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

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon ו כּסלו - Kislev 6 - Sixty-Sixth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Furthermore, [in addition to the previously noted punishments that may befall the one who scorns their Rav, our Sages of Blessed Memory] have said [in maseches Sanhedrin, 110a]: “Rav Chama said, ‘All those who initiate a quarrel with their rabbi[1], it is as if he instigates a quarrel with HaShem’s Divine Presence, as it says, “These are the waters of quarrel, for the Children of Israel quarreled against HaShem…” (Bamidbar: 20; 13) Furthermore, with regard to this issue [of quarreling against one’s rabbi, the following teaching] is found [in that gemara]: “Rabbi Chanina bar Pappa said, “All those who complain against their rabbi, it is as if he has complained against The Shechinah[2], as it says… Rabbi Abahu said, ‘All those who suspect their rabbi as having done something wrong, it is as if he suspects the Shechinah, as it says, …’[3] These four levels that the gemara mentions below, [comes] to teach us that [by] merely thinking [that someone performed a wrong, he] is also [transgressing] a major prohibition.

The people who view lightly [the sins of] disputing [with] and scorning their rabbi and [arguing and scorning] the Beis Din of the city, are very foolish, [for though they have committed such a great sin, they still] do not tremble because of the great punishment that is designated to come [to them] in The World to Come, as a result of this [sin]. Come and see that which is [taught] in Midrash Rabbah, Parshas B’ha’alosicha (Bamidbar Rabbah: 15; 17), on the pasuk, “…and you shall honor the countenance of the elderly[4]…”[5] (Vayikra: 19; 32) [In Bamidbar Rabbah, we learn that the aforementioned pasuk] refers to a Torah scholar. [This follows that which is taught] in [maseches] Kiddushin (32b), as follows: “What [type of] respect does the Torah [refer to when] it says “והדרת” – “v’hadarta” – “and you shall respect”? [This “respect” refers to] not standing in the designated place [of the Torah scholar], and not sitting in his designated place, and [one] should not contradict his words…” For, each person who does not behave with these [aforementioned] attributes toward their rabbi, is called an evildoer before HaShem and he forgets his Torah learning, and his lifespan is shortened, and he eventually becomes poor, as it says, “And there shall be no good for the evildoer, and his days shall not be lengthened, similar to the shadow which does not fear before G-d.” (Koheles: 8; 13) Behold, the [aforementioned] Midrash applies even [to a case] when he doesn’t respect [his rabbi] properly. How much more so [is one's punishment severe] if he draws people from the city to join [the] quarrel [that he initiated, in which case] he will definitely be punished [with a punishment that is] multiple times [more severe than the punishment which befalls one who acts alone in his disrespect directed against his rabbi].

“One who initiates a quarrel with their rabbimeans that he causes other people to argue against his rabbi as well, using his words to attract them [to this quarrel].

Shechinah refers to G-d's Divine Presence.

[3] The full passage from maseches
Sanhedrin (110a), reads as follows:

“Rav Chisda said, “All those who [involve themselves in a] dispute against their Rabbi, is comparable to one who disputes HaShem’s Divine Presence, as it says, “[…They are Dathan and Aviram, those who are called by the assembly, who incited [the people] to quarrel against Moshe and Aharon], when they incited to quarrel against HaShem.
(Bamidbar: 26; 9) Rav Chama said in the name of Rabbi Chaninah, ‘All those who initiate a quarrel with their rabbi, it is as if he instigates a quarrel with HaShem’s Divine Presence, as it says, “These are the waters of quarrel, for the Children of Israel quarreled against HaShem…” (Bamidbar: 20; 13) “Rabbi Chanina bar Pappa said, ‘All those who complain against their rabbi, it is as if he has complained against The Shechinah, as it says, [“…your complaints are not against us, rather [your complaints] are against HaShem.” (Shmos: 16; 8) Rabbi Abahu said, ‘All those who suspect their rabbi as having done something wrong, it is as if he suspects the Shechinah [of having done something wrong], as it says, [And the nation spoke against HaShem and against Moshe…”’ (Bamidbar: 21; 5)

Through connecting suspecting one's rabbi of wrongdoing to disputing one's rabbi, quarreling with him, and complaining against him, we see that suspecting one's rav of wrongdoing is also a great prohibition.

