Monday, September 24, 2012

Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik: "How negative events can cause new Opportunities"


It is anything but easy figuring out the Soloveitchik family. In order to get a picture, I have been collecting books, photos and plenty of articles. The strange thing is that modern Jewry and the national religious movement mainly concentrate on Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (died in 1993). Don't get confused with the "Beit HaLevi" because here I am referring to the philosopher Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

Haredi Jewry often quotes the Brisker Rav as well as all the other Brisker Soloveitchiks. I am interested in both directions but do prefer the Brisker family tree.

As Yom Kippur is right ahead, I would like to share a Soloveitchik story about how we can learn from negative events.

As far as I know, the first Rabbi Soloveitchik mentioned was Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik who lived in the days of Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin. It was in Slobodka (Vilijampolė) / Lithuania where Reb Moshe was running a successful lumber business. He had inherited all his wealth from his parents but one day, he just lost the business and all his money. 

The Jews in town started speculating about why Rabbi Moshe had lost his business. How could it be that G - d took all the money from him leaving him a poor man ? Of course, people started guessing and some came to the conclusion that Rabbi Moshe may have not given enough Zedakah. However, there was no definitive answer, as we don't know G - d's thoughts and intentions.

After loosing his business, Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik didn't  really know what to do with himself and started learning at the local Beit Midrash. After some time had passed, he and other Jews noticed how talented he actually is with his Torah studies. He became an excellent scholar founding the great rabbinical Soloveitchik dynasty. 

If Rabbi Moshe hadn't lost his wealth, he would have carried on with his business without entering a Beit Midrash and discovering his real talent and task in life. Because he lost his business, he got the great opportunity of starting something new and even founded a rabbinic dynasty. 

From this we can learn that not everything negative happening to us should get us into depression. Sometimes we must loose somethin in order to find a new way in our life. We may be successful in one field and think that this is it. However, what if it turns out being a dead end and, in the end, we are left with nothing. Hopefully we get over it and start something new. Start a new life and suddenly we realize that loosing something valuable in the past wasn't the end of the world but a new opportunity for the future.

Later on, Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin chose Rabbi Moshe's son, Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik, to marry his daughter Rielka. The beginning of the Soloveitchik dynasty. 


The Brisker Rav by Rabbi Shimon Yosef Meller

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