"Those who do good for the community are like stars,"
is an often-quoted saying from the Book of Daniel (12;3).

An insight into this was given by Rabbi Simcha Wasserman, ztzal, (yarzeit: 2 Cheshvan) focusing on the nature of a star: "The distance of a star is measured in light-years. Thus a star which is light-years away will still be seen although it has been extinguished and is no longer there.

"In the same manner, the light generated by those tzadikim (righteous individuals) who spend every minute of their lives giving to others continues to shine on after they are gone."

In this space we offer an exploration into the lives of various great Torah personalities. These are people who lived in the recent or even in the far distant past whose lights are still shining. They provide inspiration to many, illuminating the deepest parts of our souls and minds.

We make our explorations on the days of their yahrzeits --the anniversaries of their death.

We find that in the Book of Kings, the prophet Elijah, just prior to his passing from this world, makes a promise to his devoted disciple Elisha. "If you will see me taken away from you, you will receive double my portion." This is interpreted by the traditional commentators as referring to the ability to expand one's vision beyond the immediate physical death, reaching out to study the life of the deceased and his deeds forever after, and especially on the anniversary of his death. The reward will be a "double portion," -- retention of the great man's lessons although he is no longer able to physically teach us.

It is noteworthy that in the Tractate Yevamos of the Babylonian Talmud, (pg. 122a), there is reference made to a day of gathering. It is explained by Rashi as referring to the anniversary of a great Rabbi's death when his students gathered to study his teachings.

On this site one can find a listing of various tzadikim whose yahrzeits are in that month. Some of them are highlighted, and more information is provided there, enabling us to catch some rays from their lives, immortalizing them before us.

(c Rabbi Shlomo Ashkenazy, 1996)


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