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Thought for the Day: Yiras HaShem Only Comes with Yiras Talmidei Chachamim

The gemara (Bava Kama 41B) brings the discussion of whether or not we can darshen every "es" (aleph taf) in the Torah to add something.  For example, in the pasuk "lo yei'acheil es b'saro" (do not consume its flesh) said by an animal that has gored and killed a person, the "es" comes to add that you may also have no benefit from the animal's hide.  The gemara says that Shimon (some say Nechemia) haAmsoni interpreted each "es" to include something additional until he came to "es HaShem Elokecha tira".  At that point he pulled back; for what can one add to yiras HaShem?  Rabbi Akiva, however, said that the "es" in "es HaShem Elokecha tira" comes to add talmidei chachamim.

The Maharsha explains that Shimon (some say Nechemia) haAmsoni was not giving up on figuring out what "es" could come to add.  Rather, he held that the mitzvah of yiras HaShem implicitly includes not adding anyone nor anything that has the same level of yira.  This is a proof for him that the "es" is not always to add something, but sometimes just required by the grammar of Lashon HaKodesh.  R' Akiva, on the other hand, holds that the reverence for talmidei chachamim is that self-same yira that is due to HaShem.  That is, the reverence and respect with which we treat Chazal is precisely because they represent the expression of HaShem's Will in this world.  For R' Akiva, this pasuk could have been writen without the "es"; hence, this is a proof that the "es" always comes to add something.

Author's apology: I haven't posted for a few days.  That is mostly because I really had trouble understanding this Chazal.  I have been thinking, but didn't want to report partial results.


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