Parsha Mitzvot: Shemini: Mitzvah 158 – Concept 321: Rav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander
The 18th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Chanoch Henoch (ben Pinchas) HaKohen of Alexander (1798-1870). A direct descendent of the Shach, he was a disciple of Rav Simcha Bunam of Pshis’cha, Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and the Chidushei HaRim. [Adar II]
“Do not drink intoxicating wine, you and your sons with you, when you come to the Tent of Meeting, that you not die; this is an eternal decree for your generations (Vayikra 10:9).” A Kohen must not enter the Temple intoxicated (Rambam Hilchot Bi’at ha-Mikdash – The Laws of Entering the Temple).
A Kohen, or anyone striving for spiritual greatness, should not need externals to achieve true joy in his service of God, such as through wine, but should deerive sufficient joy from the service itself, as the verse teaches, “The precepts of God are upright, rejoicing the heart (Psalms 19:9).”