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The Letters Are Still Flying

The Letters Are Still Flying

Nisraf Vesefer Torah Imo

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"צוה להוציא רבי חנניא בן תרדיון מבית אולמו... מיד נשרף וספר תורה עמו"
“The tyrant commanded them to bring out Rabbi Chananya ben Teradyon... he was immediately consumed with the Torah Scroll [in which he was wrapped].”

QUESTION: Rabbi Chananya ben Teradyon was one of the ten martyrs who were killed by the Roman government. His body was wrapped in a Sefer Torah and consumed by fire. While he was experiencing excruciating pain, his students asked him, “Our teacher, what do you see?” He responded, “I see the parchment being burnt and the letters flying into the sky” (Avodah Zarah 18a). What did he mean to convey by telling them this vision?

ANSWER: He meant that all attempts of the gentile world to destroy the Jewish community and the Torah would fail. Even at a time when the “parchment” (the Jewish community) was being destroyed, the “letters” of Torah would ascend and be transferred to another part of the world, where another Jewish community would be built anew.

(מצאתי בכתבי אבי הרב שמואל פסח ז"ל באגאמילסקי)

This has been true throughout the history of the Jewish people. Our generation witnessed a holocaust where a tyrant sought to eradicate the Jewish people. Miraculously, the survivors have reestablished themselves in other parts of the world and have succeeded in building new citadels of Torah learning which are, thank G‑d, greater and larger than the ones destroyed.


Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky has been a pulpit rabbi for over thirty years, and is author of more than ten highly acclaimed books on the Parshiot and holidays. His Parshah series, Vedibarta Bam, can be purchased here.
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