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

Monday, February 11, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon ט"ו אדר - Adar 15 - One-Hundred-and-Sixty-Fourth Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

(During a Jewish leap-year: 30 Adar I - בִּשְׁנַת הָעִיבּוּר - ל אדר א)

In the merit of one’s involvement in Torah study, [the person] is also [rescued from punishment] on The Great Day of Judgment, concerning which it says, “…Behold, The Day comes, burning like an oven…”[1] (Malachi: 3; 19) [This follows that which is taught] in “Midrash Tehillim[2], [as follows]: “In the future, The Holy One, Blessed is He, will remove the sun from its sheath, and He will judge the evildoers with it, as it says [in seferMalachi”], “For behold, the Day comes, burning like an oven…” (Malachi: 3; 19), and He will heal the tzaddikim[3] with [the sun’s light], as it says, “And a sun of righteousness with healing [in its wings] shall shine for those who fear My Name…”[4] (Malachi: 3; 20)”

Rabbi Yihoshua said, [as follows]: ‘The Holy One, Blessed is He, performed righteousness with all of the inhabitants of the world, for He did not place [the sun] in the first firmament, for had He placed [the sun] in [the first firmament], there would not have been shade for any of the creatures below [the sun], as it says [in “Tehillim”], “…and nothing is hidden from its heat”.[5] (Tehillim: 19; 7) Similarly [in the context of being protected from the sun on The Day of Judgment], it is written, “For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven…” (Malachi: 3; 19), and it is subsequently written, “Remember The Torah of Moshe, My servant…”[6] (Malachi: 3; 22)’[7]

“The [study of] Torah is also included among those mitzvos that a person consumes [of] their fruits in this world, and the principle [of the reward] remains intact for him in The World to Come.” (Peah: Chapter 1, Mishna 1)

[Our Sages] have also said [in masechesAvodah Zarah” (19b), as follows]: “[Concerning] all of those who involve themselves in Torah [study], his property brings him success. [Our Sages have also taught, “Concerning] all of those who involve themselves in Torah [study], The Holy One, Blessed is He, carries out [that person’s] desires on his behalf.”[8] (Avodah Zarah, 19a)

From all of this [which we have learned], we are able to [take note concerning] the greatness of the matter of involvement in Torah [study]. Our Sages of Blessed Memory have already said [in masechesBirachos” (8a), as follows]: “The Holy One, Blessed is He, only has the four amos[9] of halacha in His World.”[10] [The above teaching is coming to inform us] that the ultimate choice and the desire of The Holy One, Blessed is He, from His world, is only of the type of person who is involved in [the study of] halacha, his place [comprising] four amos.

[1] The entire pasuk reads, “For behold The Day comes, burning like an oven, and all of the wicked and all of those who perform evil will be [as] straw, and The Day that comes shall burn them, [so] said HaShem, Master of Legions, that there shall not remain for them a root and [a] branch.” (Malachi: 3; 19)

Targum Yonasan ben Uziel explains this pasuk as teaching that the evildoers and sinners will be weak like straw and will be consumed, not to leave over any descendants. RaDa”K, commenting on Yonasan ben Uziel’s explanation, points out that the person’s first son is comparable to a root, and the son’s son is comparable to a branch.

RaSh”I explains that in the future, gehinnom will no longer exist. Rather, HaShem will take the sun out of its’ sheath, and, as such, the evildoers will be judged through it and the righteous individuals will be healed through it.

Metzudas David points out that this pasuk refers to The Day of Judgment, on which the evildoers will be destroyed and will be burnt as easily as straw, not to leave over any remembrance of them.

MaHaR”I K’ra explains that HaShem will judge and destroy the evildoers specifically through the sun, as 1) it will be clear which people are evil and which are righteous, and 2) no one will be able to claim that it “just happened to be by coincidence” that they all perish. If HaShem would bring some other punishment that would wipe out the evildoers, then some people may claim that the righteous would have also died had they been in the area.

We can see from this teaching that the righteous individuals will be protected from the sun, while the evildoers are destroyed through it. As noted previously, Torah is compared to fire and protects the person from the fires of gehinnom, especially if they are a Torah scholar. Based on the previous quoted teaching, it appears that The Torah that one has studied will save them from The Day of Judgment in the future, on which the evildoers will be destroyed by way of the sun.

[2] This teaching is found in “Shocher Tov”, on “Tehillim” (19; 7), beginning with the words “מקצה השמים” – “From the ends of the Heavens” (section 13), as well as in [maseches] “Nidarim” (8b). The teaching in “Midrash Tehillim”, quotes Rabbi Yannai and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, while the gemara in maseches Nidarim” quotes Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish. Rabbi Yehoshua teaches that those who involved themselves in Torah study shall be hidden from the destructive effects of the sun at the time that the evildoers are punished and shall also benefit from their Torah study when it comes to the time of T’chiyas HaMeisim.

[3] “Tzadikkim” are the righteous individuals.

[4] The entire pasuk states, “And the sun of righteousness with healing in its wings, shall shine for you, those who fear My Name, and you shall go out and you shall become fat like the penned-in calves.” (Malachi: 3; 20)

Metzudas David explains that the “sun of righteousness” will shine for those who fear HaShem, on behalf of their actions of righteousness that they had performed, which will light up for them like the sun. Furthermore, their mitzvah of charity shall provide them with a good payment. Such people shall benefit in that this sun of righteousness shall provide them healing and enjoyment.

MaLBI”M adds that it is those people who perform acts of good out of their love of HaShem who will be benefited by this light.

