Elul Hallel V

Aug 29th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer
“For His kindness has overwhelmed us, and the truth of God is eternal, Halleluyah!” (Psalms 117:2) Rabbi Baruch Ber Leibovitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Kaminetz, shared the following story with my grandfather, Rav Ruderman zt”l, when my grandfather was a young teenager: The Vilna Gaon went to visit the Righteous Convert, (Count) Avraham Potoski when the latter was waiting to be executed for converting to Judaism. Avraham ben Avraham was weeping. The Vilna Gaon wondered how such a remarkable human being could weep when he had the opportunity to display such an act of Kiddush Hashem – Sanctification of God’s Name. “I rejoice over my opportunity,” said the Holy Convert, “I weep because I have no father in Israel, nor any children, and I feel as if I never took root among Israel.”

The Gra responded, “We find in the Midrash, “This said God, King of Israel, ‘I am the first,” (Isaiah 44:6) means, ‘I am the Father for one who has no father.’ “I am last,” I am the son of one who has no children. This refers to one such as you, a convert; God is your Father and Your child. He is your root in Israel. Is he not better than ten children?” (See Samuel I 1:8)

As we enter the month of Elul, the month of Love, we celebrate the intensity of God’s love for us that is expressed in such attention to every detail of what we need, even on an emotional level.

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