Rav Moshe Heinemann says a hesped (eulogy) after burying the Baltimore sheimos. Where do we find a source for such a concept?

  • 3
    Ask him? Or ask whoever told you about this?
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 0:30
  • 1
    The video for the hesped was shared online without an email to contact, so I'm asking the next best available option.
    – NJM
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 2:48
  • @NJM Is this really the next best available option? What about a shul/school/organization that he is involved in?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 12:51
  • @DoubleAA Fair point, I didn't think the STAR-K or secretary at Rav Heinemann's shul would want to spend time with this question, especially since it's not a policy question - I assumed it was a halachic question which this site never ceases to amaze me in finding mekoros. Personally, it is the next best option for me.
    – NJM
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


He spent 60% of the shiur bringing sources for eulogizing sheimos. mentioned several sources:

  1. A Kal V'Chomer: The Rosh says “מכבד כל מי שפתח לך פתח לבקש די סיפוקך" "These sofrim which we have buried today have opened up a pesach for us to pursue our needs in Torah and mitzvos. And, the Mishnah in bava metzia (2:11) says ". אֲבֵדַת אָבִיו וַאֲבֵדַת רַבּוֹ, שֶׁל רַבּוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת, שֶׁאָבִיו הֱבִיאוֹ לָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וְרַבּוֹ שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ חָכְמָה מְבִיאוֹ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא." If one found his father’s lost item and his teacher’s lost item, his teacher’s takes priority, for his father brought him into this world, but his teacher who taught him Torah brings him into the world to come.” So, if the Orchid Chaim L'Harosh says that you should give honor to anyone who opened up a doorway for you in matters of this world, all the more so to someone or something which opened up the doorway for you in matters of the world to come!
  2. “For sure the chiyuv (obligation) to be mechabed (honor) sheimos is very big, and we are are not allowed to be mevazeh(disgrace) them. It says in this week’s sedra (Torah portion, Deuteronomy 12:3) 'וְנִתַּצְתֶּ֣ם אֶת־מִזְבּחֹתָ֗ם וְשִׁבַּרְתֶּם֙ אֶת־מַצֵּ֣בֹתָ֔ם וַאֲשֵֽׁרֵיהֶם֙ תִּשְׂרְפ֣וּן בָּאֵ֔שׁ וּפְסִילֵ֥י אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶ֖ם תְּגַדֵּע֑וּן וְאִבַּדְתֶּ֣ם אֶת־שְׁמָ֔ם מִן־הַמָּק֖וֹם הַהֽוּא׃ 'Tear down their altars, smash their pillars, put their sacred posts to the fire, and cut down the images of their gods, obliterating their name from that site.' From here we learn out that a person is obligated to honor articles of holiness, devarim shebikedusha, And it is certainly not allowed to do anything to break them or or degrade them or do anything negative to them."
  3. Much of the sheimos came from the institutions of Torah education: tests, handouts, etc. They helped in the education and in shaping the next generation. For that they certainly deserve gratitude and tremendous honor. “So If we want to live in an a torahdike town (a town of torah), in an ehrliche town (an honest, sincere town), people that do mitzvos properly, we have to give the kavod to everything that helped to do this! Certainly, if we have seforim in the sheimos which fell apart because they were learned in them so much, then certainly we owe a great appreciation to these seforim.”
  4. He mentioned many halachos about giving respect to seforim. I assume he was saying that this is another form of respect. As it is reffered to in seforim, "kavod haacharon", "the final respect".

He finished with a quote from the sefer mat’amim, page 140(couldn’t find the sefer on the Otzar Hachochma, so I am quoting from what I can make out from the recording): טעם למנהיג כשגונזים ספרים בלים וקרועים הן מספר תורה הן משאר ספרים, הולכים בהמון אל בית הקברות וגונזים שם בקרקע ועושים עליהם אוהל וסימן לידע ש(ינהגו?) (ב?)קדושה באותה מקום, והרב דורש, שעל פי רוב עושים זאת בעת המגפה, רחמנא ליצלן, והיא סגולה כדי לעורר רחמים בזה, כי כמו שאנו חסים על שמות ודברים שבקדושה, שלא ילכו לאיבוד, כן ירחם השם יתברך עלינו ועל בנינו שלא נלכו לאיבוד ולביזון כי גם אני משותפים בשמו הגדול: ישראל ואורייתא וקודשא בריך הוא חד הוא, ושמו משותף בינינו ואנו גם כן נקראים גוי קדוש, ואנו מבקשים מאת השמות הקדושים שירחמו עלינו בזכות שאנו מכבדים אותם. The reason for the custom that when they bury seforim (Hebrew books) which are worn and torn, whether it be a Torah scroll or other seforim, they go as a large crowd to the cemetery and bury them there in the ground, and make a tent over them and a sign to (so that others should) know that they should (conduct themselves?) (with?) holiness at that place. And teacher expounds (obviously referring to someone specific, unclear from this excerpt who), that the majority of the time they do this in the time of a pandemic, may The Merciful One save us, and it is a segula (supernatural cure) in order to awaken Divine Mercy through this. Because, just like we are having compassion on the sheimos and articles of holiness – that they should go to destruction – so Hashem should have mercy on us and our children that we shouldn’t go to destruction and embarresment, because we too are partners with his holy name (just like the sheimos): The Jews and the Torah and The Holy One, Blessed Be Her are one, and his name is partnered among us, and we see are called a holy nation(i.e. we are called holy, just like “the articles of holiness and the sheimos are called holy), and we request from Hashem through these holy sheimos that He should have mercy on us in the merit that we are honoring them.

  • None of these appear to answer the question. These are all reasons he thinks we should eulogize sheimos, but none are sources for eulogizing sheimos.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 12:50
  • @DoubleAA A Kal V'Chomer is a source deoraysa: "Rabbi Yoḥanan said: We derived that one must recite the blessing over the Torah after it is read from Grace after Meals by means of an a fortiori inference. And we derive the obligation to recite a blessing before partaking of food from the blessing over the Torah by means of an a fortiori inference. The blessing over the Torah after it is read from Grace after Meals by means of an a fortiori inference:..."
    – Sam
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 14:40
  • @DoubleAA I think being on the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah makes you a mun di'umar - if Rav Aharon kotler said it, I think the velt would call it a source. If Reb Chaim said it (also on the Moetzes), the velt would call it a source. The fact that it is not just "something he said", but is actually a sound Kal V'Chomer gives me enough confidence to call it a source. Does that not seem reasonable to you?
    – Sam
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 14:47
  • Reasonable or not, it doesn't answer the question. The questioner knew R Heinemann did it. The question is obviously seeking some other source. There's no need to discuss if R Heinemann is entitled to an opinion or not.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 14:52
  • @DoubleAA Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz in yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/838083/rabbi-aryeh-lebowitz/… brings from Rav Asher Weiss 9 sources (if I recall - 19 maybe?) that Tza'ar Ba'alei chaim is de'oraysa, and one of the biggest sources was that it was the "spirit of the torah"-i.e. what the torah actually wants. There are many sources and tanach stories for being a merciful person(some of which were used as proofs in the shiur), and TB"Chaim is an extension of being merciful.
    – Sam
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 14:52

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