web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Kidz
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The Shaagas Aryeh


Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Share Button

Reb Aryeh Leib, the author of the Shaagas Aryeh, was one of the great minds of all times. His genius led him to be very impatient with people, especially with communal leaders who were not worthy of their exalted positions. Because of this he was seldom able to remain as rav in one town for very long, and spent much of his life wandering from city to city, in great poverty.

Once, when he reached the city of Koenigsberg, he came to the home of the rav of the city, the great Reb Aryeh Leib Epstein, author of Sefer Hapardes.

Great Debate

Without bothering to introduce himself, the Shaagas Aryeh, began a complicated discussion with the rav of Koenigsberg.

Both giants of Torah rose higher and higher in the intellectual battle, each one asking and the other answering. Finally, the Shaagas Aryeh gained the upper hand and asked a seemingly triumphant question.

The rav of Koenigsberg, however, reached for a sefer on the table and said, “I will answer you from here.” And he proceeded to give an answer from the sefer he held in his hand. It was the Shaagas Aryeh.

When Reb Aryeh Leib saw this he cried out in protest, “You do not understand what the author of the sefer meant! I know what he really wrote.”

Recognized Him

The rav of Koenigsberg looked into the eyes of the stranger and saw them burning with a strange and mysterious fire. He suddenly realized that here was the Shaagas Aryeh himself!

“Forgive me,” he cried out, “for not recognizing you.” And rushing out, he ordered that a special room be set aside for his great guest. He insisted that the Shaagas Aryeh remain, and every day he would sit with him and discuss Torah for hours.

A Call From Metz

Several weeks later, a letter arrived for the rav of Koenigsberg from the community of Metz in the Rhine Valley. This city was a great center of Torah in those days. Indeed, in the Middle Ages, it’s rav had been the famous Rabi Eliezer of Metz, the student of the great Rabbeinu Tam and the author of the stupendous work Sefer Yereim.

Opening the letter, the rav of Koenigsberg saw that the leaders of the Metz community had invited him to be their rav. It was a great honor but Reb Aryeh Leib of Koenigsberg never hesitated. He knew what had to be done.

Chooses Shaagas Aryeh

Taking Reb Aryeh Leib, the Shaagas Aryeh, by the hand, he said, “Your Torah proclaims your greatness and your awe of G-d is greater even than your wisdom. You are also strong and unafraid. Because of this it is only proper that you sit upon the chair of the rabbinate of Metz, the position that the great Reb Eliezer once held.”

And this is how the Shaagas Aryeh, at the age of 70, became the rav of Metz.

Looks Old

The community of Metz was overjoyed to have the great Torah giant as their rav but they were also a bit sad when they saw Reb Aryeh Leib. For he looked so old that they feared that he would not be with them for long.

But Reb Aryeh Leib looked at the communal leaders and, understanding what they were thinking, said, “I know that you are thinking that I am very old and not likely to live many more years. But let me assure you that just as Yaakov told Pharaoh that he was not as old as he looked but he had aged from all his suffering, I can also say the same. I am not as old as I look; I have only aged from all my wanderings and troubles. I assure you that I will be with you for another 20 years.”

And Reb Aryeh Leib proved to be a true prophet. He lived another 20 years as rav of Metz and died at the age of 90.

How He Died

Tradition tells us that Reb Aryeh Leib did not die from old age, but from in a remarkable accident.

The Vilna Gaon once said that the Shaagas Aryeh had the entire Talmud and its commentaries at his fingertips and that he could relate the gist of all of them and their sources in one hour.

It was only at rare intervals that the great Reb Aryeh Leib found it necessary to look at a certain book to check a point. It happened once when he was 90 – a certain point remained a bit obscure in his mind and he went over to the bookcase to look it up.

As he reached up to pull out the sefer, the entire bookcase suddenly toppled over and fell on him, pinning him down. It was not till the following morning that Reb Aryeh Leib was found buried under a whole bookcase filled with sefarim.

