The Aish Kodesh: Holy Stubborness
In Honor of the Yahrtzeit of the Aish Kodesh: Rav Kalonimus Kalman Shapira, Piasetsna (Piacezna) Rebbe, author of Chovos Hatalmidim and Aish Kodesh (1889-1944). His father, Rav Elimelech of Grodzisk, was a direct
descendant of the Magid of Kozhnitz and of the “Noam Elimelech” of Lizhensk. He was named Kalonimus Kalman after his maternal grandfather, the Maor Vashemesh. In 1905, Rav Kalonimus Kalman married Rachel Chaya Miriam, the daughter of Rav Yerachmiel Moshe of Kozhnitz. She helped him prepare his drashas and seforim, even adding pertinent insights of her own. After the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was crushed in Nissan 1943, Rav Klonimus Kalmish was taken to the Trevaniki work camp near Lublin. Prisoners who were completely “worked out” by exhaustion and starvation were removed and sent to the Treblinka and Rav Klonimus Kalmish met his death there on 4 Cheshvan, 1944.
After the sin of the Golden Calf, God said to Moses, “Say to the Children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I ascend among you, I may annihilate you.'”(Exodus 33:5)
Moses responded, “Let my Master go among us – for it is a stiff-necked people.”(Exodus 34:9)
God’s reason was because the Children of Israel ‘are a stiff-necked people,” and Moshe argues back, “Because they are a stiff-necked people.”
There is bad stubborness and Holy Stubborness. Moses argued that the same quality is what would empower the Jews to remain faithful to God, no matter how dark the world. They would use their stubborness to hold onto their faith even when being slaughtered. The same quality that makes us stumble is the source of strength that has kept us alive as a nation despite all the horros of the ages.