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, April 07, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon א ניסן - Nissan 1 - One-Hundred-and-Seventy-Nineth Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

(During a Jewish leap-year: 15 Adar II - בִּשְׁנַת הָעִיבּוּר - ט"ו אדר בּ)

[The following teaching] is brought in “Midrash Rabbah” [on] “Shir HaShirim” (Parsha 6, pasuk 11), on the pasuk, “I have descended to a garden of nuts…”[1]: “Rabbi Yihoshua ben Levi said, “[The People of] Israel have been compared to a nut [plant]: Just as a nut [plant] is pruned and replaced, it being pruned for its benefit, [so too is this the case with respect to The B’nei Yisrael]. Why is [the pruning and replacing to the benefit of the nut plant]? [The pruning and replacing of the nut plant is to its benefit], for it replenishes [itself], similar to hair and nails which are cut and are replenished. So too [is the above the case concerning] all of that which [The People of] Israel cut off from their [worldly] toil and give [of it] to those who study The Torah in this world. [This toil which those who support Torah study have dedicated to support the advancement of Torah] is for [their own] benefit, [for the wealth that they have donated to advance Torah study], is replenished for them and is increased for them in this world, [in addition to the] good reward [that they will consequently receive] in The World to Come.” Not only [is the above the case], rather [the person who supports the Torah study of another individual], is referred to by the name [of the person who’s Torah study he has supported], and he [receives] a portion of the reward of [the] Torah [study of his fellow whom he has supported. This follows that which] is [taught] in [maseches] “Sotah” (21a), concerning Shimon, the brother of Azariah, and as is known concerning the tribes of Yissachar and Zivulun[2], as is [taught] in [Midrash] Rabbah [on] ParshasKidoshim” (Vayikra Rabbah: 25; 2), [as follows]: “Rav Huna and Rav Yirmiayah said in the name of Rabbi Chiya, the son of Abba, [as follows]: ‘In the future, The Holy One, Blessed is He, will make shade and canopies in Gan Eden for those who regularly perform mitzvos (i.e. those who support The Torah) next to those who were involved in Torah [study].’ [The above teaching draws its basis] from three verses, [as follows]: 1) “For in the shade of wisdom, in the shade of money…”[3] (Koheles: 7; 12), 2) “Praiseworthy is the person who does this, and the man who will strengthen it…”[4] (Yishayahu: 56; 2), and [based on] this [pasuk]: 3) “It is [The] Tree of Life for those who strengthen it…”[5] (Mishlei: 3; 18) [Concerning] Shimon, the brother of Azariah, [a Torah teaching] was quoted in his name [in the first chapter of masechesZivachim”, in the mishnah (2a). Why was the teaching quoted in the name of Azariah, for] wasn’t Shimon greater than Azariah? Rather, since it was due to Azariah’s involvement in business and [the fact that] he provided [sustenance] into Shimon’s mouth [that] the halacha was therefore quoted [in Azariah’s] name. Similarly, [we find this to be the case concerning the tribes of Yissachar and Zivulun, as follows]: “And concerning Zivulun he said, ‘Zivulun, be happy in your goings-out, and Yissachar in your tents.’”[6] (Divarim: 33; 18) Wasn’t Yissachar greater than Zivulun, [so why is Zivulun mentioned first in the pasuk]? Rather, [Zivulun was mentioned before Yissachar] since Zivulun would separate himself from [his] habitation and involve [himself] in trade, and he would come and provide [sustenance] into the mouth of Yissachar, and he would give him a wage for his toil [in the study of Torah], therefore, the pasuk is called by [Zivulun’s] name, as it says, “Zivulun, be happy in your goings-out…”’ (Divarim: 33; 18)” In addition, in this world, a person is not lacking at all due to [the Torah that he had supported], as is [taught] in “Midrash Rabbah” [on] ParshasTitzaveh” (Shmos Rabbah: 36; 3), on the pasuk [from “Mishlei”], “For candle is a mitzvah and [The] Torah is light…”[7] (Mishlei: 6; 23), [as follows]: “What is the meaning of “For a candle is a mitzvah…”? Rather, [concerning] all of those who perform a mitzvah, it is as if he lights a candle before The Holy One, Blessed is He, and he brings life to his soul which is referred to as a candle, as it says [in “Mishlei”], “The candle of HaShem is the soul of the person…”[8] (Mishlei: 20; 27) What is the meaning of “…and Torah is light…”? Rather, many times that a person considers (text: desires) in his heart to perform a mitzvah and the evil inclination within him, says: ‘What reason is there for you to perform the mitzvah, and [thereby] detract from [the] property [that you have amassed]? Before you give to others, give to your children!’ The good inclination, [however], says to him: ‘Give to the mitzvah, see that which is written [concerning a mitzvah]: “For a candle is a mitzvah…” – Just as this candle, when it is lit, even if [many] thousands [of candles] are lit from it, its light [nevertheless remains] in its place, such [is the case of the performance of a mitzvah, for] all of those who give [from themselves] to [perform] a mitzvah, are not lacking [from their] property’. Therefore, [the pasuk in “Mishlei”] states, “For a candle is a mitzvah and Torah is light…” (Mishlei: 6; 23)”[9]

[1] The entire pasuk states, “I have descended to a garden of nuts, to see the sprouted plants by the river, to see if the vine has blossomed, whether the pomegranates have formed”.

RaSh”I explains that this pasuk is related by The Shechinah in which HaShem relates that He has come to The Second Beis HaMikdash to see how “moist” are the good actions that can be found among The B’nei Yisrael and whether different Torah scholars and scribes have blossomed before HaShem and whether The B’nei Yisrael has formed like a pomegranate with respect to the performance of mitzvos and merits.

[2] Azariah supported The Torah study of his brother Shimon, and the tribe of Zevulun supported The Torah studied by the tribe of Yissachar. Similarly, we learn in this gemara that Rabbi Yochanan and The Household of the Nasi are referred to together, as they supported Rabbi Yochanan’s Torah study.

[3] The entire pasuk states, “For in the shade of wisdom, in the shade of money, and the benefit of knowledge is that it brings those who possess it to life”.

Targum Yonasan ben Uziel explains that just as a person can take refuge in the shade of wisdom, he can take refuge in the shade of money at the time that he gives tzidakah. He continues that it is the knowledge of Torah that a person has that will bring him to life in The World to Come.

RaSh”I explains that all of those who are in the shade of wisdom will eventually attain wealth, in addition, wisdom has an advantage over wealth, as it brings those who possess it to life.

Ibn Ezra explains that wisdom brings life to those who possess it, as wisdom is the form of the supernal nishamah, which doesn’t die when the body dies.

Based on the context from this teaching from “Vayikra Rabbah”, there is a connection between the benefits that the person would receive if they financially support Torah study and whether they study The Torah, based on the juxtaposition of the two in the pasuk.

[4] The entire pasuk states, “Praiseworthy is the person who shall do this, and the person who shall hold onto it, one who guards the Sabbath to refrain from desecrating it, and who guards his hand from performing all evil”.

The miforshim, including RaSh”I, Metzudas David, RaDa”K, Ibn Ezra, and MaLBI”M, explain this entire pasuk in reference to observance of the Shabbath. However, based on the midrash from “Vayikra Rabbah”, this phrase from the pasuk – “Praiseworthy is the person who does this, and the man who will strengthen it…” – clearly refers to those people who support the study of The Torah.

[5] The entire pasuk reads, “It is a Tree of Life for those who grasp onto it, and those who support it are praiseworthy”.

Based on the teaching in “Vayikra Rabbah”, “those who strengthen” The Torah, refer to those who support it, they being the one’s who benefit by thereby grasping onto The Tree of Life.

[6] RaSh”I comments on this pasuk that the tribes of Zivulun and Yissachar made a partnership, whereby the tribe of Zivulun would travel by ships to involve themselves in trade, in order to, among other things, support the Torah study of the tribe of Yissachar. It is on account of the financial support that the tribe of Zivulun provided for the tribe of Yissachar, that the tribe of Zivulun is mentioned first in this pasuk. (Bireishis Rabbah: 99; 9) The blessing in this pasuk is for the tribe of Zivulun to be successful in their business dealings, and for the tribe of Yissachar to be successful in their involvement in Torah study and in their calculations related to establishing new months and leap-years.

[7] The entire pasuk states, “For a mitzvah is a candle, and Torah is light, and The Path of Life are the admonitions of moral reproof”.

RaSh”I comments that just as light always illuminates, so too does the merit of The Torah always remain for the person, and the merit of the performance of a mitzvah is temporary like the light of a candle. Alternatively, this pasuk can refer to the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents, if one follows the command of his father, it is comparable to holding a candle in his hand, which he can use to assist himself in finding that which he has lost, as it says, “My son, guard the command (mitzvah) of your father…”. Following the command of one’s mother is comparable to holding a light, as it says “…and do not abandon the command (Torah) of your mother”. (Mishlei: 6; 20) RaSh”I, quoting Rav Yosef Kara, notes that this pasuk is clearly referring to following the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents, as we read later in “Mishlei”, “One who curses his father and his mother, his candle will be extinguished in the blackness of dark”. (20; 20)

RaSh”I explains that the admonitions of moral reproof incline the person to life, therefore they are The Paths of Life.

[8] The entire pasuk states, “The candle of HaShem is the soul of the person, He examines all of the chambers of his heart”.

[9] The beginning of this section from “Shmos Rabbah” teaches that the Torah that the person studies lights the path before him so that he won’t stumble on anything. However, if he doesn’t have the light of The Torah to guide him, he will stumble on the obstacles which he can’t see. This is comparable to the person who studies Torah who doesn’t stumble in sin, as he is familiar with that which he should avoid, in contrast to the person who hasn’t studied Torah, who stumbles in sin, as he has not be made familiar with that which he should avoid.

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