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Blessings of Shema: Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman: Chiddush

The 14th of Tammuz is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman: I sat down to learn with my grandfather zt”l, and continue from where we had ended the previous day. He had left me with a long list of questions that he wanted me to answer. “Zaidy, I’m sorry, but I looked all over numerous Sefarim and couldn’t find an answer,” I shamefully admitted.


“Did you daven today?”

“Of course!”

“You said the blessings of Shema?” he asked.

“Of course!”

“Did you believe what you said?” he asked.

“Of course,” I answered, despite knowing that I was about to receive a spiritual beating.

“In His goodness renews daily, perpetually, the work of creation.” “Why,” asked my grandfather, “does God renew each second of existence?”

I was too cowardly to respond.

“Because He wants His power of Chiddush, renewal, to permeate each detail and each second of creation. He wants you to connect to Chiddush, and not run to the books already printed to find answers, but to be Mechadesh your own answers! Use the blessings of Shema to connect to the power of Chiddush in your learning and in your Middos! We’ll learn when you find your own answer.” He closed his Gemara.

I was back in less than half an hour with my own answer, which he, of course, cherished, then ripped apart, and then reconstructed as a masterpiece.

I continue, more than forty years later, to keep a list of unanswered questions to review before I connect through the blessings of Shema to God as the Mechadesh, empowering my own power of Chiddush.

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