Yartzeit of R Naftoli Amsterdam, this Shabbos Kodesh

Tomorrow, the sixth of Adar, is the yahrzeit of HaRav Naftoli Amsterdam, Z’tl, one of the leading disciples of Rebbe Yisroel Salanter, Z’tl. HaRav Naftoli was a tzadik and talmid chacham of great stature (serving as a Rav in various cities in Europe), whose astounding humility brought him to become a “baker” in Yerushalayim. Below are but a few brief excerpts about his teachings from Sparks of Mussar by Rabbi Chaim Zaitchik, Shlita, which are brought both L’Ilui Nishmaso and for us, to once again, attempt to touch the Midos of the Tzadikim in our own way:

1. Two things are necessary for man’s self-perfection. One is to arouse and inspire himself. The other, by far the harder, is to carry out his good resolutions and retain the inspiration when it comes down to action.

2. A Jew once came before him asking for the “permission of a hundred rabbis” necessary to take a second wife without divorcing the first. In the course of talking, the man spoke badly of his wife. R’ Naftoli interrupted him and asked, “Have you already received the permission of a hundred rabbis to violate the prohibition of Loshon Hora?”

3. When serving as Rabbi, he never sat in the front rows of the Shul, but fixed his place among the common folk. When he served as Ray of Helsinki, he always entered the Shul with a Sefer under his arm. In that way when the congregation rose as he entered, it could be that they were honoring the holy Sefer rather than himself.

4. A resolution to bring all of Jewry back to the Torah was found in his satchel. When asked how he planned to carry out this resolution, he replied, “I have resolved to keep all the laws of the Shulchan Aruch strictly. In this way I will serve as a living Shulchan Aruch, and anyone who wants to keep the Torah will be able to see in me a living example of a complete Jew and learn from me how to return to the Torah.”

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