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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ג טבת - Teves 23 - One-Hundred-and-Thirteenth Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Behold, it is known that the honor that is withheld from The Holy One, Blessed is He, is due to the presence of some fools who deny His [existence], or who have rebelled against Him, and who have said, “…What benefit is there for our having guarded His statutes…?”[1] (Malachi: 3; 14) [These fools who withhold honor from HaShem, are] only [present] in this lower, physical world, [and they] have physical eyes [which do not see the reward awaiting those who follows The Torah and the punishment awaiting those who decide to not live a Torah lifestyle. However], Above, in the Upper realm, all of the angels crown [HaShem] Yisbarach’s Name, and recognize His Glory, [such as] how He sustains them and leads them, as the pasuk [in seferNichemiah”] said, “…and to You, the Heavenly Legion bows”[2] (Nichemiah: 9; 6), and it [similarly] says [in seferMilachim I”], “…I have seen HaShem sitting on His Throne, and the entire Heavenly Legion was standing upon Him, from His right and from His left.”[3] (Milachim I: 22; 19), “Siraphim [angels] were standing above Him…”[4] (Yishayahu: 6; 2), “And one will call to the other and shall say…”[5] (Yishayahu: 6; 3), and for this [reason, that being that The Heavenly Legion serve HaShem], The Holy One, Blessed is He, is called by The Name “צבאו-ת” – “[Master of] Legions”, as is well-known [throughout] the entire Torah. Once one contemplates [this matter] well, he will see that, in reality, this world is not even comparable to a mustard seed in relation to all of the Upper Worlds, [for there are many worlds Above, [in the Heavenly Sphere], as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said in the first chapter of [maseches] “Avodah Zarah” (3b), that on each day, The Holy One, Blessed is He, floats through His eighteen-thousand worlds, and [the above] specifically accords with that which is explained in a number of places in the Holy Zohar.[6]] [Once one contemplates concerning the vastness of the existence, even in relation to this world, which is dependant upon HaShem, he will realize that] the rebellion of these [foolish individuals], Heaven Forbid, is considered as nothing. In the midst of this world, The Holy One, Blessed is He, found His Nation, Israel, who are exceedingly loved by Him, to the point that they are referred to by the name “בּנים” – “children [of HaShem]”, as the pasuk [in ParshasR’aye” states, “You are [the] children [of HaShem, your G-d]…” (Divarim: 14; 1) [The Jewish People] are [found to be] sweet to [HaShem] with their voices, as the pasuk says, “…let your voice be heard by Me…”[7] (Shir HaShirim: 2; 14) How will we not be ashamed of ourselves, if we will not [place our] trust in His [Holy] Name, Heaven Forbid? For [HaShem] sustains all of the worlds, as well as all of the angels, of which myriads of myriads are found in every single group, and not even one angel from the upper angels has [ever] descended [to this world, in order] to make it known that he was lacking a little bit of sustenance, Heaven Forbid, [this being the case ever since] The Holy One, Blessed is He, Created all of the worlds. [In addition to the thousands of worlds and the myriads of angels that HaShem constantly sustains], it is [also] known that there are angels whose measure is many thousands of parsaos, as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said in [maseches] “Chullin” (91b), that Gavriel’s measure is two-thousand parsaos. [The above teaching of our Sages, is based on] that which is stated [in seferDaniel”, as follows]: “And his body is like [the measure of] Tarshish…” (Daniel: 10; 6), the measure of the Sea of Tarshish being two-thousand parsaos. There are also angels who are much taller, as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in masechesChagigah” (13b), as follows]: Our Sages have said “about Sandalphon, that he is five-hundred years taller than his fellow [angels”, this distance being measured by the speed of walking…] (and the average person [is capable of] walking ten parsaos per day, go and calculate [the difference of the height between Sandalphon and the other angels.])[8] [In light of the great vastness of everything that HaShem sustains], how could this little person, who, relative to [these angels and realms], is not even considered [as substantial as a] mustard seed, be constantly troubled and worried, [saying], “From where will my livelihood come, and from where will my help come”? Once we contemplate this matter well, we will, out of necessity, be surprised to a much greater degree concerning ourselves [when we worry about issues such as livelihood, while not placing sufficient trust in HaShem], than one should be astounded concerning the question [posed by] the fool, [regarding] the matter of the bird, [as] mentioned previously, in the parable[9]. Our only [obligation is to] strengthen ourselves with all of our power [in order to] perform [HaShem’s] Will, and not worry at all. [One does not need to worry about attaining his sustenance], just as [is the case with] the son of the king [who] does not have to worry [that] perhaps he will be lacking a loaf of bread, as it is written, “You are [the] children [of HaShem, your G-d]…” (Divarim: 14; 1)

[1] This pasuk discusses the argument of those who claim that there is no benefit to serving HaShem and following His Torah.

