The “Chiddush Of Shlomo HaMelech”

וְאֵין כָּל חָדָש תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶש
“And there is nothing new under the sun”
 (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Peshat – There is nothing new that man can create or imagine that hasn’t been created or explored already

Remez – The Jewish months (חָדָש) are not guided by the sun (הַשָּׁמֶש), but by the moon – we have a lunar calendar

Drush – Chadash (חָדָש) – New Grain does not exist anymore in the season of the sun (הַשָּׁמֶש) for then it’s “yashan” – old wheat

Sod – There is no “Chiddushei Torah” (חָדָש) under the sun (הַשָּׁמֶש), in this human planet – for any new “Chiddushei Torah” is merely uncovering the potential already embedded in the Oral Law

Rav Avrohom Zt”l Refusing Transportation

I was privileged to accompany Rav Avrohom zt”l to many of his bein hazimanim shiurim which took place all over Eretz Yisroel. I remember it gave me the chance to get a pulse of the country as well. I would always hear him on the phone trying to refuse transportation that was being offered to him so that he would be able to get to the shiur. The rebbetzin would tell me how everyone wanted to hear him speak, but he didn’t want to put the inviting party out. Eventually he accepted and we would be on our way. He always treated the cab driver like a king. Sometimes when he had to prepare the shiur, he would put me in the front, but I was no match in engaging the driver. It’s also well known that the Genechovsky’s would bring the cab driver into their apartment to provide food and beverage.

What We Own

Chapter Five, Verse 10 of the Book of Numbers reads,”And every man’s hallowed things shall be his: whatever any man gives the priest, it shall be his.” The Chafetz Chaim extrapolates a magical message from these words that offers us all the information we need to know in life. Simply put, the first part of the verse expresses the idea that all of man’s “hallowed” things are “his” – meaning anything considered hallow (holy), namely one’s Torah, Mitzvos and Gemilus Chasadim, belong to the person forever and will travel with him to the next world. At death, everything else evaporates and will not enter the next world with him to offer merit on his behalf. Does it end there? No. The end of the verse further says that whatever you give to a “priest” as Tzedaka also will be “yours” – forever. The only money that you own is the Tzedakah you give. Knowing that only Torah, Mitzvos and Gemilus Chasadim escort us into the next world and we only own Tzedekah, our mission in this world is simplified. Mathematically put, there’s no room for error. (In addition, it may be said it’s Chapter 5, symbolizing the five books of Torah and it’s Verse 10 symbolizing the maaser that must always be taken.)


Rashi And Ramban In Shema

In the last paragraph of Shema we say, “lo taturu acharei levavcham Ve’acheri einechem asher atem zonim acharav leman tizkiru Vi’asetem  et kol mitzvoti, Ve’heytem kedoshim lelokechem…” The famous argument regarding “Kedoshim Tehu” between Rashi and the Ramban retains relevance to these stanzas. According to Rashi – “Kedoshim Tehu” is an outright ban on illicit and immoral behavior whereas according to the Ramban it means that one should separate himself from even things that are mutar to him. According to the verses in shema we see the illicit behavior of – “lo taturu acharei levavcham Ve’acheri einechem” mentioned before “Ve’heytem kedoshim lelokechem” which would seem to bolster Rashi’s opinion.