TIMELY – Fascinating Article From 1962 About The Chofetz Chaim & The Solar Eclipse Translated Into English

The following is a translation of an article found in the Journal “Bais Yaakov”[1], written by Rabbi Shmuel Pliskin[2], about the solar eclipse[3] which the Chofetz Chaim viewed. (Translation and footnotes by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Biron) It was a typical summer evening, a warm Tuesday, and the elderly Chofetz Chaim had just finished Aleinu. After placing his siddur down on the table, the Chofetz Chaim looked around, scanning the crowd which had packed the narrow room for maariv.[4] Finally, the Chofetz Chaim gave a klop on the edge of the table and began. “טוב ללכת אל בית אבל מלכת אל בית משתה [5].”באשר הוא סוף כל האדם “The implication is that at a beis ha’mishteh one can also learn the same lesson; no one’s life is eternal. “Just as when a ruling governor sends a new minister to a city, the previous minister knows his days are numbered, so too when a child is born we are in essence being reminded that nobody is here forever. Death is not exclusive to those in a “membership club”. Everyone’s turn will come, no creation is immortal.” The Chofetz Chaim continued “Hashem has implanted in his creation the phenomenon of a solar eclipse, as a means of refuting those misguided souls, who believe in other immortal powers. The time comes when the sun is eclipsed, so that we all know and internalize; the sun is a creation and not a creator! And us mankind…we’re no different.” Once again the Chofetz Chaim tapped on the table and with an expression of triumph he smiled and added “let them all come and see!” He continued, “It’s a mitzvah for us all to come and see…to see with our own eyes…it’s only a mortal chunk of creation.” The Chofetz Chaim tapped softly once again and smiled quietly. The crowd slowly filtered out of the narrow room, deeply inhaling the cooler outdoor air, while chattering about the upcoming event, the rare solar eclipse early the next morning. As lightning, the word spread throughout the entire village, in every house the news was relayed “the Chofetz Chaim has announced it’s a mitzvah to go and see the next morning’s sensation.” The search began for broken shards of glass, usually a valueless commodity strewn about under ones feet, yet now a sought after material in light of the upcoming event. They set out industriously preparing their sophisticated equipment, blackening their glass shards with soot from a burning candle. Morning came, seemingly another casual day, yet a sense of something different was in the air. The streets of Radin had never been as teeming at such an early hour[6]; men, women and children were all up and about. And the sun…paraded along on its usual course, with confident strides, ascending with all its prowess, a blazing sun beating down, on the masses who had gathered, on the marketplace and on the green treetops swaying in the distance. The small narrow room was also flooded with sunlight, spreading a golden glow, as a carpet to the feet of the Chofetz Chaim, who sat in his slippers at his table, arm wrapped in the straps of his Tefillin…the straps which tied his arm to his heart…and the heart to the mind. His fist waves in the air as his voice roars “יוצר אור … Continue reading TIMELY – Fascinating Article From 1962 About The Chofetz Chaim & The Solar Eclipse Translated Into English