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, March 03, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ג אדר - Adar 23 - One-Hundred-and-Seventy-Second Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

(During a Jewish leap-year: 8 Adar II - בִּשְׁנַת הָעִיבּוּר - ח אדר בּ)

In addition, due to this [lack of involvement in Torah study], the yoke of the idolaters strengthen over [The B’nei] Yisrael, as is [taught] in Midrash [“Yalkut Shimoni”] (“Yishayahu”, Remez 404), on the pasuk “…as straw consumes the tongue of fire…”[1] (Yishayahu: 5; 24): “The straw [refers to] Eisav, and [the] fire [refers to] Ya’akov. When is it [the case] that the straw consumes the fire? “…When they have rejected… The Torah of HaShem…”, [then] “…their roots will be as that which is decayed…”, (Yishayahu: 1; 24) for the merit of The Forefathers will not benefit them.[2]

Furthermore, it is [taught] in Midrash [“Bireishis Rabbah” (65; 20), as follows]: “…‘The voice is the voice of Ya’akov…’”[3] (Bireishis: 27; 22) – The entire time that the voice of Ya’akov chortles in the synagogues and in The House of [Torah] study, Eisav will not rule over him, [however], when the voice is not the voice of Ya’akov…”[4]

[The following teaching is] brought in MidrashEichah” (
Eichah Rabbosi, 2), [as follows]: “When do the governments of idolaters make decrees upon [The B’nei] Yisrael and succeed [in the implementation of these decrees]? [The idolatrous governments are successful in implementing decrees against the Jewish People] at the time that [the Jewish People] throw the words of The Torah to the ground, as it says [in seferDaniel”], “And a designated period of time shall be placed upon the Tamid [offering] due to the rebellious sins, and truth is thrown to the ground…”[5] (Daniel: 8; 12), [truth being in reference to] The Torah, as it is written [in “Mishlei”], “Acquire truth and do not sell it…”[6] (Mishlei: 23; 23), and it is written [in “Hoshea”], “Israel has forsaken that which is good, they have been pursued by an enemy”[7] (Hoshea: 8; 3), “good” referring only to Torah.”[8]

[Concerning other disastrous consequences that result from lack of involvement in Torah study], it is written [in parshasBiShalach”], “And they traveled… and they encamped in Riphidim…”[9] (Shmos: 17; 1) and it is subsequently written, “And Amalek came…”[10] (Shmos: 17; 8) Our Rabbis of Blessed Memory have expounded [in masechesSanhedrin” (106a), as follows]: “[The Jewish People were attacked by Amalek because they weakened their hands from [involvement in] The Torah.”[11]

[Furthermore], in The Holy “Zohar[12] on the pasuk, “…‘You are lazy…’” (Shmos: 5; 17), [the following is written]: “You are lax from [your involvement in The] Torah, therefore, increase the burden of the people with taxes and property taxes.”

[1] The entire pasuk from seferYishayahu” states as follows:

“Therefore, as stubble consumes the flame of fire and [as] the straw of the sheaves shall weaken a flame, their roots shall be as that which melts and their blossoms shall ascend like dust, for they have rejected The Torah of HaShem Master of Legions, and they have spurned The Saying of The Holy One of Israel.”

[2] This entire passage from “Yalkut Shimoni” states as follows:

“Rabbi Yitzchak said, ‘All of those who take a bribe and make the evildoer innocent, shall be trampled by the heel. “…and the righteousness of the righteous shall be removed from him” (Yishayahu: 5; 23) – “…The righteousness of the righteous…” refers to Moshe, [while] “…shall be removed from him” refers to Yitzchak, [for] as a result of his having made Eisav the evildoer righteous, his eyes became dull, as it says [in parshasToldos”], “And it was when Yitzchak had become old, and his eyes had become dim [from seeing]…” (Bireishis: 27; 1) Therefore, “…as stubble consumes the flame of fire…” (Yishayahu: 5; 24) Does stubble really consume fire? Isn’t it the [nature] of fire to consume stubble? Rather, this [is reffering to] The House of Eisav who is compared to stubble, as it is written [in seferOvadyahu”], “…and The House of Eisav shall be stubble…” (1; 18) “…The flame of fire…” [refers to] The House of Ya’akov, as it is written, “And The House of Ya’akov shall be fire…” (Ovadyahu: 1; 18) “…And the straw of the sheaves shall weaken the flame…” – This is The House of Yosef, as it says [in seferOvadyahu”], “…and The House of Yosef [shall be a] flame…” (1; 18) “…Their root is like that which has melted…” (Yishayahu: 1; 24) – These are The Forefathers who are the root of [The B’nei] Yisrael. “…And their blossoms shall ascend as dust…” – These are the tribes, for they are the blossoms of [The B’nei] Yisrael. For what reason [does all of the above occur]? “…Because they have rejected The Torah of HaShem Master of Legions…” (Yishayahu: 5; 23) – This being [in reference to] The Written Torah. “…And they have spurned The Saying of The Holy One of Israel” (5; 23) – This being [in reference to] The Oral Torah. Similarly, it says [in seferYirmiyahu”], “…For what reason has The Land [of Israel] been destroyed…?” (9; 11) Correspondingly, it says [in seferHoshea”], “Israel has rejected that which is good…” (8; 3) Likewise, it says [in seferDaniel”], “And a designated time shall be given for The Tamid [offering]...” (8; 12)’”

Subsequent to the aforementioned pasuk from seferYirmiyahu”, we read, “…For what reason has The Land [of Israel] been destroyed…?” In answer to this question, the next pasuk states, “And HaShem said, ‘[It is] because they have abandoned My Torah that I have given before them…’” (9; 12) With respect to the pasuk quoted from seferHoshea”, Targum Yonasan ben Uziel comments that “The House of Israel has strayed from following My Service…” RaSh”I comments on seferDaniel”, that a designated period of time remained for The Tamid offering as a consequence of the people having strayed from HaShem, as The B’nei Yisrael had involved themselves in idol worship.

[3] The entire pasuk reads, “And Ya’akov approached Yitzchak his father, and he felt him, and he said, ‘The voice is the voice of Ya’akov and the hands are the hands of Eisav’”.

[4] This segment from “Bireishis Rabbah”, which is also found in “Eichah Rabbah” (Introduction, 2), states as follows:

““And Ya’akov approached Yitzchak… ‘The voice is the voice of Ya’akov…’” (Bireishis: 27; 22)… Ya’akov only rules with his voice. “The voice is the voice of Ya’akov and the hands are the hands of Eisav” – Eisav only rules with the hands… “The voice is the voice of Ya’akov” – Rabbi Birechiah said, ‘At the time that Ya’akov lowers his voice, the hands of Eisav rule, as it is written, “The entire congregration [of Israel] complained…” (Shmos: 16; 2), [and it is subsequently written], “And Amalek came…” (Shmos: 17; 8) At the time that [The B’nei Yisrael] chortle with [their] voice, the hands are not the hands of Eisav, [meaning that] the hands of Eisav do not rule over [them]’. Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said, ‘No philosopher arose in the world like Bilam ben Bi’or and Avnimos the Gardi. All of the idolaters gathered by him [and] said to him, ‘Tell us [whether] we can fight against this nation [of Israel]. He said, ‘Walk and go to their synagogues and Batei Midrashos, and if you find children over there who chortle [words of Torah] with their voices, you cannot oppose [The B’nei Yisrael], for such did their father promise them, and he said to them, “The voice is the voice of Ya’akov” – At the time that the voice of Ya’akov is present in the synagogues, the hands are not the hands of Eisav, and if [this is] not [the case, then] the hands are the hands of Eisav [and] you can overcome them’.”

