Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch of Ziditchoiv (1763-1831)

Reb Tzvi Hirsch gives an astounding explanation of a strange story told by the Gemara (Succah 53a). In the presence of Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi, Levi performed the feat of “kidah” - bowing down and kissing the earth without supporting his weight with anything but his thumbs, and then raising himself up in the same manner. As a result of this Levi became lame. Rashi explains that Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi was the leader of the generation and was constantly worried about all the problems facing the Jewish people, so people used to do tricks in his house in order to cheer him up.

Reb Tzvi Hirsch explains that Levi’s act contained a hidden message: that the future redemption will come completely from above, without any help or support from human beings, for so were we forsworn by the gazelles and deer of the field not to arouse the love before it is desired by Hashem. This is the meaning of the verse in Yishaya 63:5, “And I will look and there will be no helper, and I will be silent and there will be no supporter; so My arm will save for Me, and My anger will support Me.” (Ateres Tzvi, Bereishis p. 33)