[5] The entire pasuk states, in reference to the sun, states, “Its’ rising is from the ends of The Heaven and its’ orbit is by [the] ends [of The Heaven], and nothing is hidden from its heat”. (Tehillim: 19; 7)

Metzudas David explains that the sun rises from the ends of the Heavens, from the perspective of the person, and shines and sets in the same place as it had the previous day. RaDa”K explains that though people can escape the light of the sun, no one can escape the heat of the sun, even indoors. RaDa”K is offering a different interpretation than the teaching of Rabbi Yihoshua, quoted in “Midrash Tehillim
, in that Rabbi Yihoshua teaches that no one would be able to be provided with shade from the sun.

[6] The entire pasuk states, “Remember The Torah of Moshe, My servant, which I commanded him at Choreiv [with] ordinances and laws in reference to all of [The People of] Israel.” (Malachi: 3; 22)

This prophecy, is the last prophecy until the coming of Mashiach, as MaHaR”I K’ra and MaLBI”M explain. MaHaR”I K’ra says that Malachi is telling The Jewish People that by following The Torah, they will bring The Redemption closer. MaLBI”M says that Malachi is telling the peole that they should follow The Torah, as The Torah will show The Jewish People what they should do.

Metzudas David explains that Malachi is saying that the people should follow the mitzvos of The Torah, whether they be the “mishpatim” – “משפטים” – “laws” who’s reasons are provided, as well as to the “chukim” – “חקים” – “ordinances” – those laws who’s reasons have not been provided to The Jewish People and concerning which the Satan tries to make the people question them.

RaDa”K says that Malachi is instructing the people to observe The Torah throughout all generations in advance of the coming of The Day of Judgment.

[7] As the Chofetz Chaim points out, from the juxtaposition of these two p’sukim, we can see that the person will be spared from punishment on The Day of Judgment through their involvement in Torah study (and practice).

[8] The section from the gemara states as follows:

““…and [one who involves himself in Torah study] shall be successful” (Tehillim: 1; 3) – “Rabbi Yihoshua ben Levi says, ‘This matter of the success of the property of those involved in Torah study, is written in The Torah, repeated in (N’vi’im) The Prophets, and [written for the] third time in K’suvim (The Writings). It is written in The Torah, as it is written, “And you shall guard The words of this Covenant, and you shall perform them, in order that you will be successful in everything that you shall do”. (Divarim: 29; 8) It is repeated in N’vi’im, as it is written, “This book of The Torah shall not be removed from your mouth, and you shall contemplate it [during the] daytime and nighttime, in order so that you shall guard to perform in accordance with everything that is written in it, for then your path shall be successful and then you shall prosper”. (Yihoshua: 1; 8) (Translation based on Metzudas Tzion and Targum Yonasan ben Uziel.) It is [written for the] third [time] in K’suvim, as it is written, “For his desire is only in The Torah of HaShem, and he contemplates in His Torah day and night and he shall be as a tree that is planted upon steams of water, who’s fruit is given in its time, and who’s leaves do not wither and he doe not cease from producing fruit”. (Tehillim: 1; 2 - 3)’”

The next segment of the gemara states, “Rabbi Alexandri announced, ‘Who wants life? Who wants life?’ Everyone gathered and came to him [and] said to him, ‘Give us life’. [Thereupon, Rabbi Alexandri] said to them, ‘“Who is the person who desires life?… Guard your tongue from evil… remove yourself from evil and perform [that which is] good…” (Tehillim: 34; 13 – 15)’ Perhaps [the] person will say, ‘I have guarded my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceit, I will [now] go and allow myself to go to sleep.’ The pasuk [therefore] says, “Remove yourself from evil and perform [that which is] good…” (34; 15), “good” only referring to Torah, as it says, “For I have given you a good acquisition, do not abandon My Torah”. (Mishlei: 4; 2)”

The teaching that HaShem performs the desires of those who involve themselves in Torah study, is taught in the name of Rav Avdimi, the son of Chama, who quotes the phrase, “For only in The Torah of HaShem is his desire…” (Tehillim: 1; 2)

[9] “Amah” is a cubit – the distance from the elbow to the tip of the finger, which is approximately 18 inches. “Four amos” is considered by Judaism to be the person’s area, such concepts being applicable in Jewish law (halacha) in the laws of prayer, for example, where we learn that a person’s personal area for prayer is “four amos” – approximately six feet all around him (i.e. his area extends six feet from his body, in all directions). The precise measure of an “amah” varies according to different authorities, with, for example, the Chazon Ish ruling that an amah is 22.7 inches, while according to Rav Chaim Na’eh, an amah measures 18.9 inches. Therefore, six amos according to the Chazon Ish is approximately 7.5 feet.

[10] The text of the gemara states as follows:

“Rava said to Rafram, the son of Pappa, [as follows]: ‘Master, tell us some of those outstanding words that you said in the name of Rav Chisda [with regards] to the synagogue’. He said to [Rava], Rav Chisda said [as follows]: “What is the meaning of that which is written, “HaShem loves the gates of Tzion more than all of the habitations of Ya’akov”? (Tehillim: 87; 2) HaShem loves the gates that are distinguished in halacha more than all of the synagogues and batei midrashos (Houses of Torah Study).” This relates to that which Rav Chiya, the son of Ami, said in the name of Ulla, [as follows]: ‘From the day that The Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, The Holy One, Blessed is He, only has the four amos of halacha in His World.’ Abayee said, ‘At first I would learn [Torah] in the house and pray in the synagogue. Once I heard that which Rabbi Chiya, the son of Ami, said in the name of Ulla, ‘From the day that The Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, The Holy One, Blessed is He, only has the four amos of halacha in His World’, I would only pray in the place that learned.’ Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Assi, though there were thirteen synagogues in Tiberias, they would only pray between the pillars, where they learned [Torah].”

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