The Rogatchover Gaon, Rabbi Yosef Rozen, was titled by the Rebbe, “Sar HaTorah,” the prince or master of Torah, and the Rebbe considered him to be one of his own teachers. The Rebbe quoted him constantly, and based hundreds of his own ideas on the revolutionary and abstract methodology of Rabbi Yosef Rozen.
This class is one example of this. When studying the Tanach we must be sensitive to nuance. The obvious question is why does the verse state that Mordechai was “accepted by most of his brethren”rather than just saying that he was “accepted by his brethren.” The Torah is obviously trying to make a point. Not everyone liked Mordechai. But why? After all, he was the man who together with Esther was responsible for the rescue of the entire nation.
The Talmud presents a fascinating interpretation. Mordechai was the preeminent Torah scholar of his generation—he was the leader of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court. With the dramatic unfolding events of Purim, this brilliant scholar became entangled in politics. After Haman’s plot was foiled, he was appointed Prime Minister of the Persian Empire. Most Jews adored Mordechai—but not all of them. But why not?
The class explores a fascinating talk by the Rebbe explaining this based on a story about the Rogatchover Gaon, Rabbi Yosef Rozen (1858-1936), who refused to become a member in a committee created by the Rebbe Rayatz on behalf of Russian Jewry, based on an argument between the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud. It turns out, that Mordechai was a “Jerusalem Talmud” Jew.