The Other Side of the Coin 8E - Ahavas Hashem - Love

ואמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב ״עשר תעשר״ — עשר בשביל שתתעשר. אשכחיה רבי יוחנן לינוקא דריש לקיש, אמר ליה: אימא לי פסוקיך! אמר ליה: ״עשר תעשר״. אמר ליה: ומאי ״עשר תעשר״? אמר ליה: עשר בשביל שתתעשר, אמר ליה: מנא לך? אמר ליה: זיל נסי. אמר ליה: ומי שרי לנסוייה להקדוש ברוך הוא? והכתיב: ״לא תנסו את ה׳״! אמר ליה, הכי אמר רבי הושעיא: חוץ מזו, שנאמר: ״הביאו את כל המעשר אל בית האוצר ויהי טרף בביתי ובחנוני נא בזאת אמר ה׳ צבאות אם לא אפתח לכם את ארבות השמים והריקתי לכם ברכה עד בלי די״. מאי ״עד בלי די״? אמר רמי בר חמא אמר רב: עד שיבלו שפתותיכם מלומר ״די״.

“A tithe shall you tithe [te’aser]” (Deuteronomy 14:22)? This phrase can be interpreted homiletically: Take a tithe [asser] so that you will become wealthy [titasher], in the merit of the mitzva. Rabbi Yoḥanan found the young son of Reish Lakish. He said to the boy: Recite to me your verse, i.e., the verse you studied today in school. The boy said to him: “A tithe shall you tithe.” The boy further said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: But what is the meaning of this phrase: “A tithe shall you tithe”? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: The verse means: Take a tithe so that you will become wealthy. The boy said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: From where do you derive that this is so? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: Go and test it. The boy said to him: And is it permitted to test the Holy One, Blessed be He? But isn’t it written: “You shall not test the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:16)? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to the boy that Rabbi Hoshaya said as follows: It is prohibited to test God in any way, except in this case of tithes, as it is stated: “Bring the whole tithe into the storeroom, that there may be food in My house, and test Me now by this, said the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing that there shall be more than sufficiency” (Malachi 3:10). In relation to the above verse, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase: “That there shall be more than sufficiency [ad beli dai]”? Rami bar Ḥama said that Rav said: It means that the abundance will be so great that your lips will be worn out [yivlu], similar to the word beli, from saying enough [dai]. Returning to the above incident, the Gemara adds that the boy said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: Your claim appears explicitly in a verse. If I had arrived there, at this verse, I would not have needed you or Hoshaya your teacher, as I could have understood it on my own. The Gemara relates another story about the precociousness of this child. And furthermore, on a different occasion Rabbi Yoḥanan found the young son of Reish Lakish, when he was sitting and studying and he was reciting the verse: “The foolishness of man perverts his way, and his heart frets against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:3). This verse means that when someone sins and every manner of mishap befalls him, he complains and wonders why these things are happening to him. Rabbi Yoḥanan sat down and wondered aloud about this verse, saying: Is there anything that is written in the Writings that is not alluded to in the Torah at all? I cannot think of any hint of this idea in the Torah itself. The child said to him: Is that to say that this idea is really not alluded to in the Torah? But isn’t it written, with regard to Joseph’s brothers: “And their heart failed them and they turned trembling to one to another, saying: What is this that God has done to us?” (Genesis 42:28). This verse exemplifies the notion that when one sins and encounters troubles, he wonders why it is happening to him. Impressed by the youth’s wisdom, Rabbi Yoḥanan raised his eyes and stared at the boy. At this point, the boy’s mother came and took him away, saying to him: Come away from Rabbi Yoḥanan, so that he does not do to you as he did to your father. Reish Lakish, the boy’s father, died during a heated dispute with Rabbi Yoḥanan over a Torah matter. The argument ended with an offended look from Rabbi Yoḥanan which caused Reish Lakish’s death, and the boy’s mother was afraid that her son might suffer the same fate. § After this brief digression, the Gemara turns to the fifth in the series of statements by Rabbi Yoḥanan concerning rain. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Rain falls even for the sake of an individual, in response to the petition of a single person in need of rain, whereas a blessing of sustenance comes only for the sake of many. Rain falls even for the sake of an individual, as it is written: “The Lord will open for you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain of your land” (Deuteronomy 28:12). The fact that this verse is written in the second person singular demonstrates that rain can fall even for the sake of an individual. Rabbi Yoḥanan further proves that sustenance comes for the sake of many, as it is written: “Behold I will cause to rain bread from the heavens for you” (Exodus 16:4). Here, God is referring to the people in the plural form. The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: Three good sustainers rose up for the Jewish people during the exodus from Egypt, and they are: Moses, Aaron and Miriam. And three good gifts were given from Heaven through their agency, and these are they: The well of water, the pillar of cloud, and the manna. He elaborates: The well was given to the Jewish people in the merit of Miriam; the pillar of cloud was in the merit of Aaron; and the manna in the merit of Moses. When Miriam died the well disappeared, as it is stated: “And Miriam died there” (Numbers 20:1), and it says thereafter in the next verse: “And there was no water for the congregation” (Numbers 20:2). But the well returned in the merit of both Moses and Aaron. When Aaron died the clouds of glory disappeared, as it is