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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ז אדר - Adar 27 - One-Hundred-and-Seventy-Sixth Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

(During a Jewish leap-year: 12 Adar II - בִּשְׁנַת הָעִיבּוּר - י"בּ אדר בּ)

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: I have heard of an incident concerning one wealthy man who was involved in many great business dealings, who [consequently] completely separated himself from the futile [pursuits] of the world [in order] to involve himself in [the study of] The Torah of HaShem, day and night. [Thereupon], his brothers, his father’s household, as well as his [own] household, ganged up on him [in an attempt] to [persuade him to not involve himself in Torah study so as to] cause him to return to his initial [business] affairs. [This person nevertheless] did not pay attention to [these relatives], and they [consequently] gave up [in their attempts to influence him to return to his business pursuits. Subsequent to witnessing this], the people who already had recognized him to be a great businessman, asked him [to inform them] in what manner he conducted himself in order to not pay heed to the screaming of the people of his household [who thereby hoped have him return to his business pursuits].

[This wealthy man] responded by saying [the following] to them: ‘[What assisted me in ignoring the calls of my relatives to return to my business affairs, was that] I contemplated concerning that which our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in masechesBirachos” (63b), as follows]: “The Torah only exists within one who kills himself over it, as it says…”[1] [The] explanation [of this teaching] being [as follows]: [The person should consider it to be] as if he is already dead. [The above] means that he will contemplate to himself that he had already concluded all of his affairs that were within his power [to complete], and [at the time that he concluded these business affairs], he concluded the allotted days of his life, and [that] they brought him before The King Who reigns over kings, The Holy One, Blessed is He, for judgment concerning all of the matters through which he consumed his time with vain and empty [pursuits], and he came out of The Heavenly [Court] with a verdict of guilty. [Upon hearing his verdict of guilty], he cries out, ‘Woe is me, woe is me, woe is me concerning my evil actions and my evil dealings!’ If, in the midst of all of this they would permit him to immediately descend to this world, and perform tishuvah [for his previous actions], he would definitely not be lax for even one moment from this [pursuit of tishuvah] and would not pay any heed to know of the affairs of his household!’

Therefore, a person should think to himself that based on his sins, it was fitting for him to have already died. If [it would be] that after [his] death, The Holy One, Blessed is He, would treat him with [a] great [deal of] kindness, and would give him permission to return [to Him through performance of] tishuvah [and reject his wrongful actions], he would definitely not be lax from this [pursuit of tishuvah] for even one moment. Therefore, what harm does The Holy One, Blessed is He, cause him [by] lengthening the [allotted] days of his life, in order that [he] will perform tishuvah during his actual lifetime? [The person] definitely needs to invigorate himself with all of his power to perform tishuvah for his sins, and to constantly learn Torah. At the very least, [he should set aside] a designated time [that is] constantly [in effect] for [his study of] Torah, and not pay pay heed to those who wish to distract him from this [pursuit of Torah study].]

[1] The text of this section of the gemara, states as follows:

“Another explanation: “Pay heed – הסכּת – and listen Israel…” Crush – כתתו – yourselves over Words of Torah, as Reish Lakish said. For Reish Lakish said, ‘What is the source that Words of Torah do not continue to exist except within one who kills himself over it? [This follows that which] it says [in parshasChukas”], “This is The Torah (i.e. The Law): When a person dies in a tent…” (Bamidbar: 19; 14)’ Another explanation: “Pay heed – הסכּת – and listen Israel…” Be silent – הס – and afterwards crush it - כתת. [This follows] Rava, for Rava said, ‘A person should always study Torah and afterwards contemplate [it in depth – RaSh”I].’”

No comments: