Monday, January 19, 2009

Toiling in Torah

Rav Yehudah learns from the verse, “As water reflects back one’s face, so too does the heart of one reflect another’s,” that understanding in Torah is according to the effort one invests.
Rav Abba Yaakov Borchov, zt”l, author of Shut Chevel Yaakov, had many illustrious teachers. At first he learned with Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, zt”l and he subsequently spent three years learning b’chavrusah with the Maharil Diskin, zt”l, and his son Rav Yitzchok Yerucham, zt”l. He later learned in Kovno with Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spector, zt”l, and was ordained by him. When Rav Abba Yaakov was already elderly, he settled in Yerushalayim, where his shiurim were extremely well attended.
Once he reminisced, “Two of my mentors merited children who were great in Torah but did not reach the greatness of their illustrious fathers. Rav Yitzchok Yerucham, the son of the Maharil Diskin, and Rav Tzvi Hirsch, the son of Rav Yitzchok Elchonon. I always thought the reason for this was similar to what the Maharal of Prague, zt”l, says about Moshe Rabbeinu’s children: ‘Since Moshe Rabbeinu had a ma’alah that surpassed the attainments of regular human beings, his children couldn’t reach his exalted level.’
Rav Abba Yaakov continued, “When I shared this thought with the Ohr Someach (who knew and respected the two sons highly for their greatness in Torah and their refinement of character), he disagreed vehemently. ‘The children had the potential to reach their fathers’ levels. The sole reason they didn’t is that they didn’t exert themselves as much as their fathers had!’
The elderly tzaddik concluded, “The same holds true for all of us! If we toil as Rav Yitzchok Elchonon did, we will reach his level! If we exert ourselves like the Maharil Diskin, we will reach his exalted level!”
The Chazon Ish, zt”l, said, “If someone were to put in the effort that the Maharsha did nowadays, he would come out with a much greater work. The harder the test, the more one must exert himself to overcome it. The greater the effort, the more siyatta d’Shmaya one merits!”

4 comments:

Neil said...

Exactly the chizuk I needed. Thanks!!

Micha Golshevsky said...

Excellent!

Anonymous said...

respectfully: i think a point is missing here. it is not fair to compare parents and children. to expect or even hope that a child will go beyond a parent in torah is not showing kindness or fairness to the child. HaShem makes everyone different. Our goal is to be the best person 'we' can be. not in relation to another.
sadly, i think much damage and hurtful pressure is put on some kids to "be like" or 'exceed' their parents achievements.
doesn't it says by pirke avot(?) to encourage a child in "its" way?

the famous story of reb zushya getting to heaven and H' asking not why were you not moshe but why were you not zushya!!!

this is the key. certainly children should be encouraged to do well, to work hard, to excel.

if a child works in torah like his parent then let the child find his own way in torah.

sorry, i strongly disagree here.

Micha Gollshevsky said...

Anonymous: Thank you for the comment.I felt it was important enough to post with my reply.