Big Men And Little Moons
Reader Elie Lederman sent me a fascinating approbation provided by the third Gerrer Rebbe, R. Avraham Mordechai Alter (1866-1948). This was written to a chassid of his, R. Yosef Pacanovski, better known as the Pardes Yosef. The Gerrer Rebbe explains that he is particularly fond of R. Pacanovski because he not only busies himself with Torah, but also works for a living!
The Gerrer Rebbe explains that his approval of R. Pacanovski reflects the advantage that Eisav had over Yaakov. Yaakov was called "little" and Eisav "big" because Eisav was superior in being self-supportive (he knew how to hunt his own food), whereas Yaakov relied on his father Yitzchak to feed him. The Gerrer Rebbe also refers to a comment later in Pardes Yosef, in which it is explained that the moon is called the "Small Luminary" not because of its smaller size or lesser light, but because instead of being able to produce its own light, it only uses that of the sun. It is a sign of inferiority to have to rely on others.
Incidentally, this Gerrer Rebbe was was one of the founders of Agudas Yisrael in Poland. Wouldn't it be great if the Moetzes of the Agudah today likewise said that it's better to work for a living than to study and rely on others for support?
(Note to readers in Johannesburg: If you have any time to drive me to some wildlife encounters when I come in two weeks, please be in touch. Unfortunately I am not able to make the Gerrer Rebbe proud by being big enough to drive in South Africa on my own!)