Wednesday, October 02, 2013

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The Nesivos

via Lma’an Yishme’u

Known by his sefer called the "Nesivos", Reb Yaakov of Lisa was a great gaon and Rov. Reb Yaakov learned under the tutelage of the gaon Reb Meshulam Igra and later became the Rov in Lisa. His seforim are learned in all yeshivos, including the works called "Nesivos Hamishpat", "Chavas Daas", "Mekor Chaim", and "Toras Gittin". Reb Yaakov also wrote a sefer "Derech Hachaim", dealing with basic halachos of day-to-day life. The sefer was printed many times and became very popular. Reb Avraham Dovid Lavut noted where the Alter Rebbe argues and printed it with his Shaar Hakolel. The Nesivos passed away 25 Iyar, תקצ"ב.

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The Gerrer Rebbe, the Chidushei Harim, had tremendous respect for the Nesivos. He related that when Reb Yaakov traveled to Liza to accept the position as Rov the townspeople greeted him at the city limits. Among the people was a man who sold tar. The man approached Reb Yaakov and commented about a point in the pilpul he had delivered to the lomdim of the town. It took no time to notice that this pitch-selling man was a very big talmid chocham.

To everyone's surprise, Reb Yaakov asked his wagon driver to turn the wagon around; he was leaving Lisa. Reb Yaakov explained that if even the pitch-seller was such a lamdan, it was obvious to him that he was not worthy of being the Rov in such a place. Only after the townspeople made it clear to the Rov that this man was an exception did he agree to stay.

When telling the story, Gerrer Rebbe concluded with the lesson that there is no shame in one's type of work, as Chazal tell us.

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In Reb Yaakov's later years, his son-in-law, Reb Elazar Paltusker, asked him a halachic question. After giving his psak, Reb Yaakov remembered that in one of his seforim he had ruled otherwise. Immediately made a public announcement that since his memory seemed to be dulled he will no longer make any halachic rulings. Such was the honesty and truthfulness of the Nesivos

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