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 Seforim.com. 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.