Posts Tagged ‘Tefillin on Chol Hamoed’

How Rav Akiva Eiger got his Chassidishe son in law to put on tefillin on Chol Hamoed – מעשה רב בענין הנחת תפילין בחוה”מ ושאר דברים מהגאון רע”א

April 21, 2011

לכבוד היום, which is the first day of חוה”מ פסח in the diaspora, there is a very interesting story, which רבש”ה mentioned in a shiur, which I think is worthy of repetition, especially in view of the fact that it seemingly happened this very day (or tomorrow), the first day of חוה”מ פסח outside ארצנו הקדושה, approximately one hundred and eighty years ago.  Here it is, together with some thoughts and comments.

The great רב עקיבא איגר, mechaber of דרוש וחידוש רע”א, וכו, had a Chassidishe son in law (according to the sefer referenced below, he actually had sixteen children, listed in footnote nine here), a great תלמיד חכם by the name of Rav Chaim Shmuel Birnbaum. He was from Poland, of a Kozhnitzer Chassidic background.

רע”א took him as a son in law (I guess he aced the farher ;-), and supported the new couple for a number of years after the חתונה, during which רח”ש studied Torah in Posen, where רע”א was מרא דאתרא. Some of his תורה was later published in a sefer called שו”ת רחש לבב.

The different backgrounds of the shver and eidem (father in law and son in law) led to some interesting interactions, such as one which occurred the first חוהמ”פ the son in law spent in Posen with his great father in law, which the former recalled some forty years later.

Here is what happened, as recorded in the foreword to the aforementioned sefer.

The first חוה”מ פסח that he spent with רע”א, he relates, he did not put on תפילין, since his father and the other Chassidim had stopped doing so, as per Chassidic custom. רע”א noticed his lack of adornment and was quite disturbed by it. He objected strongly, stating that the Torah leaders of אשכנז and surrounding lands accepted on themselves and their children the pesak of the רמ”א, not to deviate from it right or left, להקל או להחמיר (see the actual words in לשון קודש to get a sense of their power), and the רמ”א had  paskened clearly that תפילין should be worn.

And the son in law’s reaction? So he says, I listened to his holy word. Even though it was difficult for me to change from what I was accustomed to doing. He listened to the holy words of his shver, from then on, and put on tefillin on חול המועד (without a ברכה however, and with a תנאי, see his words).

We see from this story how firm the great Rav Akiva Eiger was that one must follow the pesak of the רמ”א and wear tefillin on chol hamoed, עד כדי כך that he got his Chassidishe son in law to do so as well. Rav Akiva Eiger was aware of those who felt otherwise, but he insisted that the פסק of the רמ”א must be carried out. And we see the greatness of the son in law as well. זכותם תגן עלינו.

May we be zoche to learn from them and have a proper חוה”מ.