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Our Generation of Greatness
We are taught that Yosef and Binyomin
cried on each other’s neck over the destruction of the sanctuaries that would
be built in their respective territories.
The Chassam Sofer
is bothered how could Yosef and Binyomin cry if it was Shabbos,
as it is forbidden to cry on Shabbos?
Although we recognize how
impure and immoral the world is today, we must realize that this also shows our
greatness, as we still serve Hashem in such a situation. The אור לשמים (1767-1831) brings from the
Sefer Bris Menucha that the expression אם
ראשונים בני מלאכים אנו בני אנשים..., if the scholars of
previous generations were sons of angels, we are sons of men; if they were sons
of men, we are like donkeys… applied in their day. However, today where
there is so much darkness and yet we strengthen ourselves to serve Hashem
according to our ability, we are considered greater than Tzadikim from earlier
The Arizal (1534-1572) once
told R’ Chaim Vitaal that nowadays, in the darkness of Galus, even just one
crying out or a groan that comes from the depth of one’s heart is like many
fasts of earlier generations! The Yismach Yisrael
points out that this was in the time of the Arizal. Imagine what a sigh or
groan from us today is considered, as the Galus and troubles of today are much
(1736-1772) writes an idea he says that are found in many Sefarim. That is,
that which Tzadikim from earlier generations worked to attain for days and
months, nowadays it’s possible to accomplish this in one hour since the world
today is more lowly (This was in the 1700s.).
In explaining why Moshe was
so humble—ענו מאד—the Rashab says the following: The Midrash
tells us Hashem showed Moshe the Sefer of Adam Harishon in which he saw all
future generations from בראשית until תחיית
When he saw the generation of עקבתא דמשיחא—how they are trying to
have Emuna and be religious—he was so humbled and said they are greater than
Binyomin and Yosef saw all
that would happen to us in Galus—which was caused by the destruction of the sanctuaries—and
that we would withstand the tests until לעתיד לבא when the Beis Hamikdash
will be built. From this דביקות and Simcha they cried as such crying is
permitted on Shabbos!
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.