The entire pasuk reads as follows:

"אמרתם שוא עבד אלהים ומה בצע כי שמרנו משמרתו וכי הלכנו קדרנית מפני ה צבאות:"

“You have said, ‘It is in vain to serve G-d, and what benefit is there when we guard His statutes, and when we walk subordinately before The Presence of HaShem, Master of Legions.” (Malachi: 3; 14)

RaSh”I, Metzudas David, and the MaLBI”M explain that these people are complaining that there is no reward and no compensation and gain by following The Torah. Metzudas David explains that these individuals who deny the concept of reward and punishment for the observance or violation of The Torah, would claim that since HaShem is so great, He wouldn’t care for people serving Him. They also say that there is no benefit to being subservient to HaShem. Therefore, either these people who have decided to not follow HaShem’s Torah, claim that HaShem doesn’t oversee the actions of “lowly” creations, or that He doesn’t compensate the person with the reward for the performance of a given mitzvah. The MaLBI”M points out that these people who deny the necessity of performance of the mitzvos, claim that HaShem is not in need of anyone to serve Him, as He is so great. Furthermore, they look at some of the righteous individuals who are suffering though they perform the mitzvos, and, based on their limited perception of what is going on, claim that not only is the person not rewarded for serving HaShem, but many times, they lead lives of suffering.

The next pasuk continues with these people describing the seemingly pleasurable and successful life of the evildoers, who appear to be free of any punishment for their sinful actions.

What those people who try to justify and even attempt to demonstrate the superiority of a lifestyle devoid of Torah over a Torah lifestyle, ignore, or are unaware of, is the pasuk in ParshasVa’Eschanan” (7; 10), which states, “And He pays His enemy to his face, in order to destroy him, He does not delay [dispensing the reward] to His enemy, [rather], He pays him to his face. This pasuk, as RaSh”I explains, comes to teach us that HaShem rewards His enemy in this world for any good that he has earned, in order so that he will have no merit left and will not receive a portion in The World to Come. Therefore, when they see some of the evildoers seemingly experiencing “the good life”, they may not realize it, but that pleasure in this world would come at the detriment of any reward that they might receive in The World to Come. Similarly, oftentimes, the righteous person may suffer in this world in order to cleanse himself, or detract, from any suffering that would otherwise befall him after he passes away for any sin that he would have committed in this world which can be expiated through suffering in this world. Sometimes, the righteous may even suffer what is called “yisurin shel ahavah” – “afflictions of love”, which come about in a situation where the individual had not sinned. However, at least one of the reasons that suffers from “yisurin shel ahavah” is in order to increase that individual’s reward in The World to Come to a greater degree than he would have otherwise deserved based on his performance of mitzvos and good deeds, on their own, as RaSh”I points out on masechesBirachos” (5a).

[2] The entire pasuk reads as follows:

“You alone are HaShem, You have made the Heavens, the Upper Heavens, and all of their Legions (i.e. the stars and the constellations), the Earth and all that which is upon it, the oceans and all that which is within them and You sustain all of them, and the Legions of the Heaven, bow to You.” (Nichemiah: 9; 6)

The Chofetz Chaim is quoting this pasuk in order to demonstrate that the sustenance and continued existence of everything is constantly dependant upon HaShem. The MaLBI”M explains this pasuk as teaching us that there is nothing in Creation which is self-sustaining; rather, everything is in constant need of HaShem to continue to exist. The MaLBI”M adds that though it appears as if everything runs in accordance with the “Legions of the Heaven” and the orders of the constellations, this is not the case, for HaShem runs everything. (According to the RaLBa”G, the “Legions of the Heaven” refer to the stars.)