stated: “And the Canaanite, the king of Arad heard” (Numbers 33:40). What report did he hear? He heard that Aaron had died and the clouds of glory had disappeared, and he thought that the Jewish people were no longer protected by Heaven and therefore he had been given permission to go to war against the Jewish people. And this disappearance of the clouds is the meaning of that which is written: “And all the congregation saw that [ki] Aaron was dead” (Numbers 20:29). Rabbi Abbahu said: Do not read the verse as: “And they saw [va’yiru]”; rather, read it as: And they were seen [va’yera’u], as the clouds which had concealed the Jewish people were temporarily removed. This is as Reish Lakish taught. As Reish Lakish said: The term ki actually has at least four distinct meanings: If; perhaps; but; because, or that. According to this interpretation, the verse would be rendered: And all the congregation was seen, because [ki] Aaron was dead. The baraita continues: Both the well and the clouds of glory returned in the merit of Moses. However, when Moses died all of them disappeared. As it is stated: “And I cut off the three shepherds in one month” (Zechariah 11:8). But did the three shepherds really die in one month? Didn’t Miriam die in the month of Nisan, and Aaron in Av and Moses in Adar? Rather, this verse teaches us that with the death of Moses the three good gifts that were given through their agency were annulled, and all three gifts disappeared in one month, which made it seem as though all three leaders had died at the same time. The Gemara explains the difficulty from this baraita. Apparently, we find that sustenance can come for the sake of an individual, as the baraita states that sustenance in the form of manna came for the sake of Moses. The Gemara answers: Moses is different, since he requested the manna for many, and therefore he was considered like many, not as an individual. The Gemara relates a story concerning the aforementioned verse from Zechariah. Rav Huna bar Manoaḥ, Rav Shmuel bar Idi, and Rav Ḥiyya from Vastanya were often found before Rava, as they were among his most distinguished students. When Rava died, they came before Rav Pappa to learn from him. However, as also they were great Sages, whenever Rav Pappa would say a halakha that did not sound reasonable to them, they would gesture to each other that Rav Pappa was not equal in stature to Rava. Rav Pappa was offended by their behavior. A verse was read to Rav Pappa in a dream: “And I cut off the three shepherds in one month” (Zechariah 11:8). The next day, when they took their leave from him, Rav Pappa said to them: May the Rabbis go in peace, a hint that this would be their final parting. Rav Pappa thought that the three Sages would die as punishment for their behavior and he would never see them again. The Gemara relates a similar incident: Rav Shimi bar Ashi was often found before Rav Pappa and would raise many objections against the opinions of Rav Pappa. One day Rav Shimi bar Ashi saw Rav Pappa fall on his face after prayer. He heard him say: May the Merciful One save me from the embarrassment of Shimi, and as a result Rav Shimi bar Ashi resolved to be silent and not to raise any further objections against Rav Pappa, as he saw how greatly they pained his teacher. § The Gemara returns to the issue of rain. And Reish Lakish also maintains that rain can fall for the sake of an individual, as Reish Lakish said: From where is it derived that rain falls even for the sake of an individual? As it is written: “Ask of the Lord rain at the time of the last rain; even of the Lord who makes thunderclouds, and He will give them showers of rain; for a man grass in the field” (Zechariah 10:1). One might have thought that rain falls for the sake of all the Jewish people. The verse therefore states: “For a man,” i.e., for the needs of an individual And it was further taught in a baraita: If rain falls “for a man,” one might have thought that the rain is for all his fields. Therefore the verse states: “Field,” which indicates that at times it rains on only one field. If it rains on one field, one might have thought that the rain is for the entire field. This is why the verse states: “Grass”; rain can fall for the sake of even a single plant in the field. This is like the practice of Rav Daniel bar Ketina, who had a certain garden. Every day he would go and inspect it, to see what it needed. He would say: This bed requires water and this bed does not require water, and rain would come and water everywhere that required water, but nowhere else. With regard to the aforementioned verse, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the phrase: “The Lord Who makes thunderclouds”? Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said: This teaches that for every righteous person, the Holy One, Blessed be He, prepares a separate thundercloud. The Gemara asks: What is the precise meaning of “thunderclouds”? Rav Yehuda said: Flying clouds. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: A sign of approaching rain is flying clouds. The Gemara asks: What are flying clouds? Rav Pappa said: A flying cloud is a thin cloud under a thick cloud. Rav Yehuda said that there is another sign of imminent rain: Drizzle before rain means that rain is coming. However, drizzle that falls after rain is a sign that the rain is stopping. Rav Yehuda provides an analogy by way of explanation: Drizzle before rain means that rain is coming, and your mnemonic is a sieve: Just as small quantities of flour drop from the sieve even before one begins to actively sift it, so too drizzle falls before rain. Conversely, drizzle that falls after rain signifies that the rain is stopping, and your mnemonic is goat dung. A goat’s initial droppings are large, whereas its latter droppings are small. The Gemara relates that when Ulla happened to come to Babylonia, he saw flying clouds. He said to the local residents: Put away your vessels, as the rain is coming now. