Monday, March 22, 2010

The Very Non-Fundie Thing That A Very Fundie Rabbi Says

A Guest Post By E. Fink

Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman is one of the Torah leaders of Bnei Brak, Litvishe, Torah Jewry. He is the Rosh Yeshiva of the prominent Ponevezh Yeshiva and is almost universally considered one of the greatest Torah scholars and authorities for haredi Jews of our generation.

His Torah insights are very keen and elegant in their simplicity. When I was studying Talmud full time in Yeshiva, his Ayeles Hashachar on Talmud was an indispensable book by my side. Recently, Ayeles Hashachar has been published on Chumash. I scooped up a set in hope that it would be as useful in my study of Chumash as it was for me in my study of Talmud.

This past week I was preparing my regular Shabbos Drasha and I took a look at Ayeles Hashachar on Vayikra. The very first "piece" (that's a loose translation of "shtickle") surprised me.

The Baal Haturim comments on the well know "small aleph" in the opening word of Vayikra that "Moshe wanted to write Vayikar the same way the Torah records the way God appeared to Bilaam as if it was "mikra", "happenstance". But God wants the aleph to spell vayikra which connotes a deeper, intended conversation. And Moshe decided to write the aleph but he wrote it small."

So Rav Shteinman concludes that it must be that Moshe had discretion as to whether he wanted to write the letters large, small or regular sized.

Didn't see that coming, did you?

Search for more information about Moshe making choices about how to write the Torah at

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