, Tiferes L’Moshe and Darchei Moshe. He also wrote the Responsum of the Maharatz, and in his answers we see that he was in contact with the greatest of his generation, such as the Chassam Sofer and R’ Shlomo Kluger. In 1852, he was appointed as Rabbi of the large city of Kalish, during which time he suffered greatly from the Russian authorities.

[7] In the Zemer of Shabbos day Dror Yikra. The simple meaning of this is, “Seek out my Temple and my Sanctuary.”

[8] In a similar vein, we can explain ובמושב לצים לא ישב, didn’t sit in the session of scorners (Tehillim 1:1). That is to say, in a place where scorners once were. This can be compared to a disease that has gone away but the germs remain there.

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