Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Pew, the Few, and the Many: Rav Soloveitchik on Jewish Numbers

«There is a deeper meaning in this passage. First of all, we must recall that Beruriah's life under Roman persecution was filled with suffering and tragedy. She was the daughter of R. Chananiah b. Tradyon, the Tanna executed while wrapped in a Sefer Torah (Avodah Zarah 18a). Her mother too was killed. Her only sister was forcibly taken to a life of harlotry in Rome (Avodah Zarah 17b). Her brother became a violent outlaw (Eichah Rabbah 3:16). Her two young sons died as children (Mishlei Rabbah 31:1). Throughout, she accepted God's Will without question. Notably, the Sifri to Deut. 32:4 demonstrates the ultimate acceptance of God's ways by quoting her and her family members. They recited "ha-Tzur tamim po'alo, the Rock, His work is perfect" when Chananiah was martyred; "ki chol derachav mishpat, for all His ways are justice" when her sister was taken; "Keil emunah ve-ein avel, a God of faithfulness and without iniquity" when the brother rebelled; and "tzaddik ve-yashar Hu, just and right is He" on the death of her two children.

God chose us precisely because we were the smallest nation, and He wanted us to remain that way (until the time of Mashiach)»

Kol Tuv,

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