[5] The entire pasuk reads as follows:

“And a designated period of time shall be given for the Tamid offering due to the rebellious sin, and truth shall be thrown to the ground, and they shall do this and be successful.” (Daniel: 8; 12)

RaSh”I and Metzudas David explain that the truth that is thrown to the ground refers to “The Torah of Truth”. Ibn Ezra explains that the people didn’t involve themselves in Torah and didn’t observe the mitzvos. MaLBI”M explains that due to the rebellious sins of some of the people, the Romans threw the truth, that being The Jewish Law and The Torah of Truth, down to the ground with a number of decrees and acts of destruction against The Jewish People, as they attempted to rid the world of Judaism. MaLBI”M adds that unlike the Greeks who quickly declined, the Romans will be successful in their opposition to The Torah for an extended period of time.

[6] The entire pasuk states, “Acquire truth and do not sell it, wisdom, and musar (moral rebuke), and understanding”.

[7] Targum Yonasan ben Uziel explains the pasuk as follows:

“The House of Israel has strayed from following My Service, concerning which I have brought good upon them, from this point, [subsequent to abandoning My Service, the] enemy shall pursue them.”

By abandoning The Service of HaShem, The B’nei Yisrael also abandoned The Torah.

[8] The text from “Eichah Rabbah” states as follows:

“Shmuel taught it in the name of Rabbi Yishmael bar Ami, [as follows]: ‘When does the government make decrees [against The Jewish People], which succeed? [The government succeeds in their decrees against The B’nei Yisrael] at the time that [The B’nei] Yisrael throws The Words of The Torah to the ground, as it is written [in seferDaniel”], “And a tzava – צבא – shall be given for The Tamid due to [their] rebellious sin…” (8; 12), “tzava” only referring to the governments, as it is written [in seferYishayahu”], “…HaShem shall visit punishment upon the Heavenly Legion – tzava – in the Heavens…” (24; 21) “The Tamid” (The offering that is brought constantly – Tamid – twice a day) – These are [The People of] Israel, as it is written [in seferYihoshua”], “…and you shall involve yourselves in it (i.e. The Torah) day and night (i.e. constantly – Tamid)…” (1; 8) “Ba’Pasha” – “due to their rebellious sin” – Due to the rebellious sin of The Torah, [for] as long as [The B’nei] Yisrael throw The Words of Torah to the ground, the government makes decrees and is successful [in their implementation], as it says [in seferDaniel”], “…and they have thrown truth to the ground…” (8; 12), “truth” only being Torah, as it says [in “Mishlei”], “Acquire truth and do not sell it…” (23; 23) If you have thrown Words of Torah to the ground (i.e. mistreat it by lowering it – RaSh”I and Metzudas David), [then] the governments immediately succeed [in implementing decrees against The Jewish People], as it is written, “…and they shall act and be successful”. (Daniel: 8; 12)’ Rabbi Yehuda ben Pazi said, ‘“[The People of] Israel have abandoned good…” (Hoshea: 8; 3), “good” only referring to Torah, as it says [in “Mishlei”], “‘For I have given you a good acquisition…” (4; 2)’”

[9] This pasuk, in the context of The B’nei Yisrael’s complaint against Moshe due to lack of water, immediately prior to their being attacked by Amalek, reads as follows:

“And the entire Congregation of The B’nei Yisrael traveled from The Wilderness of Tzin, according to [the order of] their encampments, in accordance with The Word of HaShem, and they encamped in Riphidim, and there was no water for The Nation to drink.” (Shmos: 17; 1)

According to the “Or HaChaim”, who quotes from masechesBichoros” (5b), where we learn that the word “Riphidim” – “רפידים” can teach us that when The B’nei Yisrael have “רפו ידיהם מן התורה” – “weakened their hands from The Torah”, Torah being compared to water (Ta’anis, 7a). The “Or HaChaim” explains that HaShem withheld water from The B’nei Yisrael, midah k’neged midah (measure-for-measure) for their having become lax with regard to their involvement in Torah, as water is compared to Torah.

