Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who's Your Hero/Inspiration in all of Jewish History?


Reb Yerachmiel, in the shiur I posted yesterday, opened the floor to all of the people there to talk about which person in Jewish history has been their inspiration. To ask it another way, I think that I would also like to know that if you could meet one person, from any point in history, who would it be?

I know he and I would be interested if some of you would comment with who you think is your biggest inspiration, your biggest hero in all of Yiddishkeit, in the comment section. I'll start off with what I wrote to that same question from my interview at jblogger interviews:

I think that I would want to meet the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin. He was known as having a very deep sight into reality and into the people he met. I would be both terrified and grateful if I could meet a Rebbe like that who could just clarify for me what the nature of my "self" is, what I'm supposed to accomplish in this world, and what my true kochos and chesronos (strengths and weaknesses) are.

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of Roshei Teivot)

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22 comments:

Shorty said...

How interesting that you should post this...

I have been reading about R. Akivah...how he started learning at age 40, how he prayed the Shemah with his dying breaths...

and then i was reading R' Y. Ben Zakai and the sages of the time, and their strength to keep the Torah in the hearts of the Jewish people...

truly inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Dovid Ha'Melech (alav hashalom) is my personal favorite. Not only is he my alta zaide (through the Mezritcha Maggid), but his poet-warrior, melech-dal, gadol ba'torah-anav capacities which made him one of the Arba Raglay Hamerkava together with the Avos Hakedoshim themselves are truly an inspiration of heroic proportions!!!

Anonymous said...

The Klausenberger Rebbe, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam zt"l. It is incredibly inspiring for me to read about him. Having lived through the hellfires of the Holocaust, losing his entire family, including his wife and eleven children al kiddush Hashem, he remained unyielding in his devotion to the Almighty. It's nearly incomprehensible to me how someone could be on such a madrega to be able to see the hashgacha pratis, the yad of Hashem, every second in a time of such terrible murder and destruction.

The Klausenberger Rebbe zt"l, truly is a tzaddik, a spirited light who brought inspiration and helped strengthen emuna in the other Jews suffering in the camps and those blessed to continue on with their lives afterwards. B"H, his legacy of boundless love and faith in Hakodosh Baruch Hu and his diligence in Torah study and observing mitzvot, continues to inspire yidden like myself to reach greater and greater spiritual heights.

Neil said...

Either R Hirsch or R Dessler .

Yehuda said...

My world of Rabbinic Heros are so many and diverse, its difficult to narrow them down. Whats more interesting is how their opinions differed in so many ways...and yet if they were all in the same room, i wonder....

Take the Vilna Gaon and the Alter Rebbe. Here are two of my biggest heroes. The Vilna Gaon's excellence in learning both Nigle and Nistar and his devotion to Torah and tradition..as well as his knowledge in Science...The Alter Rebbe for his devotion and self sacrifice to systematically defining a Chassidic path and offering some of the basic texts needed in such a turbulent time in Chassidic history.Both these great men shared such a devotion to the cause of Judaism. Both were united in the cause of bettering and safeguarding Judaism..And yet.....

Anonymous said...

Rebbe Nachman. The experience would probably be exhilarating and terrifying all at once.

Anonymous said...

I had an amazing and beautiful experience meeting the Kaalover Rebbe. I had no idea what to expect, but it was definitely as if he "saw" me.

He frequently visits different communities, but you can actually schedule a meeting with the Rebbe here:

http://www.kaalov.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php

And some of the pictures on the site are very intense.

moses said...

This is a very important question, and kol hakavod for asking it. Thinking of a tzaddik as ones hero makes it much more real.

I think it's important to differentiate here between a hero (someone who inspires you) and a rebbe (someone you learn Torah from) as well as some other people one is connected to. R' Ginsburgh gave a talk once where he mentioned four different personas that idealy one should have in ones life, them being: a rebbe, a mashpia, a "guter yid" and the last one is a "hero".

Understanding this distinction and realizing who is who can be particularly important if one is inspired, like Yehuda mentioned, by both The Gra and the Alter Rebbe for example. Because if they disagree (which as we know they did), one may have to decide who to follow. Otherwise it can be somewhat of a mumbo-jumbo.

