Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
The Grasshopper Revelation!
This is a revelation!
So, everyone's talking about the miracle of Rav Chaim and the grasshopper. Arguments have been raging on this blog, with many people saying that at the end of the day, the fact (as confirmed by Rav Chaim himself) of the locust appearing when he needed to see one is a clear indication of his supernatural status.
But someone just sent me a video of Rebbetzen Kanievsky, where she describes the story very differently indeed!
Rebbetzen Kanievsky said that when Rav Chaim was learning this topic and writing about it, he was very distressed about not understanding how the locust's wings look. He asked his daughters to find a science book (!) which would illustrate it, but they were unsuccessful. Rav Chaim was distressed, because he felt that he couldn't publish his book on the topic without having seen one. Then, during one Shabbos meal, a locust flew in!
Of course, now the story is completely different. It's not that the locust flew in and landed on his Gemara, or even on his windowsill, exactly when he needed to see one. That didn't happen at all. He needed to see one and couldn't find one. He wanted to get a science book, because that's how he figured that he would be able to find out. And in the end, some time later, a locust flew in to his home - as happens on occasion in Israel, especially in homes which don't have air conditioning and have the windows open.
But the really important point here is not that the story turns out to be not remotely significant. It's that a very mundane story was distorted to make it significant, and then Rav Chaim's mumbled agreement was taken as testimony that the distorted version was accurate!
As I wrote last week: The greatness of Rav Chaim was his commitment to Torah and his humility. Not his being a supernatural figure. That was a myth, created and encouraged by those who benefited from it, in various ways.
(If you'd like to subscribe to this blog via email, use the form on the right of the page, or send me an email and I will add you.)