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

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"ט חשון - Cheshvan 19 - Forty-Ninth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Come and behold of the extent of the greatness of the power of peace, for in the beginning of the Creation of the world, The Holy One, Blessed is He, was involved in creating it with an entity of peace, as it says, “And G-d said, ‘There will be light’…”. (Bereishis: 1; 3) From where do we know that the light is peace? [Light is shown to be equivalent to peace], as it says [in sefer Yeshayahu], “The One Who forms light and creates darkness, He makes peace and creates evil.” (Yeshayahu: 45; 7) Based on this, our Sages of Blessed Memory said: [Rava said, “If one must choose between having] a [Shabbos] candle in his house and the daytime Kiddush [on Shabbos], the candle in his house takes precedence, for the sake of peace in his household.”[1] (Shabbos, 23b) Not only [does peace affect Jewish law in this matter of lighting candles on Shabbos], for our Sages have established many enactments for the sake of engendering peace. For such did our Sages of Blessed Memory say [should be done in order to engender harmony]: “These are the things which [our Sages] said [should be instituted in order to maintain harmony]: ‘A Kohen reads [from the Torah] first, and after him a Levite, and after him an Israelite, [this], in order to maintain harmony [among the people][2]. We keep the eruv [chatzeiros][3] in the old house [in order] to maintain harmony[4]. [In addition], a pit that is the closest to a channel of water is to be filled first, in order to maintain harmony[5]… Similarly, [the pasuk] states, “Her ways are pleasant ways, and all of her paths are peace.”[6] (Mishlei: 3; 17) (Gittin, 59a-b)

Our Sages of Blessed Memory have [also] said, in the Aggadah (Bamidbar Rabbah: 15; 13): “There are thirteen things [that The Holy One, Blessed is He, loves]: 1) Kohanim, 2) Levites, 3) and Israelites, 4) the Sanhedrin, 5) the firstborn, 6) donating to the Mishkan, 7) the sacrifices, 8) and the anointing oil, 9) the Land of Israel, 10) Yerushalayim, 11) the Beis HaMikdash, 12) the Kingship of the House of David, 13) [and] the silver, and the gold.

[HaShem’s love of the aforementioned thirteen things is based on the following verses]:

1) The Kohanim – “…and [the Kohanim] shall serve before Me.” (Shmos: 28; 41)

2) The Levites – “And I shall take the Levites for Me…” (Bamidbar: 3; 41)

3) Israelites – “And you shall be for Me…” (Shmos: 19; 6)

4) [The] Sanhedrin – “Gather for Me seventy [men]…” (Bamidbar: 11; 16)

5) The firstborn – “Sanctify for Me [all of the firstborn who open the womb from the Children of Israel, among the man and the animals…]” (Shmos: 13; 2)

6) The donation [for the Mishkan] – “…and you shall take a donation for Me…” (Shmos: 25; 2)

7) The sacrifices – “…you shall guard yourselves to offer to Me…” (Bamidbar: 28; 2)

8) The anointing oil – as it says, “…this shall be holy anointing oil for Me…” (Shmos: 30; 31)

9) [The] Beis HaMikdash – “He[7] shall build a house for Me…” (Divrei HaYomim I: 17; 12)

10) [The] Kingship of the House of David – “…for I have seen that from among his sons [there] shall be a king for Me.” (Shmuel I: 16; 1)

11) The silver [and the gold] – “For Me is the silver and for Me is the gold…” (Chaggai: 2; 8)

From [among] all of these [things which HaShem loves], only peace is repeated, as it says, “Or if they would grasp onto My stronghold, he will make peace for Me, peace he shall make for Me.” (Yeshayahu: 27; 5)[8]

