Friday, January 05, 2007

A New Key

I have learned Rashi's commentary over and over for the past few years and I recently decided I wanted to start learning the commentary of the Ohr HaChaim. I figured that learning the Ohr HaChaim's commentary would be a key to help me better understand Degel Machaneh Ephraim since he is often quoted in this sefer. When I asked Chabakuk Elisha about my proposed undertaking, he replied, "It will help you understand ALL chassidishe seforim better."

I also e-mailed Rabbi Lazer Brody to ask him his opinion. Rabbi Brody replied and said he thought it was a wonderful idea to learn the Ohr HaChaim's commentary as a supplement to learning Chumash with Rashi. Additionally, in a comment on another posting, Rabbi Dovid Sears noted that, "Rav Kenig has also encouraged us to learn the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh every week, which is a deeper-level commentary."

Starting on my birthday, the 25th of Kislev, I began learning the Ohr HaChaim's commentary and I resolved to make time to learn the Ohr HaChaim's teachings on the weekly parsha.

Since my knowledge of Hebrew is only fair, I purchased an all Hebrew copy along with a copy of Rabbi Eliyahu Munk's English translation of the Ohr HaChaim's commentary from Discount Rabbi Munk's English translation is extremely useful, however the book would be phenomenal if it included the original Hebrew text of the commentary and the English translation immediately below it, allowing one to use only one sefer. After learning three parshas of the Ohr HaChaim's commentary, I can see now just how valuable it will be to aid in my understanding of both Chumash and also Degel Machaneh Ephraim.


At January 5, 2007 at 6:23:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz said...

Welcome to the club! As HaRav Gershon Kitzes, whose almost-weekly Ohr HaChaim shiur we try to attend, tells us, the Ohr HaChaim was one of the first commentaries to delve into the minds of the characters of the Chumash: Avraham, Yaakov, Moshe, and l'havdil Avimelech, Pharaoh, Lavan, etc. Many Chassidic insights are based on his peirush. I expect to see some of them soon on this blog! :))

At January 5, 2007 at 6:36:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yitz: I thought of you the other night when I spoke to the Sudilkover Rebbe and told him that I started to learn Ohr HaChaim. He noted that has always been very common in the Chassidic world to hold a weekly shiur on this commentary.

While I thought that the Ohr HaChaim's commentary for Miketz seemed fairly straight forward, his commentary for Vayechi truly delves into some of the mysteries of Torah.

At January 5, 2007 at 12:41:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I go over the Parsha at the Shabbos table during each meal, and I am always asking "questions", or mentioning something that seems "unusual". When I started reading the Or HaChayim zt"l (in English), the Parsha lit up for me. I like the differing opinions that we go over, but the Or HaChayim zt"l is usually so clear and to the point. He reminds me a little of the Kotzker. Does that make any sense to you? I was amazed to learn that many of the clarifications of Chumash that I absorbed thru the years were from his mind.

Thank you for the seforim link.

At January 6, 2007 at 3:46:00 PM EST, Blogger yitz said...

ASJ - True. This Shabbos my wife & I learned the Ohr HaChaim's perush on the brachos that Yehuda received, & it indeed goes into the mystical. I had found a similar track to this many years earlier in the writings of the Grodzisker Rebbe [Divrei Elimelech], who was the father of the Piaseczno Rebbe [author of Aish Kodesh, etc.].

Neshama wrote: He reminds me a little of the Kotzker. Does that make any sense to you? Again, Rav Gershon Kitzes once described the Ohr HaChaim as a Galitzianer who happened to live in Morrocco. As is known, the roots of Kotzk were in Pshischa, who started off by the Chozeh of Lublin. The Chozeh was the Rebbe of most of the later Rebbes from Poland and Galicia!

At January 8, 2007 at 5:55:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey -- my birthday is also the 25th of Kislev!

I should probably learn more Chumash with Rashi before beginning the Ohr HaChaim, but I hope to be at that level soon!

Many blessings for everything good,

At January 9, 2007 at 6:33:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous :)

At January 9, 2007 at 7:12:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Yitz, you are surely knowledgeable. The idea only came to me with a few of his spicy comments.

I'm now beginning Shmos, which should be as exciting as Bereshis. I am looking forward to Vayikra.

At January 10, 2007 at 12:27:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree the hebrew text would add alot so maybe you contact gil student and tell him since he is the one who prints it gil student of hihurim, the truth is somtimes he arbitraly says well i felt this is unimportant so i just did not translate but where thankfull for it non the less


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