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The Professor from the Paris-Sorbonne's Remark

Published on Monday July 8th, 2019

Shlomo Moshe, a friendly young man, had come from Morocco to Israel with the fervent desire to become a Torah scholar. This era - the 1950s - was that of the early days of the state, and it was marked by a precarious security situation, and great waves of Aliyah from North Africa. The young Shlomo Moshe knew that the danger at home was more serious than the danger from the outside. The campaign to bury religion, led by the Zionist movement, was ruining and threatening all good intentions. Hundreds upon thousands of Jews had been snatched up by the Zionist wave and sent to villages and youth movements, where every trace of Jewish identity was quickly lost, and young people were blinded, and were attracted to all the vanities of this world.

With the help of G-d, with much inspiration and due to the ambition of an uncompromising youth, Shlomo Moshe managed to get into the excellent Yeshiva Tiferet Tzion, founded under the impetus of the Chazon Ish to integrate the young immigrants, and save them from the Zionist's grip that had then penetrated into Sephardic youth circles. Indeed, the Sephardic youths were ensnared by this movement, which led to their spiritual destruction. The grace of this young man conquered the hearts of all who met him, and in particular that of the Gaon Rav Shmariyahu Greinman, one of the greatest Talmidei Chachamim (Torah scholar) of the generation who took him under his wing. He admired the brilliant spirit, the loyalty, and the integrity of the young man, and he used to hug him warmly, and to distract him with Talmudic debates from the Gemara. The young man from Morocco was lively and very intelligent, and, thanks to his good memory, he remembered many things from the whole Talmud; and the two men had stormy debates on various interpretations of Abaye and Rava. Rabbi Shmariyahu told anyone who would listen that this young man would become a great Torah scholar.

One day, Rav Shmariyahu was taken to the hospital. After having undergone various examinations, it was decided, after consultation with the Chazon Ish, to take him by plane to France, to a world-renowned doctor, a specialist in his field who would be able to help the Rav. The parting exchange between the young man and his Rav were moving. Young Shlomo Moshe did not stop praying and reciting Tehillim for the healing of his mentor. A few weeks later, Rav Greinman was back, cheerful and healthier. After a few days of rest, Shlomo Moshe wished to visit the Rav, to try to cheer him up as much as possible. His eyes shone with emotion as the door opened, he entered his house and sat next to his bed.

''Tell me, my young friend," began Rav Greinman, "have you recently studied the treatise of Gittin?

"Yes," he replied.

- Do you know chapter x well?

- Yes.

- Have you grasped page x?

- Yes. It seems to me that I have seen it several times.

- Do you remember what Tossefot says at the beginning?

- Yes, I remember, Kvod Harav.

- If so, repeat the words of the Tossefot now by heart.

The young Shlomo Moshe repeated the words of the Tossefot almost word for word ... Then Rav Greinman noted a difficulty in the words of the Tossefot and asked his young friend to answer the difficulty. "In fact," replied the young man, "your Kushia (question), Kvod Harav, is asked by the Maharshal on this Tossefot, and he resolves this Kushia in the following way ..." The Rav's face lit up, he smiled, tasting the happiness of learning Torah. Shlomo Moshe timidly asked the Rav why he was so happy; indeed, this Sugia was well known and there was no novelty here, the Kushia and its explanation were known.

"Indeed, my friend," said the Rav, "during my medical intervention in France, I met a Goy (non-Jew), a professor holding 13 degrees from the Sorbonne University. After making sure that I was Jewish, he asked me if I learnt Torah. I told him that all my relatives are dedicated to learning Torah. He then asked me the great Kushia on the words of the Tossefot. But the interpretation of the Maharshal escaped my mind at that moment. After thinking for a few minutes, I told the non-Jewish professor the Maharshal's answer."

Shlomo Moshe's eyes widened, expressing his astonishment: "I do not understand, Kvod Harav tells me that a non-Jew from France posed a Kushia extracted from the words of Tossefot in the treatise of Gtitin, however to ask this he would have to know what Rashi says about he Sugia, and to know perfectly the simple meaning of Sugia in all its aspects ... It is very difficult for me to believe this…". "Yes, my friend, that is exactly what happened. The non-Jewish professor knew the Sugia very well, like one of ours ... I was also surprised by this and I questioned the Goy. He replied: "I am a very famous scientist in France and throughout the world. A few years ago, I met a group of Jewish scientists who were studying and debating a book ...

I questioned them about the subject of their argument, and they answered me: "There is a book of the Talmud here, and this book contains all the wisdom of the world. "All the wisdom?'' "Yes," replied the Jewish scholars, "everything is included here, and our Talmud is in fact a point of connection with the divine intelligence; with Him who said," And the world shall be." Curiosity piqued me and I decided to study the "Jewish science" found in this strange book. I began to learn the Hebrew alphabet, then the writings of Rashi and from there, the Chumash, verse by verse, the Tanach and the Mishnayot, and then Gemara. I discovered, Kvod Harav, that what the scientists said is true, all the sciences are in the Talmud. Astronomy, physics, chemistry, medicine, geology, geography, forecasting the future, the mysteries of the past. EVERYTHING! And since then I have been constantly studying the Talmud day and night. As if caught in a fit of madness, I go from one treatise to another, I go through the words of the Rishonim (First Decision-makers) and those of the Acharonim (Final Decision-makers), I stop at every detail. Since I discovered that all knowledge was in the Talmud, I do not open any science books. Only Gemara! No need to open other books ... "

"And then," continued Rav Greinman, "the non-Jew suddenly started shouting. "Shmariyahu, why do you eat and drink, how do you have the insolence not to learn Gemara?" If you knew the depth of the Gemara, the prodigious and infinite wisdom that can be found in its pages, you would not sleep, you would be immersed from one morning until the next morning ... I ask you about a little difficulty in the Tossefot and you have to think about it? Is that how we learn, Shmariyahou? Like that? "

With this severe reprimand, the non-Jew rebuked the Gaon Rav Shmariyahou Greinman... These words are loud and terrifying.

This incredible story was recently told by Rishon L’Tzion, the Gaon Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, during a Siyum (ceremony celebrating the end of a study) of Shass by the Yeshiva of Tiferet Lemoshe in Netanya. Rishon L’Tzion is the young protagonist of our story, who heard these words from the holy mouth of Rav Greinman zatsal himself, who experienced the stern reprimand from the professor of the Sorbonne.

"Dear Jews! Why do Bitul Torah (wasting time that should be used to learn Torah)? Although the non-Jew remains, what will happen to us? "

Needless to say more ...

Koby LEVY - © Torah-Box

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