So great is the [virtue of] peace that it precedes praise of HaShem. When Yisro came to Moshe, immediately each man greeted his fellow, [inquiring] of the other’s [state of] peace and [only] afterwards “Moshe told his father-in-law” of all of the miracles that The Holy One, Blessed is He, performed for Israel.[9] Not only [does this incident depict the greatness of peace], rather, [concerning] all of the mitzvos that the evildoers perform in this world, The Holy One, Blessed is He, gives them their reward in this world. [The rewards given to the evildoers include things] such as wealth and property and [many] years [of life], and honor, [among] other good [things]. [However, the one reward that always eludes the evildoer is] peace, for [HaShem] does not give them [peace], as it says, “There is no peace, says my G-d, for the evildoers.”[10] (Yeshayahu: 57; 21) Not only [is peace denied the evildoers, rather], The Holy One, Blessed is He, gives it to the righteous as a reward, as it says, “and for actions of righteousness there shall be peace….”[11] (Yeshayahu: 32; 17) Not only [is] this [the greatness of peace], but through peace, one brings the converts and Ba’alei Teshuvah[12] [closer to the Torah way of life], as it says, “The Creator of the expression of the lips, peace, peace for the one that is far and for the one that is close, so says [HaShem, and I shall heal him.”] (Yeshayahu: 57; 19)

[So] great is the [virtue of] peace, [such] that regarding all of the encampments [of the Israelites in the Sinai Desert], it is written, “and they traveled”, “and they encamped”, for they were camping with strife and traveling with strife. Once [the Jewish People] came before Har Sinai[13], it is written, “…Israel camped there opposite the mountain.” The Holy One, Blessed is He, said: “Behold, the time has come when I will give the Torah to My sons, for as long as they dwell in peace with one another, HaShem’s Presence is in their midst.” Similarly it says, “And there is a King in Yeshurun when [they] gather together…” (Devarim: 33; 5) When does [HaShem’s] Kingship and His Divine Presence exist within Israel? [HaShem’s Divine Presence is in the midst of Israel] at the time when all [Jews] make themselves into one group. Come and see [the] greatness [of] the power of peace, for
the world continues to exist with the power of peace. [The above follows that which] our Sages of Blessed Memory have said, [as follows]: “The world stands upon three things, on the judgment, and on the truth, and on the peace, as it says, “…Truth and justice, [and] peace you shall judge in your gates.[14]” (Zechariah: 8; 16) (Pirkei Avos: 1; 18) Not only [is the aforementioned true of peace], but at the time that peace [exists] between people, their fruits are blessed, as it says, “For the seed of peace [is that] the grapevine will give forth its fruit…” (Zechariah: 8; 12), it also says [in Tehillim (147; 14)], “The One Who places peace [in] your borders [will satisfy you with the fat of wheat.” Our Sages of Blessed Memory have said: “[So] great is the [virtue of] peace, for one who erases one letter from the Name of HaShem, violates a negative precept, as it says, “…and you shall destroy their names from that place” and it is subsequently written, “…you shall not do this to HaShem, [your G-d].”[15] [However], in order to instill peace between a husband and his wife, the Torah says, “and the Kohen shall write these curses in a book, and he shall erase it into the [bitter] waters.”[16] (Bamidbar: 5; 23) [Rabbi Yishmael said…], The Holy One, Blessed is He, said: “My Name, which is written in holiness, shall be erased over the water.” (Vayikra Rabbah: 9; 9) Furthermore, our Sages of Blessed Memory have said: “[So] great is the [virtue of] peace, that all of the good blessing and the good consolations that The Holy One, Blessed is He, brings upon the Jewish People, are concluded with [mentions of] peace: In Krias Shema – “He Who spreads over a covering of peace…”, in the Shemoneh Esrei – “He Who makes peace…”, in Birchas Kohanim – “…and He shall set peace for you…” Therefore, my son, be careful with this attribute, to love peace and to pursue peace, for there is no end for the reward given to those who love peace and those who pursue it. This concludes the excerpt from sefer Ma’alas HaMiddos.

