The Other Side of the Coin - 1A A Balanced Life

(כו) ויאמר אם שמוע תשמע לקול יהוה אלהיך והישר בעיניו תעשה והאזנת למצותיו ושמרת כל חקיו כל המחלה אשר שמתי במצרים לא אשים עליך כי אני יהוה רפאך

(26) He said, “If you will heed the LORD your God diligently, doing what is upright in His sight, giving ear to His commandments and keeping all His laws, then I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians, for I the LORD am your healer.”

(א)...ובמכילתא אמרו והישר בעיניו תעשה, זה משא ומתן, מלמד שכל הנושא ונותן באמונה ורוח הבריות נוחה הימנו מעלה עליו כאלו קיים כל התורה כלה...:

(א) שמאי אומר עשה תורתך קבע. כמו שאמר באבות דר' נתן (כח, י) כל העושה תורתו עיקר ומלאכתו טפלה עושין אותו עיקר לעולם הבא, אבל העושה מלאכתו עיקר ותורתו טפלה, עושין אותו טפלה לעולם הבא- ר"ל אם לא עשה עבירות ולא עשה התורה עיקר אפילו אם יזכה להיות בגן עדן טפל יהיה שמה:

(1) Shammai says, "Make your Torah fixed": As they said in The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan 28:10, "Anyone who makes his Torah [study] primary and his work secondary is made primary in the world to come. And anyone that makes his Torah [study] secondary and his work primary will be made secondary in the world to come. This means to say, even though he did not do a sin, but he did not make Torah primary - even if he was (fit) to be in the Garden of Eden, he will be secondary there.

(2) "say little and do much": When you promise your friend to do something for him, tell him a little and do much for him, and that is in the way of ethics and piety. And we have learned [it] from our father Avraham, peace be upon him, as it is written (Genesis 18:5), "And let me fetch a morsel of bread"; and afterwards (Genesis 18:8), "And he took curds and milk and the calf, etc." Another explanation: "say little and do much" - and that is a lofty virtue. And our rabbis, may their memory be blessed, learned it from the blessed Holy One, blessed be He, who only promised with two letters, as it is stated (Genesis 15:14), "I will judge (dan, a word which is written with only two letters); and delivered them with twenty seven words, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 30:14), "Or has any god ventured to go and take for himself one nation from the midst of another, etc." And about this Rabbi Saadia Gaon, my his memory be blessed, said, "If in promising our fathers with two letters, he did for them many miracles and wonders; [with] the salvation in the future to come about which have been written many pages and many manuscripts and many books of promises and many consolations in Jeremiah in the Prophets, how much the more so will it be that His actions will be more wondrous than that which He promised - 'our soul knows this well.' And a person should know and consider the matter and to put into his heart that there will be a great reward for him because of the promises" (HaEmunot veHaDeot 8:1).

(3) "and receive every person with a pleasant countenance": That he show them a happy face, so that 'the spirit of creations find pleasure from him.' Another explanation: "and receive" - that he should distance himself from the trait of anger which is a very bad trait and conduct himself with the trait of good will, in such a way that people will be satisfied with him. [This is] proper and well-accepted. About this our sages, may their memory be blessed, said in the way of ethical teachings, "Do you want to be liked? Like that which you don't like." As a person cannot accomplish that the people of the world will like him if he does not forego his traits. And if he does not forego his wants for the sake of their wants, he must negate his will for the sake of the will of others. And with this, he will have many friends and guard himself from the injuries of people. As they will hate and seek to hurt one who shows them an angry face.

(י) רבי יהודה בן אילעי אומר כל העושה דברי תורה עיקר וד״א טפל עושין אותו עיקר בעולם. דרך ארץ עיקר ודברי תורה טפל עושין אותו טפל בעולם. משלו משל למה הדבר דומה לאיסטרטיא שהיא עוברת בין שני דרכים אחת של אור ואחת של שלג אם מהלך כנגד האור הרי נכווה באור ואם מהלך נגד שלג הרי הוא לוקה בצינה כיצד יעשה ילך בינתיים ויזהר בעצמו שלא יכווה באור ושלא ילקה בצינה :

(10) Rabbi Yehudah ben Ilai would say: Anyone who makes words of Torah primary and the way of the world secondary will be made primary in (this) world. Anyone who makes the way of the world primary and words of Torah secondary will be made secondary in (this) world. They give a parable to explain what this can be compared to: [It can be compared] to a troop has to pass between two paths, one of fire and one of snow. If it goes too near the fire, it will be burned. If it goes too near the snow, it will be frozen. What should it do? It must go between them, and be careful not to be burned by the fire or frozen by the snow.

(Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar would say: “Do not try to make your friend feel better when…”)