Made Peace With All But One

In critical condition, Reb Aryeh Leib was carried to his bed where he lay for a few moments in silence. Then he opened his eyes and smiled, saying, “All the sefarim with which I differed and overruled fell upon me last night. As I lay there I made peace with all of them except for that stubborn man, Reb Mordechai, author of the Levush. He refused to forgive me and so I must now depart this world.”

And with these words the great Reb Aryeh Leib’s soul left his body.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Shaagas Aryeh”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Kidz Stories
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“The mitzvah of drawing water for the baking of the matzah for the Seder comes only once a year. I do not care to share it with a horse.’’

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Tales of the Gaonim-logo

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

The Jewish people are hardly strangers to persecution and tyranny. When we hear of the complaints of other peoples, we smile bitterly and wonder: What do they know of persecution? What do they know of tragedy and bitterness? We are a people who have experienced oppression for centuries and have drunk deeply of the bitter cup of woe.

Although Daniel was the chief minister in Bavel, he could not eradicate the custom practiced in many provinces of worshipping idols. In the capital city there was a statue of Baal and more and more people began to worship it. Even the king was beginning to believe in its power.

There was once a tzaddik from Poland, Reb Velveli, who decided to settle in Eretz Yisrael. The land was poor and inhabited by very few people, but he and his wife had such love for the land that they were willing to suffer privation and hunger just to be one of its citizens.

Through the influence of Daniel, one of Nevuchadnezar’s ministers, his three companions, Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah were appointed as governors over various provinces in Bavel.

The stories concerning Rav Naftali of Ropshitz are quite numerous and reveal his sharp biting wit. Rav Naftali was often persecuted and sneered at by misnagdim but the sharp mind with which he was blessed always served him in good stead in finding proper answers.

In the third year of the reign of Yehoyakim, melech Yehuda, Nevuchadnezzar, melech Bavel, lay siege to Yerushalayim and conquered it. He took many treasures from the Beis HaMikdash back with him to the land of Shinar.

Reb Moshe Chaim Ephraim, the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, was a deeply learned man who took his sources and admonitions from the Torah.

In the city of Antioch there lived a man of remarkable generosity by the name of Aba Yehudah. He was a man who gave to all, whenever there was a need. Rabi Yehoshua and several other rabbanim arrived in the city one day on an urgent mission to collect money for the unfortunate needy. They knew that Aba Yehudah always gave a generous contribution so they looked forward to seeing him.

More Articles from Rabbi Sholom Klass
Tales of the Gaonim-logo

“The mitzvah of drawing water for the baking of the matzah for the Seder comes only once a year. I do not care to share it with a horse.’’

Tales-of-The-Midrash-logo

“You speak foolishly, daughter, how is it possible for a man who has not eaten for 10 years to live?”

With enthusiasm, zemiros that had been purposefully collected for the evening were chanted.

Bnei Yisrael marched out of Mitzrayim with a mighty hand under their great leader Moshe. This was not, however, their first attempt to escape from Mitzrayim and return to the land that G-d had promised their fathers.

Rabi Pinchas’ piety and honesty were known far and wide. He would often say, “Even though our Sages (Yevamot 65b) declared that to preserve the peace, a person may change his words to fit the situation, I will never utter a false word regardless of the consequences.” If he heard that one of his followers had uttered a false word, he would expel him from his presence.

When Bnei Yisrael returned to their homeland they were a poor and weak group of people. Because of the great number of enemies and wild animals that had inhabited the land during their exile, they huddled together in a few areas, like Yerushalayim, in order to find protection.

But not everyone is destined to taste of the fruit of this world and to enjoy its vintage. Among the inhabitants of this town lived a poor man, Nachumka.

In the midst of his merrymaking, the king ordered his servants to bring out the golden vessels that were taken from the Beit HaMikdash by his father Nevuchadnezzar. The king and his men drank from them and praised the gods of gold and silver.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/tales-of-the-gaonim/the-shaagas-aryeh/2012/05/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: