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FRUMToronto Articles Thoughts for the Week

Inspirational words of Torah from Gedolei Yisroel.

Blog Image: Hakhel.jpg
Proper Kavod for Seforim
As Shavuous is fast-approaching we provide our annual reminder on the proper Kavod for Seforim:

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for honor,” kavod”, is also used as a synonym for the Neshama--soul, as Dovid HaMelech pleads in Tehillim: “Lem’aan yezamercha kavod...”--so that my soul praises you.  Yet, the gematria of kavod is 32, which corresponds to the Lev, heart, symbolizing feeling.  Thus, the term kavod uniquely combines both Neshama, symbolizing our superior intellect, and Lev, demonstrating our unique humane feeling.

When we properly show kavod, we unite our powerful intellect and unparalleled feeling, to display true respect, whether due or earned.  Let us turn for a moment to the kavod of Torah.  There is, in fact, an entire Siman in Shulchan Aruch devoted to kavod of Rabbonim (Yoreh Deah 242) and two other entire Simanim dedicated to the honor of Talmidei Chachomim in general (ibid., Simanim 243 and 244).  We will briefly discuss here, however, the Siman in Shulchan Aruch dedicated to the kavod due the Sefer Torah, sefarim and Holy Objects (ibid. Siman 282).  Given the depth of the term kavod, it behooves us to pay special attention to the kavod of these special items which assist and guide us in our great task of Torah Study.  As we previously noted from HaRav Shmuel Berenbaum, Shlita, one must study Torah in a manner which shows true respect.  This may begin with the kavod of the Sefarim that we learn Torah from.

HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, relates that when he was younger the Chazon Ish noticed that he was studying Torah with his elbows on the Gemara, but that he was careful not to put any other Sefer on top of his Gemara.  The Chazon Ish advised him that he acted incorrectly--no elbows were allowed on his Gemara, but another Sefer being used in connection with this study, even that of a later commentary, was.

Many of us were trained as children that when a Sefer falls, you pick it up and kiss it.  What if two sefarim fall?  The Bais Lechem Yehuda, one of the classic meforshim found in the Shulchan Aruch itself (ibid.) writes that both Sefarim should be picked up as quickly as possible--and then kissed together.

Some common examples where we can show Kavod Hatorah are:
- when noticing Seforim strewn about or in disheveled pile--straightening them out
- reshelving sefarim, even if they were taken out by others
- not permitting children’s books with Torah content to be placed, or remain, on the floor
- not tossing Sefarim (Hebrew or English) even from short distances or onto the table
- not placing Sefarim on your lap or sitting on the same level that Seforim is placed
- not holding a Sefer below you waist, or letting it bang against your leg
- not keeping Sefarim unlocked in your car, as they are truly your honored treasure, or on the car seat where someone will sit down near or upon them
- kissing a Sefer before and after use (and perhaps even during use--if you learn something from it that really excites you) -taking a Sefer with you when traveling--as Rav Quinn, Z’tl, was known to always remark “You’re always safer with a Sefer!”

Every day we are privileged with opportunities to show proper kavod to those Holy Objects which give us our respect.  As Chazal teach--All who honor the Torah are honored by all of creation (Avos 4:8).  May we be blessed with the Neshama and the Lev to be successful with these very special opportunities!

Hakhel MIS

Posted 5/22/2009 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Thoughts for the Week | Comments (0)

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