Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…