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, February 05, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon י"בּ אדר - Adar 12 - One-Hundred-and-Sixty-First Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

(During a Jewish leap-year: 26 Adar I - בִּשְׁנַת הָעִיבּוּר - כ"ו אדר א)

Chapter 3

In [this Chapter, we] shall Explain that The Torah [that one studies] saves the person from Suffering and from all Harm, [both] in This World and in The World to Come

Come and [take note of the] greatness of the power of The Torah, for such did [our Sages of Blessed Memory] say [in masechesBirachos” (5a), as follows]: “[Concerning] all of those who involve themselves in Torah [study]… all of their sins are pardoned, as it is written [in “Mishlei”], “With kindness and truth, sin is atoned…”[1][2] (Mishlei: 16; 6)

Furthermore, [our Sages] have said [in masechesBirachos”, as follows]: “Afflictions [are repulsed] from all of those who involve themselves in Torah [study], as it says [in “Iyov”], “…and those damagers fly upward – “Oof”, (Iyov: 5; 7) “Oof” – “עוף” only referring to Torah, as it says [in “Mishlei”], “Set your eyes upon it and it is gone…”[3] (Mishlei: 23; 5), and “reshef” – “רשף” refers only to suffering, as it says [in ParshasKi Savo”], “Bloating of hunger and burning, devouring – “רשף” – heat, and bitter destruction…”[4] (Divarim: 32; 24) [Concerning the protective power of Torah study, the following], is [taught] in “Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu[5], [as follows]: “If you see that afflictions are coming into contact and befalling you, [then] run to [involve yourselves in studying] words of Torah, and [these] afflictions will immediately flee from you, as it says [in seferYishayahu”], “Go My Nation, come into your rooms…”[6] (Yishayahu: 26; 20)”[7]

At times, [Torah study] also saves a person even if he is liable to the death penalty at the hands of Heaven, as is [taught] in “Midrash Rabbah”, [on] ParshasKidoshim” (Parsha 25, 1), [as follows]: “If a person stumbles [by performing] a sin… What should he do [in order that he will] live? If he had been accustomed to read one page [of Torah], he should read two pages, and if he had accustomed to learn one chapter [of Torah], he should read two [chapters].”[8]

[1] The entire pasuk states, “With kindness and truth, sin shall be atoned, and with fear of HaShem one shall turn from evil.” (Mishlei: 16; 6) (See Targum Yonasan ben Uziel and RaSh”I)

Metzudas David explains that someone will be atoned for their sins on account of the truth and kindness that they are involved in, as long as they turn from evil out of their fear of HaShem and not due to their fear of people. RaLBa”G teaches that if the person acts uprightly, with truth and kindness, then they will be spared of the punishment that would have otherwise befallen him due to his sins. MaLBI”M explains that the person who performs acts of kindness, without expecting to receive anything in return and who is very careful to be truthful, will be atoned of their sins. However, the person who acts out of fear of HaShem will even be better off, as he will turn away from sin, never coming to perform it and thereby will not need atonement. This follows that which it says in seferTehillim”, “‘Praiseworthy is the person who is forgiven of their rebellious sins…praiseworthy is the person who HaShem doesn’t consider as if he has sin…” (32; 1 – 2)

[2] This section of the gemara states, “It was taught before Rabbi Yochanan, “[Concerning all of those who are involved in Torah [study] and acts of kindness, and buries his children, is pardoned for all of his sins. Rabbi Yochanan said to him, ‘It makes sense [to say] that [one is pardoned for all of his sins due to his involvement in] Torah and acts of kindness, for it is written [in “Mishlei”], “With חסד – kindness – and אמת – truth sin is atoned…” (16; 6), חסד – chesed – kindness is גמילות חסדים – acts of kindness, as it says [in “Mishlei”], “One who pursues righteousness and חסד – kindness will find [that he receives], life, righteousness, and honor.” (Mishlei: 21; 21) אמת – truth – is Torah, as it says, “Acquire truth and don’t sell it…” (Mishlei: 23; 23) Rather, from where do we know that one who buries his children [is pardoned for all of his sins]? [In response to such a question], a certain elderly person taught in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, ‘[There is a relationship between being pardoned for all of one’s sins and burying one’s children, for we have the word] עון – sin – [by being pardoned for all of one’s sins and by burying one’s children, for] it is written over here, “With kindness and truth עון – sin – shall be atoned” (16; 6), and it is written there [in “Yirmiyahu”], “and He shall pay sin to the bosom of their children” (32; 18)”

[3] The entire pasuk states, “Set your eyes upon it and it is gone, for wings shall surely be made for him, like an eagle that flies in the Heavens”. (Mishlei: 23; 5)

MaLBI”M explains this pasuk as teaching that the person shouldn’t hide his eyes from The Torah, not even for a moment, as The Torah that one has studied is comparable to a bird that is in the hand of a person, for at the moment that he turns away from it, it flies to the Heavens. This is comparable to The Torah that one has studied, for if he hides his eyes from it, it can depart from him, as Torah wisdom that one possesses is not aroused on its own, rather through effort and involvement in Torah study.

[4] The entire pasuk states, “Bloatings of famine, and consumption by demons, and being cut down by spirits, and I shall send the teeth of cattle against them with the venom of those [snakes] that crawl on the ground.” (This translation is based on RaSh”I quoting seferIyov”, masechesPisachim”, and seferHoshea”, as well as Onkelos.)

[5] This teaching is found in the beginning of the sixth chapter of “Eliyahu Rabba”.

[6] The entire pasuk states, “Go My Nation, enter your rooms, and close the door [behind] you, wait for about a moment until the anger passes.” (Yishayahu: 26; 20)

Targum Onkelos explains the pasuk as follows: “Go My Nation, perform good deeds for yourself that will protect you at the time of distress, hide yourselves for a short [period of] time until the curse is removed.”

RaSh”I explains that the Jewish People shall enter their rooms, they being the shuls and Batei Midrashos (Halls of Torah study), or, as RaSh”I quotes Rabbi Tanchuma as teaching that the person should contemplate concerning their actions in the chambers of their heart.

Metzudas David teaches that the prophecy that the people should enter their rooms for a moment for protection from the outside dangers. This prophecy refers to the wrath of the troubles that will precede The Redemption, concerning which the person can conceal himself through the performance of teshuvah and good actions.

RaDa”K explains similar to Metzudas David, and notes that this prophecy relates to the war of Gog ánd Magog when there will be trouble for The Jewish People for a short period of time when the good people will be protected from the troubles due to their good actions.

[7] The end of the teaching from “Tanna D’vei Eliyahu” states, “…therefore it states [in “Shir HaShirim”], “…The King has brought me into His chamber…” (1; 4)”

[8] This teaching states, “Rav Huna said, ‘If a person has stumbled in a sin [for which] he is liable for the death penalty at the hands of Heaven, what should he do [in order that] he will live? If he had been accustomed to read one page [of Torah], he should read two pages, if he had been accustomed to learn one chapter of Torah, he will learn two [chapters]. If he is not accustomed to read and learn [Torah], what should he do so that he will live? He should go and make himself a leader over the community, and a collecter of charity [on behalf of the community], and he [then] lives.”

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