Sunday, January 17, 2016

Kotzker Rebbe: Gedolim and talmidei chachomim have a greater requirement to have fear of Heaven than a layman

Rav Moshe Sternbuch[1](Parsha Bo  5776): I heard from my dear friend Rabbi Tzi Farber zt”l that he  was once traveling with Rav Chaim Brisker in a carriage when another Jew joined them. Rav Chaim asked the newcomer where he was coming from and he replied he was coming from Kotzk. Rav Chaim asked him to tell them a dvar Torah that he had heard there. The Jew told them that he had heard a drasha in the name of the Kotzer Rebbe regarding the verse “You shall fear the L-rd your G-d” (Vayikra 6:13)  which our Sages (Pesachim 22b) understand to also teach that it refers to talmidei chachomim. [In other words that fear of G-d includes fearing those who teach the Torah]  However the Kotzer Rebbe explained the lesson of our Sages to mean that talmidei chachom also have the obligation to fear and have awe of G-d and not to think they are alright because of their knowledge of Torah. Rav Chaim praised this interpretation greatly and sighed and said, “The Rebbe is correct. Even gedolim and talmidei chachomim are obligated to fear Heaven and they can not suffice with their greatness in Torah. In fact the opposite is true. They have a greater obligation than others to have fear of Heaven.”

[1] רב משה שטרנבוך (פשרת בא תשע"ו) ושמעתי מפי ידידי הגאו רבי צבי פרבר זצ"ל שנסע עם הגר"ח מבריסק בעגלה ונכנס יהודי, ושאל אותו הגר"ח מהיכן אתה, והשיב שהוא בא מקאצק, וביקש ממנו הגר"ח לומר דבר תורה ששמע שם, והשיב היהודי מה ששמע בשם הרבי מקאצק על הפסוק "את ה' אלוקיך תירא" - ודרשו חז"ל -"לרבות תלמידי חכמים", ופירש הרבי שגם הם חייבים לירא ולפחד מהקב"ה, ולא ידמו שהם בסדר, והגר"ח קילס מאוד את הדברים ונאנח ואמר, הרבי צודק, גם הגדולים ות"ח חייבים ביראת שמים ואין מספיק בגדלותם בתורה, ואדרבה עליהם החיוב יותר מכל אחד

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