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

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon כ"א אדר - Adar 21 - One-Hundred-and-Seventieth Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

(During a Jewish leap-year: 6 Adar II - בִּשְׁנַת הָעִיבּוּר - ו אדר בּ)

[A person should] imagine to himself[1], that a great and awesome king saw one person lying in the garbage, [this person being] afflicted and surrounded with all types of suffering and severe sicknesses, and was destitute in every possible way. This person [then] finds favor in the eyes of the king, [to the extent that the king] orders [his servants] to wash off all of his filth. [This king then] heals [this formerly-destitiute person] of all of his maladies, to the point that he becomes healthy and complete in all of his limbs, [has him] dressed [in] expensive clothing, crowns him with precious stones and pearls, hands over all of his treasure to him, commands that the entire leadership of the kingdom be under his [rule], and [then] gives him his daughter as a wife. [This king also] raises [this person] over all of the ministers and the servants of the king, to the point that he commands all of the dignitaries of the kingdom to serve before him, [while wearing] expensive clothing, to the extent that he desires. Behold, [it comes to pass] that while [this individual] is still dressed in the clothes of royalty, and [while he is] crowned with precious stones, and all of the notables of the kingdom are walking before him and illuminating him with lamps, at that [very] moment, [this individual who is experiencing these great honors], sees little kids dirtying themselves in [the] garbage and collecting stones and playing. [Thereupon, this person] becomes envious of [these children] and [consequently] behaves as they are behaving, throws off all of his valuable clothes, rejects all of the pleasures that had been growing greater, and abandons all of the dignitaries of the kingdom who were walking before him, [to instead] roll in the garbage, become dirty in the garbage, and wrap himself in it, as he had initially been accustomed. Is there any end to the punishment of [such a] person who [displayed] contempt for the honor of the king and of his attendees who perform [the king’s] will, who had dirtied his valuable clothes [in the garbage]…?” The moral [derived from the above parable] is self-understood, [that being] that [just as the aforementioned individual would be punished for showing complete disregard for the honor of the king], all the more so [it is the case that] punishments are designated and prepared [to befall] those [people] who abandon The Torah [in order] to separate [themselves] from it to [instead] to dirty themselves in trash, [that being] the nonsense of this world!”[2]

With [the benefit of the above parable, the following teaching of] our Sages of Blessed Memory [in masechesBirachos” (5a)], shall be understood: “Concerning] anyone for whom it is possible to involve himself in Torah [study] and he [nevertheless] does not involve [himself in Torah study], The Holy One, Blessed is He, brings distasteful appearing afflictions upon him and they devastate him, as it says [in “Tehillim”], “I am similar to a mute, I have been silent from that which is good, and my pain is devastating”[3] (Tehillim: 39; 3), “good” [in the above pasuk] only referring to Torah.”[4] ([The above mentioned punishment] is measure-for-measure, [for] since [this person who didn’t involve himself in Torah study has thereby] despised The Torah, and [treated] it as a vessel in which he had no desire, therefore he will also be made despicable in public-view).

[1] This teaching is found in “Ma’alos HaTorah” on pg. 45.

[2] Just as is evident from the parable brought in seferMa’alos HaTorah”, that this lowly individual was raised up very high by the king, so too, The B’nei Yisrael were raised up to a very high level by HaShem, when He gave us The Torah. This individual, while being held in such high esteem by royalty and by the nobles of the land, instead rejects the honor that the king has bestowed upon him, therey showing his lack of regard for the king, to rather amuse himself with his prior desire of playing in the garbage. Though such an individual seems to take very extreme actions by rejecting the nobility, wealth, and honor that the king has bestowed upon him, in favor of garbage, The Chofetz Chaim teaches us that such an individual is actually comparable to the person who rejects and abandons involvement in Torah study in favor of the nonsense of the world. In fact, this individual, by abandoning The Torah, is committing a much more serious offense than the poor individual in the above parable, as the person who abandons The Torah, is showing lack of regard for HaShem, He being incomparably greater than any king.

[3] Targum Yonasan ben Uziel explains this pasuk as saying that the person’s pain has been made apparent due to their lack of involvement in Torah study.

[4] This teaching is quoted n the name of Rabbi Yochanan.

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