The Need For Chiddush

“And God completed on the seventh day His work that He did, and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work that He did” (Genesis 2:2)

The Beis Halevi extrapolates a wonderful chiddush from this pasuk. Based on the simple reading, the pasuk says that G-d finished creating the world on the seventh day. However, a fundamental question could be asked. Was the world not fully completed after six days? It must not be the case as the verse specifically says G-d finished it on the seventh day. Therefore, the Beis Halevi understands that in fact the world was finished on the seventh day, but two separate kinds of creation took place. The first six days were “melacha” work – which implies creating something from nothing, exemplified by all of the animal, vegetation life and other creations that were created anew. However, on the seventh day rest was created – more of a passive creation that continued to perpetuate the original creation. Therefore, whether something totally new or something passively new was created the word “melacha” refers to a “new” entity.

Based on the Beis Halevi’s idea that “melacha” implies “newness” we can say another chiddush. In Pirkei Avot (2:1), it says, “Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Yehuda the Prince said….All Torah study without work (“melacha”) will result in waste and will cause sinfulness.” The classic understanding of the Mishna is that simply studying the Torah without busying oneself with work as well will leave a man idle, thus leading to a scenario where one won’t utilize his time in an organized fashion and eventually not learn at all. However, according to the Beis Halevi, we may now suggest that the Mishna is also saying that “All Torah with no “melacha” – “chiddush” will in the end be “batul” – for one won’t be innovating in the Torah and claiming it for his own. Without innovation and chiddush, one can lose passion and closeness with the Torah. Both messages are powerful and relevant and necessary to have the Torah endure.  

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.)