By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
Rav Shmuel Brudny zt”l (1915-1981) was one of the leading Talmidim of the Mir Yeshiva in Poland, and was given special attention and regard by Rav Leizer Yudel Finkel, the Mir Rosh Yeshiva. He became a Rosh Yeshiva in the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn and was a role model and Rebbe to thousands of Talmidim. The following 8 thoughts and sayings were culled from various writings, citations and from talmidim and family members.
1. If a Talmid chochom is giving a drasha, and someone in the tzibbur opens a sefer to leaf through it – this can be b’geder “Mezalzel b’talmid chochom b’rabim.” (V’halachta bidrachav p. 38).
2. There is no hope for a person to come to the ultimate truth unless he finds a way to clean out within the inner recesses of his heart all of his “first impressions” and “initial thoughts on a matter” which are of the greatest biases that a person has. First and foremost of these “initial thoughts” are that it is very clear to him that he has never once made a mistake or error. Whatever he had once said are an almost immovable rock before him. (Zichron Shmuel 101:6)
3. We see from the Chumash that Kayin was the originator of the idea of bringing a Korban and Hevel copied him – albeit by bringing a much better Korban. Kayin’s was not accepted while that of Hevel’s was. The Midrash further explains that when the two battled together, it was Hevel that originally had Kayin in a headlock, but Kayin told him, “What will our mother feel?” Hevel let him go and Kayin treacherously killed him. We see from here that the emphasis in this world is not Machshavah – but Maaseh. What is counted ultimately is what happens lemaaseh – not the thought behind it. (Heard from family)
4. The Midrash tells us that Avrohom Avinu told Hashem, “I had what to respond when you told me to offer my son Yitzchok – that you promised me ki b’yitzchok yikareh lecha zerah.. Please Hashem, when Yitzchok’s children will do Aveiros – remember the Akeidah and have mercy on them.” What does “I had what to respond” mean? It was Hashem’s will that Yitzchok be a korban! The answer is that the halacha is that Hashem does not go back on something good that He promised (See Shabbos 55a). It is just that Avrohom’s desire to do Hashem’s will was so strong that he knew that only good could ultimately come out of listening to Hashem. Now, just as I switched what appeared to be negative to positive – so too Hashem having mercy on Yitzchok’s children and switch what appears to be a negative to the positive. (Sefer Zichron Chaim p. 155)
5. Why is it that Purim achieved a higher status in terms of spirituality than Chanukah did? It is because on Purim, upon which it is stated, “Lech knos es kol haYehudim – go and gather all the Jews..” – we demonstrated achdus. Esther gave back a message to Mordechai that all the Jews should gather and daven and fast – to assist in nullifying the horrible decree. Klal Yisroel demonstrated achdus. On Chanukah, however, there were many misyavanim – and we were missing this crucial component – we had no achdus.
6. We see from the Sifrei in Parshas Ki Seitzei that even Avrohom Avinu was to blame for the argument between the shepherds of Avrohom and the shepherds of Lot. The reason for this is that even though there is a Mitzvah of Tochacha – rebuke – they still should have kept only to rebuke and not have made an argument about it. Avrohom Avinu should have instructed them better on the parameters and limits of rebuke – that they should have stuck just to mussar and not have argued about it. (Zichron Shmuel p. 97)
7. I witnessed during the bombing of the Beis Midrash in Shanghai, everyone tried escaping to enter the bomb shelters – but when Rav Shmuel Birnbaum saw the extent of the bitul Torah that the bombing had caused – he sat down and learned Torah – undisturbed by the shelling and noises of the bombs.. [at a Bar Mitzvah drasha for an einekel of Rav Shmuel Kesrah shel Torah p. 65]
8. In the Mishnas Rabbi Elazar (chapter 10) there is a comparison between Gideon and Yehoshuah in terms of how they uplifted Klal Yisroel. Yehoshuah did so by filling them up with Torah – Gideon did so by being melamed zchus on them giving them the benefit of the doubt through Ahavas Yisroel. Certainly, Yehoshua’s method is preferable. But Gideon’s method is also very nice, by starting small with an Ahavah for Klal Yisroel – it can almost reach the level of Yehoshua.
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