Rabbi Chaim ben Atar, the “Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh”, passed away 276 years ago, today. He was born in Morocco, a great Torah commentator, who made Aliyah to Israel with great effort and was admired by all Jewish ethnic groups and religious communities. Here is a chance to learn, on his Yahrzeit, four ideas from his immense literary work:
- “The beastly does not change from the way it was when it was born, but this is not true for humans – they change and go up from one level to a higher level”. That is, the beast stays on the same level in which it was born, but man’s job is to get better and rise up higher throughout his life.
- “We are commanded to toil in the Torah in order to fathom its depth. We must not feel content with the superficial level of things, but rather strive for its wisdom and for a deep understanding of it” – already some 300 years ago he cautioned us against superficiality, against Torah learning that does not reach deep to its wisdom and to a thoughtful observation of it.
- “If people would have felt the sweetness and the pleasantness of the Torah – they would madly search and strive and be passionate about studying Torah… Because the Torah includes all the good things that are in the world.” – The good which is in the Torah already exists, one must only feel it
- “And you shall love your fellow man as yourself – because through him you complete your wholeness and perfection” – the other is part of you. He does not interfere with you, but rather helps you reach perfection yourself.
In his memory.