The Rif's 1000th Birthday Soon
Next year, it will be the Rif's 1000th birthday. The Rif was born in 4773 (1013). While his Yahrtzeit is known to be the 10th of Iyar (which is tonight and Wednesday), I wasn't able to find the exact date of his birth.
The Rif was one of the first of the Rishonim. He was one of the 3 Amudei Hora'a - pillars of halachic decisors that the 16th-century rabbi Rav Yosef Karo used to decide halacha himself. His composition on the Talmud, which can be found in the back of most books of gemara and is sometimes named "Talmud Katan" or "Shas Katan", encompasses the parts of the Talmud that apply to us nowadays. For example, one will not find in the Rif's composition anything that has to do with Korbanot - sacrifices - as that only applied/will apply when the Beit Hamikdash existed/will exist.
The verse in Yeshaya 60:22 states:
The word קטן could possibly refer to the Rif for a few reasons. First of all, he was one of the first Rishonim - no longer among the category of Geonim (but nevertheless, a great rabbinic figure among the Rishonim). Secondly, he wrote what was later called "Talmud Katan" or "Shas Katan". Thirdly, he only wrote his halachic opinions on a smaller-than-whole section of the Torah.
In addition, the first 3 letters of his name (אלפסי) are hinted to in the word לאלף. Also, the gematria of the boldfaced letters in הקטן יהיה לאלף והצעיר equal אלפסי plus the Kollel.
Possibly, we could say that הקטן יהיה לאלף means: "When the Rif turns 1000". The verse continues: והצעיר לגוי עצום (this will need to be explained in a future post, BL"N). The end of the verse is: אני ה' בעתה אחישנה - I am Hashem. In its time, I will hasten it.
May that time come very soon.