[A] custom arose, as recorded by the Radvaz, to come to Nabi Samwil, the traditionally identified location of his gravesite, tonight, on his yahrzeit. A bit north of Yerushalayim. And there children would get their first haircuts. When Shemu’el was weened, he was sent to the Mishkan to live. And he was a nazir, who did not cut his hair his entire life. So there is a logical connection between Shemu’el haNavi and haircuts. Also moved into the Mishkan after he was weened and he grew up there, thus giving the navi a connection to toddlers turning into boys, as well.
When Moshe counts the Jews, each man of military age contributes a half-sheqel … One of the Ran’s themes in his first derashah is the idea that a compound will generally be superior to the components. … The Ran continues that what is true for elements and compounds is true for individuals and the community. … There is a similar theme to the step of Yachatz in the Seder.
Vayiqra is about the qorban as performed by the person bringing it. Tzav is the qorban as performed by the kohein. These are two totally different things. Each of us live in our own world.
We have a book of Iyov, which tells the story of the tragedies Iyov lived through. But Iyov’s wife? There is no book explaining her tragedy. Nor that of his children. Those would have been very different books with very different stories. Every person impacted by an event is a protagonist in and of themselves, and Hashem insures that their experiences and duties make sense for them within their own perspective.
A big problem, and perhaps The Big Problem, of the Orthodox community as it revived post-Shoah has been “Frumkeit”, as Rabbi Wolbe defines the term. Doing mitzvos out of an instinct that I need to be holier, rather than out of a desire that Hashem’s Will be done. It is a self-centered and self-serving orientation, as are all instincts. Rav Dessler would say it is coming from one’s Will to Take rather than one’s Will to Give. … Neo-Chassidus, with its focus on my relationship with G-d, doesn’t have many tools to fix that. Going to a kumzitz or a singing minyan to have an inspirational moment certainly don’t. All it offers is a hope that one internalizes one’s studies.
So, Adam saw the return of darkness, the same darkness the opening medrash identified with the spiritual decimation attempted by the Hellenists in the years before Chanukah. He mourned and fasted for 8 days. We have 8 days, but with an opposite theme — mourning and fasting are prohibited, and praise and gratitude dominate. And in both cases, the message was only seen in retrospect, the next year.
There is one major difference: Adam concluded that the darkness and the return of light was just “the natural cycle”. In Chanukah, we initiated the light manually, and Hashem responded with a miracle. Where Adam saw Hashem’s Light in nature, we see Him bestowing it in a covenantal union with us.
Adam was the start of this world. The Jewish People were given the Torah, handed a burning torch, to bring light to the world that follows.