Tzadikim

Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin

Talmudist and ethicist. Student of The Vilna Gaon.

Born: Volozhin, January 21, 1749
Died: Volozhin, 1821
 

Popularly known as Reb Chaim Volozhiner. Talmudist, ethicist

One of the most prominent disciples of the Vilna Gaon, Reb Chaim Volozhiner established the Yeshivah of Volozhin. It endured for more than 100 years, becoming the mother of all Lithuanian yeshivas. He continued to teach the Vilna Gaon's study method of penetrating analysis of the talmudic text, seeking to elicit the intent and meaning of the writing of the Rishonim - the early commentators. This approach was followed by all the great Lithuanian yeshivas, such as Slobodka, Mir, Kelm, Klezk, and Telz.

His major work is Nefesh HaChaim. It reflects the saintly purity of his character, his greatness in Torah, and his profound wisdom. Its purpose is "to implant the fear of G-d, Torah, and pure worship into the hearts of the upright who are seeking the ways of G-d." In his Nefesh HaChaim he emphasizes the power of Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvot to bring a Jew close to G-d. In a famous section of that work, he takes issue with those (an obvious reference to Chassidim) who see dveikut, or cleaving to G-d, as a prerequisite to fulfillment of mitzvot.

While the layman is forbidden to perform the actions of the Cohen and Levite in the physical Temple, he is by no means forbidden to perform their spiritual counterparts. Indeed, Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin,  writes in the following quote from his Nefesh HaChaim (gate 1, chapter 4) that the layman Jew is supposed to perform the spiritual counterpart of the physical Temple service. This is the responsibility and duty of every Jew. "Do not think that the purpose of the building of the tabernacle (was for the sake of) having an external building. Rather, know that HaShem's desire and purpose (in the building of) the tabernacle, and all its vessels was to hint to us that we should observe them and learn that (like the tabernacle vessels), it is we ourselves that are to be the tabernacle (of the Shekhina).
We, by our admirable actions must be a tabernacle, full of all its vessels, all being holy, worthy, and ready to have the Shekhina dwell within us specifically. This is the meaning of the verse, "Make for Me a tabernacle, and I will dwell within them" (Shemot 25, 8). "Within them" specifically, for as HaShem has shown us the order of the building of the tabernacle, so should we learn, and make ourselves to be the tabernacle of HaShem."

On Suffering...

Rabbi Chaim of Volozin, explains this idea by a parable about a child seriously ill and plunged in a deep sleep. The doctors warn the father that if sleep continues, the worst can happen and that everything has to be done to keep the son awake. The father uses several means to disturb his sleep. He first removes his pillow, then he replaces his soft bed with a hard couch. Since this causes only a momentary awakening of the child followed by a new deep sleep, the father starts to take more radical measures to an extent of even torturing him by laying him on a bed of thorns. The suffering of the father who, out of love for his son, has to act with cruelty, is not less than that of the son. Once the latter is healed, he will redouble his love and attachment to his father, in gratitude for the sufferings he made him endure to save him.

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Rabbi Chaim of Volozin wrote a commentary on Tractate Avot, entitled Ru'ach Chaim, and a collection of responsa under the title Nishmat Chaim. Nefesh HaChaim became the most widely studied text in the Mussar yeshivas.

The ever-increasing number of great yeshivas in America, England, and Israel are carrying on the tradition of Volozhin. They are a living testimonial to its illustrious founder, Reb Chaim Volozhiner.


May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, protect us all, Amen.

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  • Soul Elevations

    • Malka bat Sarah
    • Shlomo Yitzchak ben Sarah
    • Heather Kroamer bat Ruth
    • Kayla bat Peppi
    • ZLATA KHAZINA bat Sarah
    • DAVID GIDALEVSKIY ben Avraham
    • Ruchel bat Kayla
    • GUADALUPE ARGIMIRO CABRERA GARCIA ben Leandro Cabrera
    • שיינה מינדל בת ר' יחיאל הלל
    • MERCEDES YOLANDA CABRERA GARCIA bat Mercedes García
    • Ester bat Abraham bat Abraham Avinu
    • María Oralia Hernández Garza bat María de Jesús Garza Hernández
    • Moshe Yitzchak ben Malka
    • Yoel ben Hannah Shifra
    • VELVEL ROYTMAN ben Avraham
    • William Yady ben Avraham
    • Zalman ben Sarah
    • Lucia bat Jose
    • רבי יחיאל הלל בן רבי יעקב
  • Healing

    • MARTHA ELOINA GOMEZ HERNANDEZ bat ROSA
    • SPYRIDON ben VICTORIA
    • Miriam bat Sarah
    • Yolanda bat Olga
    • Oneida Yanira bat Milila
    • Leah Yehudis bat Tziporah Rochel
    • Shmuel ben Manya
    • יהושע פאליק בן הרב יחיאל הלל
    • Isaac Benyamin ben Chanah Hinda
    • Sarah bat Luiza
    • Jackie bat Bertha
    • Yehoshua ben Hannah
    • Efrat bat Ziona
    • Robert Eugene ben Marie
    • Sean ben Gloria
    • Sarah bat Myriam
    • Ruth bat Carmen
    • Luiz ben Maria
    • Sarah bat Luiza
    • Avrohom Yaakov ben Rochel
    • Lois Pat Sabbah bat Stolitzky bat Ferstandig
    • Esther bat Monica
    • Zalman ben Ruchel
    • Melissa Lewis bat Barbara Indra
  • Success in life

    • Carol Cari Chanah Dinah, Isaac Benyamin and family ben Joseph and Mordechai
    • Erika Olsen ben Howard William Cooley
    • Debbie bat Ralph
    • Oneida Yanira bat Milila
    • Aryeh Izthak ben David
    • Frances bat Fransico
    • Ingrid bat Horst
    • Carol Chanah Dinah bat Joseph
    • Isaac Benjamin ben Mordechai
    • GRACIELA bat ISMAEL
    • Mishpacha Rochel bas Zahava bas Molly/Milka/Malka bas Devora Gelia bat Dovid ben Yoseph v Rochel
    • Rivka bat Joseph
    • ELSA CABRERA DE LA GARZA bat DANNIELA
    • Augusto ben Salvador R. Hernandez
    • Elisheba bat William Yady
    • ELSA CABRERA DE LA GARZA bat DANNIELA
    • Moshe Wolf aka Jetro da Silva ben Matilda
    • Florrie Sésé bat Kae
    • Sarita Mazal bat Moises Jacobo
    • Wanda Jean bat Glen
    • SPYRIDON DIAMANTIDIS ben ADAMANDIOS
    • ANANDA MICHELLE CABRERA DE LA GARZA bat DANNIELA
    • Elton ben Marshall
    • Sarita Mazal, Bastien Benyamin, Jonah Yehiel, Isla Bib Chanah bat Moshe Jacob and Carol Chanah Dinah Leibel and Shanah
    • Arik ben John Ambrose
    • Amir ben Shlomo
    • Tzivia Gallegos bat Dionicio
    • Luiz ben Lino
    • Sarah bat Primo
    • אסתר בת אברהם
    • Sarah Hannah ben Moshe
    • NSAMA ben CHAMA
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