Monday, April 6, 2009

Marror Today

Someone once asked Rav Menashe Klein of Ungvar, shlit”a, “I don’t understand. Every time the Rav speaks –even at a simchah—he mentions the horrors of his suffering at the hands of the Nazis ימ"ש. Why does the Rav always mention this? At the very least, it seems to be more in keeping with the joyous character of the simchah to speak of joyous experiences.”
“You are making an error.” Rav Klein gently replied. “On Kiddushin 66 we find that when Yannai Hamelech returned from conquering sixty cities he made a great celebration and invited all of the sages. He said to them: ‘Our fathers ate salted vegetables when they built the Beis Hamikdash. We too shall eat pickled vegetables as a memorial to our fathers.’ They served preserved vegetables on golden tables… We see from here that one is obligated to mention the hard times, especially during times of joy.
“But don’t think that I made this up on my own,” the Rav elucidated, “We see that one is obligated to always mention the hard times from Rabbeinu Bachaya’s commentary on parshas Vayishlach. He brings the verse where Yaakov says, ‘I crossed the Yarden with my staff…’ and writes: ‘From her we see that one is obligated to mention the days of difficulty in times of ease so that he considers how much better things are and praises Hashem that things are better. Shlomo Hamelech also said in Koheles, ‘On a good day, be of good temperament; on a bad day, see.’ This is actually a single statement of instruction: on a good day, in addition to being of good temperament, one should ‘see’ the bad days.’
Rav Klein concluded, “Rabbeinu Bachaya’s language is ‘one is obligated.’ This is an essential part of proper praise to Hashem. This is similar to the obligation to eat the bitter herbs on Pesach we eat marror, since without recalling our difficulty the praise to Hashem for taking us out of Egypt would be incomplete…”


Shorty said...

So interesting...we appreciate where we are, as we remember where we came from.

It also seems to be we forget Hashem, while the going is good, and "blame" Him when times are tough.

When we remember the "bad times" while in good, then hopefully, we remember that Hashem actually delivered us into the "good times.

Be well

Neil said...

Along the same lines, the mitzvah is to TASTE the Maror, not just eat it. When you taste it, you feel the difficulty.

Anonymous said...

buddy, you ain't invited to my simcha if you're gonna talk about the shoah. period. end of story.

Anonymous said...

ps, sorry. this is wrong. at a simcha, it is wrong to talk about something like the shoah. i understand breaking a glass at a wedding. okay. but for everything else.... no. and you wonder why people are turned off to religious judaism??!!

this kind of stuff really frustrates me. they do it, they back it up w/ psukim...but where is the real connection to reality??

i really don't think the besht or reb nachman would agree to this.

will someone give whovever condones this a serious reality check?

life is tough, people of the points of a simcha or any happy event...even a get-together is to FORGET about all the tsuris. this is MENTAL HEALTH...
and people why some jews are meshuga.

i like your blog. but this is not a good idea. (i am not talking about marror on pesach)

Anonymous said...

i have no problem remembering where we came from. or remembering H' when times are good. i just think it's wrong to bring up suffering at certain times. it contaminates the moment. unless in a context of gratitude. even then, one must be careful what images are used.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Shorty: So true. Have a great yom tov!
Neil: Very insightful!
Anonymous: I am sure Rav Klein said this in an appropriate manner.
The point of the piece was not to give direction in how to speak at a simcha. I was merely saying--as Rav Nosson does in Likutei Halachos--that if one does not appreciate that everything all the good that Hashem has done for him (mitichilah ovdei avodah zarah hayu avosainu...) then he will not be grateful for what he has.
Hashem should help us truly appreciate all the good in our lives!

Anonymous said...


thanks. but it wasn't clear to me at all. that's why i wrote back as i did.