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Shabbat Parashat Tetzaveh| 5767

Moreshet Shaul

A Eulogy for Harav Ya’akov Moshe Charlop - From notes found in Dabar L’Dor, pp. 85-87
 “Also every illness and every blow that is not written in this scroll of the Torah”- this refers to the death of tzaddikim (Otzar Hamidrashim, pg. 439). Why, in fact, was this not spelled out explicitly? There is a written Torah and an Oral Torah, and the two were given in an inter-connected manner. Hashem did not throw the tablets from the Heavens. Rather, “Two tablets he [Moshe] brought down in his hand.” This is because the Oral Torah is that which gives life to the Written Torah.
 “And now, Israel, what does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you, just to fear Hashem, your G-d, to go in all of his paths, and to love …” (Devarim 10:12). The gemara (Berachot 33b) asks whether fear of Hashem is really such a small thing. It answers that it was a small thing in regard to Moshe. However, we can still ask: what difference does it make if it was small for Moshe? The statement was addressed to the nation, and for them it ostensibly was not simple! The answer is that for all who came in contact with Moshe, fear of Hashem was not difficult. “Who will go up to the Heavens and take it for us” (Devarim 30:12). The Torah seems distant and difficult, demanding great sacrifice. However, for those who came in close contact with scholars, who saw their holy enthusiasm, their incredible energy while performing mitzvot, the matter seems much closer. Moshe brought down the Torah from the Heavens and brought it close to us, so that we are able to perform it properly. This is the idea behind shimush talmidei chachamim (literally, serving scholars, but it refers to having a close relationship with them).
 This is how the death of tzaddikim is an unwritten blow. The death weakens the element of the Torah that could never be written down, which the tzaddik was able by his existence to serve as a living example of Torah values, a storehouse of fear of Hashem, of love of Bnei Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. In the case Rav Charlop, we might say that it was the complete picture of all of those values, to show that there is no contradiction between loving Hashem and loving the nation and the Land, which was so special. Not only was the Torah of Rav Charlop not “in the heavens,” making it out of reach of mankind, but it was also not “across the sea,” referring to the perceived need to distance oneself from people in order to reach Hashem’s Torah.
 “A righteous man lives in his belief” (Chabakuk 2:4). A tzaddik is defined in terms of his level of awareness of Hashem. He reaches the level of emunah (belief), a familiarity with Hashem to the point that no miracles can affect it. This type of relationship affects one’s whole being, giving him a new soul, so to speak. In the battle against Amalek, Moshe is described as, “And his hands were belief” (Shemot 17:12). In a supernatural way, the belief was not only a cognitive manner, but imbued other parts of the body with this special life spirit.
Rav Charlop­’s service of Hashem was a study in a life of belief. Whoever heard him declare the unity of Hashem, saw his beaming face during davening, or was present when he danced with elevated fervor saw what it means to be a believing Jew. Even through incredibly great pain, he demonstrated his love for his Maker. This belief helped him forge an approach to life, including his outlook on the Nation and the Land of Israel. This belief brought him to fear, to love, and to a willingness to sacrifice. His love of the Land was so great that he simply refused to ever leave it. His view of his fellow Jew was such that he felt connected even to those who had strayed. It also formed his connection toward Hapoel Hamizrachi, which was founded on a desire to uncover the Divine within the nation through the enterprise of bringing the Land back to life. He believed in us and demanded from us to learn ourselves better and increase our belief. He expected of us, who work with our hands, to make our hands like Moshe’s “hands of belief.”
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