[3] This pasuk is written in the context of Michayahu prophesying to Achav that a spirit of falsehood would descend to all of the false prophets in order to entice Achav to go to battle, where he would be killed. This pasuk describes the angels (“Heavenly Legion”) as being on the “right” and “left” of HaShem, at the time that HaShem is consulting the angels as to how to make Achav go to battle in order to be killed.

RaSh”I explains that when the pasuk states that the Heavenly Legion was to the “right” and “left” of HaShem, it wasn’t literally referring to “right” and “left”, rather, those on the “right” are the angels who advocate for the innocence of the person, while those on the “left” advocate toward the verdict of guilty. MaLBI”M explains that HaShem was sitting on His Throne of Judgment against Achav for the all of the abominations with which he had been involved. HaShem was “consulting” with the angels in order to “decide” what to do in order to entice Achav to do that which he was already inclined to do, that being to go to war, in order that he would be killed in battle. The MaLBI”M adds that the angels on the “right” are those who are angels involved with the miraculous, which is associated with the right, while the angels on the “left” are associated with the natural order of events.

[4] The entire pasuk from seferYishayahu”, reads, “Siraphim [angels] were standing above Him, each one possessing six wings, with two [wings] he will cover his face, and with two [wings] he will cover his legs, and with two [wings] he will fly.” (Yeshayahu: 6; 2)

Targum Yonasan explains that the Siraphim angels are the “holy attendants” of HaShem. RaSh”I points out that the Siraphim angels had two wings to cover their face in order so that they wouldn’t behold The Divine Presence of HaShem, the two to cover the legs were for modesty, or, according to the “Tanchuma”, to avoid allowing the legs to serve as a reminder for the sin of the worship of the golden calf. The two wings that were used to fly , enabled the Siraphim to serve HaShem.

[5] This is the following pasuk, which explains the praise that the Siraphim offer HaShem. The pasuk states as follows:

“And this one will call out to this one and shall say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, [is] HaShem, Master of Legions, He fills the entire earth with His Glory.” (Yeshayahu: 6; 3)

RaSh”I notes that each seraph must coordinate the aforementioned praise of HaShem so that no one seraph precedes the other seraphim in their praise of HaShem, otherwise, it would be liable to the punishment of burning (sirayphah).

[6] The gemara in masechesAvodah Zarah” (3b) discusses what HaShem does during the different parts of the day and then goes on to mention that which HaShem does during the night. According to one opinion HaShem floats through His 18,000 worlds on a “light cherub”. The gemara bases the derivation of 18,000 from the following pasuk:

"רכב א-להים רבתים אלפי שנאן אדני בם סיני בקדש"

“The Chariot of G-d is twenty-thousand, thousands of Shinan, HaShem came with them as He had come [to Har] Sinai, in Holiness.” (Tehillim: 68; 18)

The gemara continues by stating, “Do not read [the word as] "שנאן" – “Shinan”, rather, [read it as] "שאינן" – “She’Ainan” – “which are lacking”.” Therefore, the gemara subtracts 2,000 – the minimum of “thousands” - from 20,000, based on its alternative reading of the word “Shinan” as “She’Ainan”, to arrive at 18,000 worlds that HaShem floats through during the night.

[7] The entire pasuk from “Shir HaShirim”, reads as follows:

“My dove is in the clefts of the rock, in the hidden part of the stairs, show Me your appearance, let your voice be heard by Me, for your voice is sweet and your appearance is pleasant.” (Shir HaShirim: 2; 14)

We see from the above pasuk that the voice of The Jewish People is sweet to HaShem.

[8] The gemara explains that Sandalphon is the angel who causes crowns to be tied to HaShem through saying a given utterance.

According to Rabbi Elazar, this angel is the height from the earth to the area in Heaven where the Chayos angels exist. The height of Sandalphon is equivalent to the distance that the average person would walk over five-hundred years. The Chofetz Chaim points out that a typical person would walk ten parsaos on a given day. After doing the math, Sandalphon is 525,960 miles taller than the second to tallest angel, according to the measure as calculated by the Chazon Ish, and 438,300 miles taller than the second to tallest angel according to the measurement of Rav Chaim Naeh. (The calculation is 2.4 (miles) * 365.25 (days) * 500 (years), according to Rav Chaim Naeh, or 2.88 * 365.25 * 500, according to the Chazon Ish.)

[9] This parable can be found on the teaching for the 21st day of Teves.