Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Silence is Golden

When the Imrei Emes of Ger, zt”l, returned from his first voyage to Eretz Yisroel, the Rav of Kalish, zt”l, tried to elicit some details about his journey. The Imrei Emes, however, did not seem to be willing to engage in conversation.
“Nu?” prodded the Kalisher Rav. “How does the Rebbe feel after his visit to the Holy Land? Don’t Chazal say that even the air of Eretz Yisroel makes one wise?”
The Imrei Emes nodded. “Yes, it’s true,” he answered. “And Chazal also said: the protective fence for wisdom…is silence!”
This can also mean that silence is sometimes the best defense, because with it, one can avoid an argument altogether.
A delegation of Sefardic rabbis once came to visit the Mahari”l Diskin, zt”l, the illustrious Rav of Brisk.
As soon as they arrived, the group of sages began to weave a number of intricate arguments about certain Torah subjects, while the Mahari”l simply sat quietly and did not participate.
Eventually they tired of this, and decided to take their leave. As they left, the members of the delegation shook their heads in dismay and lamented to one another, “What a pity—to see such a great scholar who has gotten old and forgotten his learning!”
What the group didn’t realize was that the gaon of Brisk was just as much a master of silence as he was a master of Torah!

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