Page 35 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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15
A
gnon
— H
ebrew
A
uthors
and
H
oly
W
riting
H
oly
F
umes
Before Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav departed from this world,
he left instructions to burn all his writings which, secreted in a
special box, no one had been permitted to read. Immediately
after his soul left him and his clothes were being removed, Rabbi
Simeon hastened to open the box, took out all the hidden manu-
scripts, carried them to the stove, built a fire, and consigned them
to the flames. I followed after him, in order to snuff the sacred
fumes of the awesome Torah whose enjoyment was denied to
our generation. (Yeme Maharnat)
“L
over
of
I
srael
When the book
Lover of Israel
appeared, a sigh was heard in
the celestial Library, “Alas, how can this book enter, with all the
bookcases crammed full?” Two books,
Noam Elimelekh
and
Kedushat Levi,
exclaimed: “We shall shrink ourselves to make
room for the book of our colleague Rabbi Joshua Heschel, for
he was a lover of Israel.”
A
B
ook
of
C
harities
The devout Rabbi Isaac of Neshchiz, of blessed memory, was
gifted with an elegant penmanship. Throughout his life he kept
meticulous records of the amounts he gave to charity, but he
never indicated the name of the recipients. (Zikhron Tov)
T
he
C
elestial
D
epository
Said Rabbi Ishmael: Metatron, chief of all the angels, told me
there is a prince-on-high, superior to all the ministering angels,
who oversees the celestial depository of books and documents. I t
is his task to open the cases, remove the books and bring them
to the Holy One, blessed be He, Who hands them to the scribes.
They, in turn, read them in the Great Upper Court before the
entire Heavenly Household. (Seder Ruhot, Bet ha־Midrash Heder
Hamishi)
T
he
J
udge
of
N
at ions
Rabbi Abahu said in the name of Rabbi Eliezer: The Holy
One, blessed be He, inscribes on His cloak of purple the names
of all the righteous slain by gentile nations, as it is written
(Psalms 110.6), “He will judge among the nations.’' When He
confronts them, “Why did you slay My righteous ones such as
Rabbi Hananya ben Teradyon and the countless others who died
in sanctification of My Name?” the nations deny their guilt.