[10] This pasuk introduces the section of The Torah that discusses one of the wars between Amalek and The B’nei Yisrael. The entire pasuk states, “And Amalek came and they fought with [The People of] Israel in Riphidim”. (Shmos: 17; 8) RaSh”I explains that The B’nei Yisrael were punished in that HaShem allowed them to become susceptible to attack by Amalek, after they questioned if HaShem was in their midst, as it says, “Is HaShem in our midst or not” (Shmos: 17; 7), though HaShem had been there for them, helping them along the way. The above is analogous to a child who is carried by his father. Every time the child asks the father for something, the father provides the child with those objects. At one point, subsequent to all that the father had done for the child, the child sees another person and asks him where his father is. The father then puts the child on the groud. No longer protected by his father, a dog comes over and bites the child. (“Tanchuma” on parshasYisro”, 3 and “Shmos Rabbah
: 26; 2)) By becoming lax in their involvement in Torah, they were denied water (Or HaChaim), then complained to Moshe about not having water, even questioning whether HaShem was in their midst, and were subsequently punished by being made open to attack by Amalek which stemed from their prior lack of involvement in Torah, thereby effectively distancing themselves from HaShem.

[11] This teaching states as follows:

“Rabbi Yehoshua says, ‘[The place that The B’nei Yisrael were encamped at was called Riphidim], as they weakened themselves from [involvement in the study of] Words of Torah, as it says [in seferYirmiyahu”], “…Fathers did not turn to sons due to despair (Metzudas David, lit. “feebleness of hands”).”’”

[12] This teaching is found in the “Rayah M’heimna” on parshasBiHa’alosicha”, 153a in the third volume.

The text from “Rayah M’heimna”, states as follows:

““…‘You are lazy, are lazy…’” (Shmos: 5; 17) They are lax with [their involvement in] The Torah, they are lax to perform [acts of] good with Torah scholars and men of valor who go from city to city and are not shown favor. They are lax from the heaviness of the tax, for if you would say that they are heavy with the heaviness of the tax and this is the reason that they do not perform good, they are lying with their words and are saying that from the heaviness of the tax that you have placed upon them [by requiring them to collect] straw, they do not give money, for with respect to this they are making a false claim to The Holy One, Blessed is He. [It is] due to [the fact that] they do not rely on Him and have not taken compassion on The Name of HaShem, “‘[Straw] has not been given to your servants…’” (Shmos: 5; 16) For those who do have [money], they conceal and hide the money on the inside, for that is on their insides – תוכן, such as the inside of the treasure-house and [of the] chest. [Therefore], “…and you shall give the set amount of bricks – תכן לבנים” (Shmos: 5; 18), this being the white silver – כספים לבנים – (i.e. high quality, very shiny silver) that existed in that generation, during that time. “…Over there he (i.e. Moshe) placed [down] an ordinance and law for them…” (Shmos: 15; 25), and these are the masters of Mishna. [Similarly], over here, [where the pasuk states], “And they arrived in Marah – מרתה…” (Shmos: 15; 23), they reviewed The Oral Torah (Torah She’Ba’al Peh), [such review being] bitter with a great amount of distress, with misery, so that it would remain within them. “And they (i.e. the Egyptians) made their (i.e. the Jews) lives bitter with harsh – קשה – work…” (Shmos: 1; 14), this being [Torah] difficulties (i.e. questions) – קושיות, “…with clay - בחמר…”, this [being] a fortiori argument (kal va’chomer) – קל וחומר. “…and with bricks - ובלבנים…”, this being the whitening (i.e. clarifying) of halacha – לבון הלכה. “…and with all [types of] work in the field…”, this being [in reference to] Baraisa (Talmudic-era teaching that wasn’t codified in the Mishna). “…all of the their work concerning which they enslaved them with severity” – this being [in reference to] Teiku – תיק"ו (those halachic teachings which are unresolved, which Eliyahu will answer the Torah difficulties and questions, this being the acronym of “TeIK”U” – “תשבי יתרץ קושיות ובעיות”).”

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