[1] RaSh”I, on this passage of the gemara, quotes maseches
Shabbos (25b), which states as follows, ““And my soul became disgusted with peace…” (Eichah: 3; 17) Rabbi Abahu said, this refers to a Shabbos candle that is lit in the house, for people of his household are troubled to sit in darkness. RaSh”I, on Shabbos 25b, states that where there is no candle for Shabbos, people can walk and stumble over things and, thereby, the darkness detracts from the peace which the light would have ensured.

[2] The aliyos are arranged in such an order so as to avoid potential conflicts as much as possible. It is interesting to note that if all of the attendees at a minyan are Kohanim, and there is one Israelite, the Israelite gets the first aliyah, thus minimizing the chances of dispute.

[3] If there is a courtyard that is shared by more than one residence, it is forbidden to carry in that courtyard on Shabbos. In order to permit carrying in that courtyard on Shabbos, all of the residents who share the courtyard have to contribute to an “eruv chatzeiros”. An “eruv chatzeiros” refers to a loaf of bread (or matzah), of which all residents that share that courtyard are joint owners in the loaf of bread. The “eruv chatzeiros” is then placed in one of the houses that shares the courtyard, thereby making the courtyard into a single domain. The Chofetz Chaim explains in the Mishna B'rura (siman 366), that the main place where a person dwells is where his bread is found. Therefore, the eruv chatzeiros makes the house in which it is placed into the shared residence of all of those who share the courtyard, as each of them contributed equally to the bread that was place there. In this distinct domain, it is permissible to carry on Shabbos. The owner of the house where the eruv chatzeiros is placed does not have to contribute to the eruv chatzeiros, as it is clear that he resides in his house.

[4] The “old house” refers to the house in which the “eruv chatzeiros” was placed. The Mishna is coming to teach us that we should not move the “eruv chatzeiros” from the house in which it had been situated in order to maintain the [state of] peace. RaSh”I explains that if the eruv is moved from the original house to another one of the houses, it will lead to a situation where those who enter that original house and see that the eruv is missing, will suspect the people who share the courtyard as carrying in the courtyard on Shabbos without an eruv. Tosafos explains that people might come to suspect that the residents of the original house stole the eruv and therefore the eruv has been moved to another house. The RaMBa”M explains that there is a benefit to the owner of the “old house”, in that they do not have to contribute bread to the eruv. Therefore, moving the eruv from the “old house” would lead the owners to lose out on that benefit.

[5] Kehati writes in his commentary that channels of water would be dug, flowing from the river, thus bringing the water to the edges of the fields. Since the farmers were worried that the channel of water would dry out, they dug pits right near the channel of water. These pits are filled from the channels of water and serve as a water reserve for the farmers. Each of the pits siphoned off the water from the channel until it was filled. The Sages established that the pit closest to the channel would be filled first, followed by the pits farther from the channel, in order to avoid quarrels between the owners of the fields. It was the pit closest to channel which initially benefits from the water, only then allowing the water to flow further down the channel. Therefore, it is only fitting that it be the closest pit is filled first.

[6] Metzudas David comments that when the pasuk states “Her paths are paths of pleasantness…” (Mishlei: 3; 17), it comes to teach us that no one would come to stumble in their observance of the words of the Torah. The RaLBa”G comments that the ways of the Torah are pleasant and very sweet and are not burdensome on the individual, in contrast to the laws of the other nations. The RaLBa”G notes that some nations would have such burdensome laws that “…also their sons and daughters they burn in fire to their gods.” (Devarim: 12; 31) Such behavior by the other nations, HaShem refers to as an “abomination” and says that He “hates” this disgusting behavior. In stark contrast to the laws of other nations, the Torah is “pleasant” and “peaceful” and, in the next verse, is described as “a tree of life for those who grasp it…” (Mishlei: 3; 17 – 18) The RaLBa”G explains that “her paths are peace” for the body and the soul, as it rights the health of the body and benefits the soul.

[7] “He” refers to Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon).

