Siyum 13 at MetLife Stadium: Bringing Koras Ruach to Our Rebbe
About two-and-one-half months ago, I visited Rebbe’s kever on Har Hamenuchos. And naturally, one of the first things I did was to thank him once again for initiating the Daf Hayomi program almost 100 years ago…
Rebbe and his saintly brother, Harav Avrohom, are ensconced in a white stone building from which you can clearly see the adjoining cemetery of Har Tamir. (The Rebbetzin, who died just months after her famous husband, is still buried in Poland.) I cannot begin to describe the feeling of awe which thrilled through me when I entered the sepulcher. I paused in deep awe while standing before the resting place of the man who had utterly changed my life since I entered a Daf Hayomi program in the Midwest back in ’84.
But, honestly, this article is not about how “doing the Daf” has changed me. No, it’s about how we might actually have brought Harav R’ Meir Shapiro, “Father of the Daf Hayomi,” some extra-special koras ruach—that is, contentment, satisfaction, or gratification.
Strange term: koras ruach! It figures prominently in Pirkei Avos 4: 17 and in Yevamos 63b. Now, in Yevamos, it refers to the unique contentment which a person has derived from his first spouse. But in Avos, the Tanna Rabbi Ya’akov employs “koras ruach” to refer to the gratification of an hour spent in Olam Haba, which is greater than all the contentment one obtains in Olam Hazeh.
Wow! Isn’t that an apt description of what we attendees felt for more than four-and-one-half hours in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford? Talk about koras ruach, will you!
Interestingly enough, etymologically the term “koras ruach” seems to be defining satisfaction as a kind of “coldness of the spirit.” That’s perfectly OK with me, since kawl atzmosai tomarnah exactly the same thing that day! But I have yet to meet anyone who was seriously hampered by the winter cold during that January 1 experience. Why, even, my young grandchildren were transfixed, neither minding nor bitterly complaining about the quasi-frigid atmosphere that they were, oh! so privileged to inhabit. No wonder: Their young neshamos had achieved a great, overwhelmingly dynamic spirit of a soul supremely (and ironically) at rest—a classic case of having reached the level of genuine koras ruach.
Korach ruach, yes! Cold comfort, no! For the English expression “cold comfort” denotes having practically no satisfaction at all! But such was definitely not the case here.
Indeed, I am almost 100% certain that as we all participated in the Grand Siyum a week or so ago, there must have been a glow emanating from a certain section of the cemetery of Har Hamenuchos. No, it wouldn’t have been a warm, agitating luminescence. Instead, it would have been a bold, cold radiance—the koras ruach that we the spiritual descendents of Harav Hagaon R’ Meir Shapiro had brought to his kever by way of remuneration that January afternoon and had protracted through our individual siyumim and subsequent celebrations (such as the one pictured here involving the participants in the Daf Hayomi shiurim so expertly delivered by various superb lamdanim at Harav Yechezkel Eichenstein’s shul, Kahal Tiferes Avrohom D’Zidichov, on Avenue P—right here in Marine Park).
Koras ruach, Olam Haba? At MetLife Stadium last week, we were graciously privileged to sample them both.
Accordingly, a hearty y’yasher kochacha to you, our dear Rebbe, Harav Meir Shapiro!
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