By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
Rab Gedalia Schorr, was called America’s first Gadol, by Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l. He was a student of Rav Dovid Leibowtz zt”l in Yeshiva Torah VaDaas. When Rav Shlomo Heiman took ill, he asked that Rav Gedlaiha give shiur in his stead. Rav Gedaliah went to learn in Kletzk under Rav Aharon Kotler and later became the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah VaDaas in 1958 after the passing of Rav Reuvain Grozovsky zt”l. He loved and knew every talmid like a father to a son. The following are eleven thoughts and sayings of his.
- The Midrash (BR 8:10) tells us that the Malachim erroneously thought that Adam Harishon was HaKadosh Boruch Hu and wished to say Shira and Kadosh before him. How could this be? The answer is that Adam was created b’tzelem elokim and his neshama is a chailek elokah mimaal. This is our potential!
- The concepts of mere resolve and stick-to-it-ism contain tremendous powers of growth. Rav Gedaliah Schorr once said: Yaakov Avinu, even while he was in Galus arose from one madreigah to another. The galus did not affect him negatively at all. His growth was such that the parsha concludes ‘vayifgeu bo malachei hasharais – the angels themselves met with him. The term pagah refers to the notion of chidush – containing an element of shock. The malachim were shocked both of this tremendous growth as well as to the fact that it happened in the house of Lavan. How did it happen? Because he did not deviate one iota from his Avodas Hashem – this resolve was what caused his growth – such growth that even the Malachim himself were in awe. Ohr Gedalyahu Parshas Vayetzai p.98
- Part of the Mitzvah of being mesamayach a chosson and kallah is bringing them gifts as the Rambam explains in hilchos Avel 14:1. In the sheva brachos we say about Hashem, mesamayach chosson vekallah. So what is the gift that Hashem brings the chosson and Kallah? It appears that it is the mechilah on all aveiros and the ability to start over – which is the greatest gift of all! (at a sheva brachos)
- The entire concept of a Korban being effective to remove aveirah – comes from Avrohom Avinu at the Akeidah. He davened to hashem that in the merit of his willingness to listen to hashem in the Akeida that his descendents houls have the ability to receive mechilah by offering something. From Rav Gedalia’s words we see the kochos of dedication to the ratzon Hashem.
- When the Simon Weisenthal Holocaust Museum was opened in California even bringing in stones from Auschwitz to show visitors, he responded emotionally, “They must certainly think that that they are building it so that anti-semites will see how far evil can take them and that they will do teshuvah. The truth is that it will not help at all. These types of places are only school houses of terrorism. It will instruct them as to how far they can strike Jews, may the Merciful One protect us.” Meged Givaos Olam Vol. II
- That which they say “the Shabbos after Shavuos” we still retain the sparks and light of Yom Tov – that Shabbos [when combined with its kedusha and that of the sparks and lights from Shavuos] is a very special time for hisorerus. The Maharsham had a proof to this from a teshuvah of the Radbaz Vol. Vi #2178. The Gemorah in Chagigah 26b states that after [every] yom tov the Kohanim would show the people the nissim that the lechem hapanim would still be fresh and warm and how much Hashem loved Klal Yisroel. This happened on Shabbos. Now why were the people there Shavuos? It was because they stayed. This si why it is called Shabbos noch Shavuos – and it has special Kedusha.
- The Midrash Bereishis Rabbah 60:2 tells us Eved maskil – zeh eliezer. Now each person has a particular mission or task in life – whether he admits to it or not. He must fulfill this task to his best ability. He should not try to rid himself of that task. What was the wisdom of Eliezer? The main aspect of his wisdom is that he knew his task and place. His place was the be the servant of Avrohom and through that he can achieve the apogee of what he was meant to do. He did not try to releive himself of this task or his responsibilities. This must be true of all people. We must recognize our task, and the particular strengths that shamayim has given us. We must serve Hashem with these kochos and not search for other aspects and heights that were not meant for us. Eliezer performed his task with all his abilities.
- Rav Menachem Zeimba zt”l wrote remarkable chiddushim on the entire Torah. The gzeirah that was the Churban was not only on him – but also on his Torah chiddushim – which could have enlightened all of Klal Yisroel. Only two seforim were saved: Totzaos Chaim and responsa Zera Avrohom. It is remarkable that these two seforim were printed as a chessed – to commemorate the memory of two Talmidei Chachomim. This was Torah of chessed – and that is why his Torah was saved from the Churban.
- When someone does an action – there are not only different levels of intent, but different types of intent as well. Rav Schorr zt”l would quote Rashi (Bereishis 9:23) on the pasuk of how it says, “And he took, Shaim and Yafes, the clothing and draped it on Noach. WRashi explains that Shaim exerted himself more in the Mitzvah than Yafes did. He therefore received the Mitzvah of Tzitzis for his decendents, while Yafes merited burial for his descendents as it says in Sfer Yechezkel 39:11 And I shall give Gog a burial place. Now the action that they each did was the same. The difference between them pertains to the type of intent that they each had. Shaim’s intent reflected inner depth, true understanding and for the sake of a Mitzvah. This is why he merited to a Mitzvah that reflects the inner nature of clothing. Yafe’s intent was external and aesthetic – so that things should look nice. This is the essence of Yavan to focus only on the out aesthetics and ignoring the inner depth and value.
- And Mordechai knew all that had transpired (Esther 4:1). Rashi explains that he was told this information in a But how does Rashi know this? How do we know that it wasn’t through Ruach haKodesh or through Eliyahu HaNavi – as is indicated in the Midrash (Esther Rabbah)? Rav Schorr explained based on the Gemorah in Chagigah 5b, “And I shall surely hide My Face on that day” – Even though I shall hide My Face from them – I shall speak to him in a dream (BaMidbar 12:6). Even in a period of Hester Panim – Klal Yisroel will still merit communication through a dream.
- There are two types of yirah. There is one that is calculated and developed intellectually. But there is a more fundamental yirah – one that exists naturally, like that which is found in the Beis HaMikdash as in the tefillah vesham naavadcha b’yirah. The main yirah is when there is a divine revelation and based upon the understanding of the person he is filled with true Yirah. (Ohr Gedalyahu parshas beshalach)