[4] RaSh”I on this pasuk explains that "זקן" – “elder” that it refers to an elder who is a boor (alternatively, a sinner) (see Sifsei Chachamim), the pasuk states “zakein” which only refers to one who has acquired wisdom. (Kiddushin, 32b)

[5] Such did Rabbi Tanchuma expound, “And HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Gather for me seventy men from the elders of Israel…’” (Bamidbar: 11; 16) There is a halacha: Within how many amos (cubit between 1.5 - 2 feet, in length) is a person obligated to stand before a zakein? This is what our Rabbis taught:
A person is obligated to stand within four amos [of] a zakein, as it says, “Before one who is elderly [and is scholarly in Torah] you shall stand…” (Vayikra: 19; 32). [The translation of the above pasuk follows Onkelos' explanation. In addition], you inquire as to his [wellbeing] (lit. “state of peace”) within four amos [of his presence]. What is the honor that the Torah [referred to when it] said “v’hadarta” – “and you shall respect”? That one shouldn’t stand in [the] place [of the Torah scholar] and shouldn’t sit in his place, and he shouldn’t contradict his words, and when he inquires as to a halacha, he should ask in [a state of] fear, and he should not jump to [provide an] answer, and he should not enter into the midst of his words. [A person must be careful concerning all of the above], for those who do not behave towards their Rav with all of these characteristics, is called an evildoer before The Presence [of HaShem], and he forgets his Torah learning, and his years are shortened, and in the end he comes to [a state of] poverty, as it says, “And there will not be good for the evildoer, and he will not have lengthened days, as the shadow which does not fear before G-d.” (Koheles: 8; 13) What is this “fear” [that one should have in the presence of the zakein]? When it says [in the pasuk], (Vayikra: 19; 32) “Before the one who is elderly [and is scholarly in Torah] you shall stand… and you shall fear from your G-d”, this is [the source for] fear of the Rav. [As] this [reasoning] is the case, there is also fear of charging a Jew usury and fear of using deceptive weights in business. [Concerning the passage where it discusses charging a Jew usury, it says, (Vayikra: 25; 36) “…and you shall fear from your G-d…”, while by the section which deals with deceptive weights, the pasuk concludes by stating, “…I am HaShem”. (Vayikra: 19; 37) Therefore, one might think that a person should also fear from involvement in usury and using deceitful weights.] Rather, Rabbi Elazar said, ‘It says [in the pasuk] over here (Vayikra: 19; 32), “…the face of the zakein…”, and [we quote] later on [from Koheles], “…which does not fear from [before] the countenance of G-d”. [From the wording in these verses, we learn that one should fear before the zakein, which we learn from the pasuk that discusses the fear we should have before HaShem. One is also obligated to give [the zakein] precedence to everyone else [when it comes] to entering and exiting [an area] and [should] treat him with fear and respect, as it says, “You shall fear HaShem, your G-d…” (Divarim: 6; 13) We learn in a Baraisa, that the word "את" [of "את ה אלה-יך תירא" – “You shall fear HaShem, your G-d…”] comes to include those who are masters of Torah, for there is no other trait comparable to this. Similarly, it says [in the context of Moshe placing leaders upon the Jewish People, “And I shall take the heads of your tribes, men who are wise and known,] and I have placed them as leaders over you…” (Divarim: 1; 15) From [this pasuk, we] learn that one should treat [Torah scholars] as one would treat princes, [he should] stand in their presence, [and] give them precedence in every matter of greatness. Rabbi Abba HaKohen bar Pappa said, “When I would see a group of people, I would walk on a different path so as not to burden them, so that they wouldn’t see [me] and [be required to] stand in my presence. When I spoke of [these] matters before Rabbi Yosi the son of Rabbi Zivida, he told me that, ‘You need to pass before them, and they shall see you and stand before you, and you shall [thereby] bring them to [attain] fear of Heaven, as it says, “Before one who is elderly [and is scholarly in Torah], you shall stand… and you shall fear before your G-d…” (Vayikra: 19; 32) Why [is it that respect of Torah scholars leads to fear of Heaven]? For the elevated level of the righteous is a level from which there is no descending. However, the level of Eisav is a level from which one only descends. Today he is a lieutenant, tomorrow he is, (loosely translated), the Roman equivalent of a knight, the next day he is a captain, the same being true of all of their leaders. Similarly, the prophet says [in reference to Eisav], “If you shall rise up like an eagle, [and if you place your nest between the stars, from there I shall take you down, so says HaShem.”] (Ovadiah: 1; 4) However, the level of Ya’akov is a level from where there is no descending, and their [level of] holiness never falls.

Similarly, you find by [Israel’s] zikeinim (elders), that they are one of thirteen things that are written [in the context of being in possession of] the Name of The Holy One, Blessed is He. [Those thirteen things are as follows]: 1) The silver and the gold, 2) Kohanim, 3) Levites, 4) and Israelites, 5) the firstborn 6) The altar, 7) donating to the Mishkan, 8) and the anointing oil, 9) the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting) 10) the Kingship of the House of David, 11) the sacrifices, 12) the Land of Israel, 13) and the zikeinim.

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

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

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

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

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

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 altar – “An altar of earth
shall you make for Me…” (Shmos: 20; 21)

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

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

9) The Tent of Meeting – “And you shall make a sanctuary for Me…” (Shmos: 25; 8)

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

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

12) The Land of Israel – “…for the Land is for Me…” (Vayikra: 25; 23)

13) [The] Elders – “Gather for Me seventy [men from the elders of Israel…]” (Bamidbar: 11; 16)”

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