An extremely eye opening shiur. If you're interested I can try look for the link.

Menashe said...

We've of course had many great tzadikim throughout our history. But I'm most interested (in the spirit of your last post) in those that literally changed the face of Yiddishkeit forever. Revolutionaries.

To begin with, the Avos and Imos of course. Next is Moshe and Aharon. Dovid Hamelech. Of the tannoyim, I think Rashbi. Next is the Ari, followed by the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe.

These are just a few figures off the top of my head without whom Torah and Avodah as we know it would be so different as to be nearly unrecognizable, I imagine.

Anonymous said...

My pick is R Shlomo Frifeld. I read a book on him and it changed my whole life. If I could have two hours with him, it would be a dream.

Yirmeyahu said...

"The Klausenberger Rebbe, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam zt"l. "

I'm with you. :)

YGB said...

R' Avrohom Eliyahu Kaplan.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'd like to bring for a chassidish farbrengen, those 10 tsadikim:
1- first and foremost, THE Rabbi, the Lubavitcher
2- Rabbi Nahman miBreslov
3- HaRav haBen Ish Hay
4- Rabbi Israel Baal Shem tov
5- HaOrh HaCHaim haKadosh
6 -HaAri haKadosh
7- RAmbaN
8- RambaM
9 - Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzzato (Ramh'al)
10 - Rabbi Akiva

Anonymous said...

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l; definitely!

Anonymous said...

From the Muqata Blog:
"Our personal hero, the critically newlywed IDF combat soldier and officer Aharon Karov, was able to walk today. With the help of a walker, Aharon was able to start taking steps around his room. With the help of his father, he was also able to put on tefillin as well.

Wishing him a continued full and speedy recovery. Please continue your prayers and positive thoughts for Aharaon Yehoshua ben Chaya Shoshana." Amen!

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman said...

Oh, what I wouldn't do to sit knee to knee with the Ramchal! What a wonderful discussion.

DixieYid (جنوب يهودي) said...

Another one I think I would like to add is my wife's "hero" also. She is always amazed by Yosef Hatzadik. Every year during the parshios of Vayeshev, Mikeitz and Vayigash, I go to the hashkama minyan so she can make it to kriyas haTorah for the parshios of Yosef haTzadik.

I think what makes it so amazing to her is the fact that he never gave up hope no matter how hard things were day after day. He spent 12 years in jail, being taunted by Eishes Potifar. He was seduced by her day after day without giving in even until the end (and how he resisted the one "almost" time too). Of course, on these grounds Michal's husband Palti ben Layish is great too. But I think he's a great inspiration especially for Mrs. Yid too!

farsy said...

The Kotzker Rebbe, for our very troubles times, the only one that matters...

yehupitz said...

It's easy to speak of heroes from the distant past. But I find it harder to speak of inspirations from the distant past.

The Rambam is my "hero" in that every time I read a paragraph he wrote, I am amazed and humbled by the clarity of mind he possessed.

But as far as real, personal inspiration, nothing surpasses my admiration of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel Shlita, the current Rosh Yeshiva of Mir Yerushalayim. He actively and personally runs and positively micro-manages the most impressive Torah institution of our day. The levels of real Torah learnt, on so many levels, with plans and ideas that have a "mivtza"-like quality to them, would alone be staggering.

But that he manages to do this with one of the most severe cases of Parkinson's disease I have ever seen is so incredible that it serves as one of the most powerful inspirations in this generation.

Alice said...

Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, of blessed memory.

He was unstoppable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yekusiel_Yehudah_Halberstam

Bob Miller said...

At the risk of sending this conversation off-topic----I'd be interested to know from our commenters here who has had the greatest influence on them in practice. Is that the hero or someone else?

Anonymous said...

too many options, The Ramchal for his genuis, The Baal Shem Tov for his Holiness, Rebbe Nachman for his awesomeness, The Izbitser for his uniqueness, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan for his crystal clear understanding of the entire Torah, Reb Shlomo Carlebach for his Ahavas Yisroel, Rabbi Meir Kahane for his Stregnth, Rav Kook for his beauty. Really these are a very small list of all of our hero's