Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Passing Of A Gadol

Recently the great Gaon Rav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein was niftar. What made the loss especially painful was that he was never zocheh to have children. 

He was a close talmid of Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, Rav Yitzchak Hutner and Rav Yechezkel Sarna among others. He wrote some very important sefarim both on Shas and on Chumash. He went to America in 1979 for fertility treatments. He was there for about a year and a half [I believe]. What did he do when he was there? He prepared the shiurim of Rav Chaim for publication and thanks to him we have the UNBELIEVABLE "Shaarei Chaim" on Kiddushin and Gittin [if you haven't learned it then you haven't truly experienced the pleasures of olam hazeh. Ksubos has since been published as well].

I heard in one of the hespedim that when he was married in 1970, Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz spoke and said that he hasn't seen such a mevakesh in 40 years. [And who was the previous mevakesh 40 years ago? HaGaon Rav Leib Mallin ztz"l] 

It is interesting: Rashi in his commentary to Avos [1,1] says that Moshe gave the Torah to Yehoshua and not to Elazar [the son of Aharon] or Pinchas or the 70 elders who prophecied because ....

.... שלא רצה למוסרה אלא למי שהיה ממית עצמו מנעוריו באהלי החכמה וקנה שם טוב בעולם וזהו יהושע שנאמר "יהושע בן נון נער לא ימיש מתוך האהל" ואעפ"י שכתוב על פינחס תורת אמת היתה בפיהו עכ"ל. 

He KILLED himself in the tent of Torah from his youth and had a good name as it says "Yehoshua bin Nun the lad did not leave the tent of Torah" etc. 

Now Yehoshua was 56 at the time he was called a lad [Ibn Ezra Shmos 33/11] yet he still had the quality of a young person, constantly striving for more.

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz has a famous shmooz [about to become more famous] where he talks about the importance of being a mevakesh. He proves that Yehoshua was originally very "low ranked" among the Talmidei Chachomim of the generation but thanks to his never ending toil and thirst for Torah he became so great. Rav Shmuel Yaakov was a TREMENDOUS mevakesh

 A talmid once came to him to share his problems. Rav Shmuel Yaakov said "look, my relatives have beautiful families and I am childless. They have health and I am sickly. But I have the sefarim I wrote. You have to be happy with what you have". And he in fact was a person who was מלא שמחה - FILLED with joy.  

We should follow in his ways.....

Here is a piece of his Torah. After you read this you will want to hear so much more from the niftar ztz"l. He explains the gemara that says that in the second luchos it says the word טוב [in the pasuk למען ייטב לך]. This teaches us that it lasts [because what is טוב lasts] and that shows that the second luchos never shattered [in the first luchos it didn't say טוב and they were shattered]. But why is this lesson taught specifically in the דיברה of כיבוד אב ואם?: