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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon י"בּ טבת - Teves 12 - One-Hundred-and-Second Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Just as King David was rewarded by becoming the fourth leg of HaShem’s Divine Chariot], in a similar vein [this applies] to every single person [who properly accepts suffering upon himself and attains the attribute of patience]. If [a given individual] will merit to completely attain this attribute [of patience], in the future, he will be considered as one of those whom HaShem Yisbarach loves, and he will be radiant as is the [radiance of the] sun [when it] rises in its strength, as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in maseches Shabbos (88a), as follows]:[1] “Those who are affronted and do not bear that affront [against others], they hear [remarks intended to] shame them and they do not respond, they perform [the mitzvos] out of love [for HaShem], and they are happy with [their] suffering. Regarding [this type of person], the pasuk [from seferShoftim”] states: “And those whom He loves are as the sun when it rises [in its time of] strength.””[2] (Shoftim: 5; 31)

The commentators have explained [that the above gemara, quoted from maseches Shabbos], mentions three levels [with regards to a person’s limited response when insulted, as follows]: A) [The first level is that the person who is insulted] does not insult his fellow when his fellow shames him. However, it is possible that he responds [to the insulting remarks of his fellow]. B) [The person] holds himself back from responding, in order [to] thereby [avoid] attaining more scorn from his fellow. C) [The person] acts out of love and is happy concerning [his] suffering, [the] explanation [of this being as follows]: The reason that he does not respond [to the person who insulted him], is due to his love for HaShem, and he accepts these [incidents of] suffering with happiness.[3] Once [the person] attains [this] third level, he merits all of the [aforementioned honor, for this attribute [of patience] comes to a person due to the holiness of the [person’s] soul and its pure belief in HaShem, for HaShem oversees all of [the person’s] ways, as is written [in seferIyov”, as follows]: “For His Eyes are on all of the ways of a person…”[4] (Iyov: 34; 21) [HaShem also] does everything for the good [of the individual], as is [taught] in Midrash Tanchuma, [as follows]: “A person must be more happy with the suffering [that he experiences] than [with] the good [that befalls him], for if a person [experienced] good all of his days, the sins that he is in possession of are not forgiven on his behalf. With what [are the person’s sins] forgiven on his behalf? Through [the] suffering [that the person experiences].[5] (Tanchuma, Yisro, 16) Rabbi Elazar said, “At the time that suffering befalls him, [that] person must attribute goodness to The Holy One, Blessed is He. Why [must he attribute goodness to HaShem at the time of his suffering]? [The person who suffers must attribute goodness to HaShem], for the suffering draws a person [closer] to The Holy One, Blessed is He, as it says [in Mishlei], “For those whom HaShem loves, He rebukes.” (Mishlei: 3; 12) If suffering comes upon the person, he should bear [it] and accept [it]. Why [should he accept the suffering]? [The person should accept the suffering], for there is no end to receiving the reward [for that suffering].[6] (Tanchuma, Ki Seitzei, 2) “Be silent for HaShem and wait patiently for Him.” (Tehillim: 37; 7) Constantly await The Holy One, Blessed is He, if He brings suffering upon you, do not spurn it, rather accept it like flutes (Meaning: Instruments)”[7]. Bearing the humiliation [suffered from others] is in the category of suffering, as mentioned earlier, “They act out of love [of HaShem] and are happy with suffering.”

[1] This translation follows the explanation of RaSh”I.

[2] The beginning of this verse contrasts the enemies of HaShem with those whom He loves, as follows: “HaShem, so shall all of Your enemies be destroyed and the ones whom He loves are like the sun rising in its strength…” (Shoftim: 5; 31)

This pasuk is stated in the context of the war between Barak, the general of the Jewish army, and Sisera and his army. With HaShem’s Help, the Jewish army miraculously devastated the Canaanite army under the leadership of Sisera.

Targum Yonasan explains that the righteous will be three-hundred-and-forty-three times as radiant as the radiance of the sun. RaSh”I adds that the number “343” is equivalent to the forty-nine cycles of the seven-year shimittah cycle. The RaDa”K notes that the righteous will be comparable to the sun which, from the time that it rises in the morning, it continually gets stronger until its full strength is felt at the middle of the day. The righteous, as the sun during the first half of the day, will also continually be strengthened.

We learn from this pasuk that those who are happy with their suffering are loved by HaShem and continually attain higher levels of strength and greatness until they reach the pinnacle.

[3] Chofetz Chaim’s note: It is written in seferToldos Adam” (Volume 1, chapter 16), that one time, the righteous [individual], Rabbi Zalman, the student of the GR”A, of Blessed Memory, traveled on the path with his brother, the Gaon Rabbi Chaim from Volozhin, his memory is for The life of The World to Come. It happened that when they arrived at the inn, the owner of the inn spoke with them in a harsh manner, and did not provide them a place to sleep. Once they traveled from [that inn], Rabbi Chaim saw his brother, Rabbi Zalman, and behold, he was crying! [Rabbi Chaim thereupon] said to him, “Why are you crying?” Have you paid attention to the words of the man? I did not pay attention to all of the words!” [Thereupon], Rabbi Zalman answered: “I am not crying, Heaven Forbid, concerning the words of shame that the man spoke [against] us. However, I felt a little heartache from the words of the man, and I am crying for still not having attained the attribute of “Those who have been insulted and [do not feel as if they had been insulted]… [and are] happy with their suffering].”

[4] The entire pasuk reads as follows:

“For His Eyes are on the ways of a person, and He shall see all of his steps.” (Iyov: 34; 21)

The above pasuk is taken from a statement that Eliyhu said to Iyov. The MaLBI”M explains that Eliyahu is addressing Iyov, concerning the claim that the wicked prosper and why does HaShem not always punish the evildoers in public. Eliyhu explains that, while a person may punish the sinner immediately, the one who inflicts the punishment does so for the following reason: A king of flesh-and-blood may punish the sinner immediately, upon discovering of the guilt of the sinner, in order to catch the one guilty of wrongdoing, by surprise, so that he doesn’t have a chance to flee from the judgment of the king or otherwise escape punishment. However, HaShem is constantly aware of a person’s outward actions– his “steps”, as well as of his thoughts, characteristics, and the specific situation of the person’s soul, as it says, “His Eyes are on the ways of a person”. As HaShem is constantly aware of a person’s whereabouts and actions, HaShem is different from the king who may feel compelled to punish the sinner. HaShem can always exact judgment against the sinner, and therefore, the sinner might not be punished immediately, but rather in the more distant future.

In the context of sefer “Shmiras HaLashon”, we learn from the above quoted pasuk from Iyov that if a person does not respond improperly to being insulted, even if his holding himself back from responding to the insult is not outwardly evident, HaShem is, nevertheless, obviously aware of the person’s righteous action, this person being greatly rewarded for having acted properly by refraining from responding improperly to the insult directed against him.

[5] The full quote from Tanchuma, in this context, states as follows:

“A person needs to be happy with suffering more than [with] the good that [he experiences], for even if a person [experiences] goodness throughout his entire life, the sins that he possesses are, [nevertheless], not pardoned on his behalf. Through what is [one] forgiven [for his sins]? [He is forgiven] through suffering.”

“Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says, ‘Behold it says, “My son, do not reject the moral rebuke of HaShem, and do not be disgusted with His rebukes, for those whom HaShem loves, He will rebuke, and as a father toward his son, He will be appeased.” (Mishlei: 3; 11 – 12) [What] caused this son to appease his father? [These pisukim teach that it is] the suffering [that the son experiences].’”

“Rabbi Meir says, ‘Behold, it says [in sefer Divarim], “And you shall know with your heart that just as a man brings suffering upon his son, HaShem, your G-d, brings suffering upon you.” (Divarim: 8; 5) What does it mean, “And you shall know with your heart…”? [You shall be cognizant with your heart] of the actions that you have performed, for [your experiences of] suffering which I, [HaShem], have brought upon you, are not in accordance with your [sinful] actions.”

