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, December 18, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon י"בּ שבט - Shevat 12 - One-Hundred-and-Thirty-First Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Take note that] once the person will contemplate concerning the magnitude of his deficiency in Torah [learning] and [in his performance of the] mitzvos, he will [realize that he does] not possess that which he can be haughty over. [This follows] that which our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in masechesNidarim[1] (41a), as follows]: “If this is lacking, what has he acquired?”[2] Even if [the person] possesses a small amount of Torah [learning] and [performance of] good deeds, once he truthfully considers [the extent of his deficiency in these areas], he will realize that he still has not rectified half [of that which he is capable of rectifying] and has not even [attained] a third [of] the wisdom [in relation to his potential] with which The Holy One, Blessed is He, imbued within him.

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: The holy sifarim have recorded a [powerful] parable related to the above teaching [concerning the dearth of Torah knowledge] and one’s coming to the recognition that there is nothing concerning which he can become haughty]. It appears to me that I have seen this [parable] in seferZichru Toras Moshe[3], [as follows]:

[The parable is of] one rich man, who sent two people to a distant country to acquire precious stones on his behalf. [The rich man] gave one-thousand gold coins to one [of his messengers] for this task [of acquiring precious stones] and only provided one-hundred gold coins to the second [messenger]. On the journey, [the two messengers] wasted [much of] the money on purposeless [acquisitions], to the extent that only two-hundred gold coins remained in the possession of the [messenger] who was [entrusted with the] one-thousand [coins], and [only] forty [gold coins remained] in the possession of [his companion who was entrusted with] one-hundred [gold coins]. Once the [the messengers arrived at their destination], they [began to] quarrel with one another. The [messenger who was entrusted with] one-thousand [gold coins boasted to the accompanying messenger, as follows]: “Are you really able to compare yourself with me? Aren’t you a poor person [in relation to me, as you do] not even possess one-quarter of that which I [possess]!” [Overhearing the quarreling messengers, a bystander] responded to [the messenger entrusted with] one-thousand [gold coins]: “Woe, fool and haughty [one, concerning] what [is it that] you become haughty? [You pride yourself over your fellow as if you are wealthier than him, though] we are already aware that the coins do not belong to you, [rather], you are merely a messenger [sent] to bring the merchandise to the one who sent you [on the journey and entrusted you with his money]. In reality, you are poorer than [your companion] over whom you pride yourself, for he only owes the dispatcher [the] sixty gold coins that he squandered in his foolishness, and, [as for] you, didn’t you waste eight-hundred gold coins on useless matters! [When asked], how shall you explain to the one who dispatched you [concerning the great deal of money that] you have wasted? At that time [when you are required to provide an explanation to the one who dispatched you concerning the money that you have wasted], won’t you be [overcome with] a much greater degree of embarrassment and shame than this poor person whom you insulted?!?”

[The above parable] is precisely the case in our matter [concerning our degree of involvement in Torah study and performance of mitzvos], for aren’t we all messengers of The Merciful One, [sent] here from The Upper World, [in order] for each of us to rectify our soul and polish it. [The person is expected to rectify his soul] to the extent of the degree of wisdom that The Holy One, Blessed is He, embued within his soul. Therefore, [in light of the above], it is not [fitting] for the person to become haughty concerning the greater [degree of] wisdom that he possesses over his fellow, for [the wisdom that he possesses] does not [truly] belong to him, rather, it is given to him for [that which he] needs [in order to successfully arrive at] the end-purpose, [that being, that he will use his wisdom to rectify his soul. Rather than being haughty by comparing himself with his fellow], he should consider how many days and how many years he was idle from Torah [learning, concerning which] he will be [held responsible] for all of [the time he was idle from involvement in Torah learning. The person who was idle from involvement in Torah study will be required] to give an accounting for each day of his life [concerning those things] which he involved himself [in the place of Torah study].

[1] The text in the gemara (Nedarim, 41a), states as follows:

“Abayee said, ‘We have derived [that] “one is only poor with [respect to] knowledge.”’ In the West (i.e. Babylonia), they said, ‘If he possesses this [knowledge], he possesses everything, if he doesn’t possess this (i.e. knowledge), what does he possess? If he has acquired this (knowledge), what is he lacking? If he has not acquired this (knowledge), what has he acquired?”

[2] The actual text of the gemara states “If he has not acquired this (i.e. knowledge), what has he acquired?” The text as recorded in seferShmiras HaLashon” is slightly differenet – “If this (i.e. knowledge) is lacking, what has been acquired?”

[3] Note from the “Kol HaLashon” printing of seferShmiras HaLashon”: [Concerning the discussion of the attribute of haughtiness, as recorded in seferZichru Moshe”, see his introduction where he goes on at length concerning this attribute. However, [the author presents] a different parable which resembles the parable [transcribed in seferShmiras HaLashon”].

No comments: