Please Learn in the Merit of:

Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Friday, July 21, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon: ו תשרי - Tishrei 6 - Sixth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

I have also decided to reproduce my explanation of the saying of our Sages of Blessed Memory (in Avos D’Rabbi Nosson (chapter 27, section 3)) [at] this [point in the] introduction, so that everyone will consequently be able to respond to the claims of his [evil] inclination [concerning] this matter [of Shmiras HaLashon]. The following is the quote [from Avos D’Rabbi Nosson]: “[Rabbi Yochanan ben Dahavai] used to say: ‘Do not distance yourself from an that which has no limit or from work which has no end’…. a golden dinar[1]….”[2] I have considered that the intent behind the usage of the term “amount” in Avos D’Rabbi Nosson relates to our topic [of Shmiras HaLashon, as follows]: It is known that the [evil] inclination entices a person to distance himself from the trait of Shmiras HaLashon and from learning [of] its details. [The evil inclination] will say to you, “What benefit will you derive by learning and delving into this matter? Are you capable of reaching the epitome of [this trait] and guarding your mouth all the days of your life? Were that [your] fulfillment of this [task] would last one or two days, [it would be impressive]! And even in this short period of time, would you guard all the aspects [of Shmiras HaLashon] which you are required to guard? Are you not a worldly man who has many dealing with hundreds of people? It is better for you to not [even] begin [to work on] this trait at all, for it is a trait that is unlimited, both in time and in substance. For [this trait] spans all parts of the seasons and periods of time through which a person exists during his mortal life, and it [also] includes all aspects of the issues of human interaction!” [In response to this claim of the evil inclination], the Tanna, Rabbi Yochanan ben Dahavai comes and succinctly teaches us that [the evil inclination’s claims are], in fact, false, and that a person should not distance himself “from that which has no limit….”

[1] Golden dinar (דינר זהב) – A large coin twenty-five times the value of its counterpart, the silver dinar.

[2] Avos D’Rabbi Nosson (27: 3): “[Rabbi Yochanan ben Dahavai] used to say: ‘Do not distance yourself from that which has no limit and from work which has no end.’ This is analogous to one who takes water from the ocean and puts it on dry land. The ocean [remains] undiminished and the dry land [remains] unsaturated [with water. Noticing how relatively little he has accomplished], this individual becomes frustrated. Someone then said to him, ‘Empty one! Why are you frustrated? Every day you collect your wage of one golden dinar [for your apparently unproductive work]!’”

According to the
Binyan Yeshoshua, the above analogy relates to Torah which is “longer than the span of the land and wider than the ocean”. The individual pouring ocean water onto dry land represents the one who toils in Torah. This individual, realizing how little he has learned relative to the vastness of Torah, may become lax, figuring that there is not much benefit in accomplishing relatively little in learning. His friend comes over to encourage him to strengthen his dedication to Torah by reminding him of his great reward that accumulates every time he learns Torah.

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