“Rabbi Nechemiah says, “[So] desirous is the suffering, for just as the sacrifices bring appeasement [to HaShem toward the Jewish People], so too does the suffering bring appeasement [to HaShem toward the Jewish People, in the same manner]. Regarding the sacrifices, it is written, “…and it will be appeased for him…” (Vayikra: 1; 4), and regarding suffering, it is written, “…and they shall have their sin appeased…” (Vayikra: 26; 43) Not only [is the above true], but the suffering [that a person undergoes] brings appeasement [to HaShem] more than do the sacrifices, for the sacrifices are [bought] with money, [while] the suffering [is experienced through the] body. Similarly, it is [written in seferIyov”], “…flesh for flesh and everything that belongs to the man, he will give for the sake of himself.”” (Iyov: 2; 4)

RaSh”I explains the above pasuk quoted from seferIyov”, as follows: A person would raise up his arm, his own flesh, in order to protect his face, an important part of his body. How much more so the person is willing to spend his own money to ensure his self-preservation.

[6] The section from the Tanchuma in parshas Ki-Seitzei that discusses the great reward for the suffering that the individual experiences, as follows:

“The pasuk states, “Praiseworthy is the man upon whom HaShem brings suffering, and from His Torah, He teaches him.” (Tehillim: 94; 12) Rabbi Elazar ben Ya’akov said, “A person must attribute goodness to The Holy One, Blessed is He, at the time that the suffering befalls him. Why [should one attribute goodness to The Holy One, Blessed is He, at the time that suffering befalls him]? For the suffering draws a person [closer] to The Holy One, Blessed is He, as it says [in seferMishlei”], “For those which HaShem shall love, He rebukes, and He shall be appeased [towards him] as is a father towards his son.” (Mishlei: 3; 12) Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai said, “If a person’s son dies, he should not complain [about having experienced such suffering], for the son [brings about a situation where] The Holy One, Blessed is He, appeased with [the father]. To what is [the above] similar? To a king who is angry concerning his daughter’s son. [Thereupon], another person comes and placates the king towards the son of his daughter. [Would] that [grandson of the king] say that it is unnecessary to [recognize] the goodness of this person who placated [the king towards him]?!? So too, if a person’s son dies, he should attribute goodness to The Holy One, Blessed is He, for the son [who died] has placated The Creator towards his father. Why [is this]? “For those whom HaShem shall love, He will rebuke…” (Mishlei: 3; 12) Therefore, King David said, “Praiseworthy is the man who HaShem will punish…” (Tehillim: 94; 12) If suffering befalls the person, he should withstand them and accept them. Why [should the person put up with the suffering that befalls him]? [He should put up with the suffering], for there is no end to receiving the reward [for the suffering that he bears]. From where do you learn [that one should bear suffering]? [We learn that a person should bear suffering] from the [lost] tooth and eye for which the Jewish slave leaves [servitude] for freedom. How much more so will the suffering [with which he is inflicted and thereby] cleanses [his] entire body [serve as an] atonement for him.””

[7] See the Yalkut Shimoni [on that pasuk in Tehillim, Remez 729).

The Yalkut Shimoni states as follows:

““Be silent to HaShem and expectantly await (hischoleil) Him” – Await The Holy One, Blessed is He, as it is written, “It is good [if he] will expectantly await and be silent…”, and it says, “Expectantly wait for G-d…” If He will bring suffering upon you, do not spurn [the experiences of suffering], rather, accept them as [you would accept] flutes (“cholilim” – related to the word “hischoleil” – “expectantly await”). Mar Ukva sent [the following question] to Rabbi Elazar: “People are standing in opposition to me, and it is within my ability to hand them over to the government, what [should I do]? [Rabbi Elazar] etched into parchment and wrote to [Mar Ukva], “I have said, I shall guard my ways from sinning with my tongue, I shall guard the muzzle [of] my mouth.” [Whereupon, Mar Ukva sent him the following]: “They are greatly troubling me”. [Rabbi Elazar] sent back to him, “Be silent for HaShem and expectantly wait for Him”. Expectantly wait for The Holy One, Blessed is He, and He will cause them to fall as many corpses before you. Arise early [to go to the Beis Midrash] and get up late to go to the Beis Midrash (House of Torah study), [thus acting in opposition] against them, and they will cease on their own [from troubling you].”

No comments: