This week I would like to share with you an incredibly spooky yet absolutely true story that transpired less than a century ago. But to be able to fully appreciate this story, you will first need a little background information about the daughters of Lot and about Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.
In this week’s Torah portion, the sinful city of Sodom is destroyed by an Angel of G-d, and Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and his two daughters escape into the mountains. Lot's daughters conspire to rebuild humankind, and taking advantage of Lot's drunkenness, they become pregnant from Lot resulting in the birth of Ammon and Moab (see Genesis 19:30-38).
Rabbi Meir Shapiro ZT”L – also known as the “Lubliner Rav” - was a leader of Polish Jewry before WWII and a living legend. He was a direct descendant of Rabbi Pinchas (Shapiro) of Koretz, who was a disciple of the holy Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chasidic movement. He was a genius who mastered the entire Talmud and many other parts of the Torah.
As part of the detailed instructions that Noah had to follow in building the ark, G-d said to him, “Tzohar ta’aseh la’teivah … A window shall you make for the ark” (Genesis 6:16).
While the majority of Bible commentators say that the tzohar was a skylight – the same window that Noah opened after the flood (see Genesis 8:6) - others say it was a precious stone [that refracted the outside light to illuminate the interior]. All seem to agree, however, that the main purpose of the tzohar was to provide light for those living inside the ark.
Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn, in his wonderful book Echoes of the Maggid (Mesorah Publications), quotes Rabbi Velvel Perkovsky...
It has been said that more than the Jewish people have kept the Shabbos, the Shabbos has kept the Jewish people.
Shabbos is the only ritual mentioned in the Ten Commandments. It is also repeated more often in the Torah than any other commandment.
Shabbos, above all other commandments, defines us as Jews. In fact, Classical Judaism does not recognize such divisions as Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. There were basically only two kinds of Jews, The Sabbath Observer (Shomer Shabbos), and the Sabbath Violator (MeChallel Shabbos).
According to our tradition, it is clear that Shabbos plays a most central role in Judaism.