Sunday, April 8, 2007

Chagiga Kickoff

The Menoras HaMaor quotes the Medrash Tanchumah, which does not appear in our version of Tanchumah, as follows:

There was once a pious man who was secluded in a certain area and he studied Masechet Chagigah. He would study the Masechet over and over, until he learned it so well and he was so familiar with the Masechet. He did not know any other Masechet in the Talmud, and he would only study Masechet Chagigah. When he departed the world, he was alone and there was no one who knew of his passing. The apparition of a woman arrived and stood before him, and she raised her voice in wailing and eulogy. She moaned and cried so loud until a crowd gathered. She then told the people who had gathered, “Eulogize this pious man and bury him and show honor to his coffin and you will all merit the World to Come. The reason I ask you to do this is because he honored me his entire life and I was not forsaken and forgotten.” Immediately all the women came and sat with her and they made a great eulogy and the men took care of the deceased’s shrouds and all of his burial needs. They then buried him with great honor and the woman was wailing and crying. The people asked her, “What is your name?” She responded, “My name is Chagigah.” Subsequent to the man’s burial, the woman disappeared from view. Immediately the people understood that she was really Masechet Chagigah, who appeared in the image of a woman. She had appeared at the time of the man’s death so that he would be eulogized and cried over, and that he would receive an honorable burial. This was all due to the fact that he had constantly studied Masechet Chagigah and was diligent in studying it. This teaches us a kal vachomer: If this pious man who only studied one tractate received all this honor, then certainly if one studies much Torah and teaches Torah to others, and gains many students, certainly he will earn a great reward.


Yosef said...

Great site. Where is the source in menoras ha'maor?

Anonymous said...

Menoras Hamaor 213. thanks