[8] Onkelos explains that if the Jewish People strengthen themselves in the Torah, HaShem will make peace for them. RaSh”I explains that once the Jewish People recognize that their stronghold is with HaShem and no one else, then “…peace shall be made for [HaShem]” as the attribute of HaShem’s Judgment will no longer be able to prosecute against the Jewish People to say that there is no difference between the Jewish People and the rest of the world. The RaDa”K writes that the Jewish People should strengthen themselves in the Torah in order to avoid suffering from destruction. If the Jewish People strengthen themselves in “My stronghold”, which refers to the Torah, another time will come when peace shall be made for HaShem, when there shall no longer be a “war” between HaShem and the Jewish People – this period of time refers to the coming salvation of the Jewish People. RaDa”K explains that the term “shalom” is written twice in order to strengthen the peace between HaShem and the Jewish People.

[9] The source for this teaching is in Parshas
Yisro (Shmos: 18; 7 – 8): “And Moshe went out to greet his father-in-law, and he bowed down and he kissed him and each man inquired of the other’s [state of] peace, and they went to the tent. And Moshe related to his father-in-law all of that which HaShem did to Pharaoh and to Egypt, with regards to Israel, [concerning] all of the distress which they found on the way and HaShem saved them.

[10] In context of the verse which states “Peace, peace, to those who are far away and to those who are close…” (Yeshayahu: 57; 19), describing HaShem’s wishing the righteous and the penitents peace, RaSh”I notes that shortly thereafter another pasuk comes to point out that peace is withheld from the evildoers. The pasuk states, “There is no peace, says my G-d, for the evildoers.” (Yeshayahu: 57; 21)

[11] MaLBI”M explains that for the “…action of righteousness there shall be peace…” refers to one who performs the commandments of the Torah, whose benefit is known to them. For performance of those mitzvos, the individual is rewarded with peace. However, “…and the service of righteousness is quiet and security forever” refers to one who performs the mitzvos, such as the chukim, whose reasons and benefits are not known to people. For “the service of righteousness”, the reward is greater – “quiet and security forever” without interruption.

[12] “Ba’alei Teshuvah” literally means “masters of repentance”. “Ba’al Teshuvah” refers to an individual who repented for a sin they had been accustomed to. Often, “Ba’al Teshuvah” is used to refer to someone who had been living a secular lifestyle and took upon themselves to practice the Torah way of life.

[13] “Har Sinai” is Mount Sinai, upon which HaShem gave the Torah to the Jewish People. In addition, on Har Sinai, HaShem announced
the first two of the Ten Commandments to the Jewish People. Moshe informed the Israelites of the rest of the Ten Commandments.

[14] MaLBI”M explains that in order to be prepared for the true salvation, one should be involved in ensuring truth, justice, and peace. Zechariah saw that due to the sin of baseless hatred, the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed. He also saw that the Jewish People were punished due to false oaths, haughtiness, and flattery that was found in their midst. Therefore, Zechariah adjured the people to maintain a society that strongly supports peace, truth, and justice.

[15] These two quotes are from Devarim: 12; 3, 4. Pasuk 2 and 3 discuss how the Israelites are to destroy all of the place of idolatry in the Land of Israel. In contrast, pasuk 4 discusses how the actions done against idolatry should not be done against HaShem. RaSh”I explains that pasuk 4 is coming to teach us not to erase HaShem’s Holy Name or to take apart the altars of HaShem. RaSh”I, quoting Sifrei, points out that Rabbi Yishmael said, that if one follows the idolatrous practices of the other nations, those sins would cause the Beis HaMikdash (Temple) to be destroyed.

Therefore, not only must the Jewish People destroy the idols, but they should always avoid practicing idolatry, as the sin of idolatry could lead to the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash.

[16] This verse refers to the woman who is suspected by her husband of having an extra-marital relationship. In order to determine whether the woman is innocent or guilty, she must drink from a bitter drink which had the Holy Name of HaShem erased into it. If she is innocent of any extra-marital affair, she is blessed with a child. However, if she sinned, chas v’shalom, she dies a painful death.

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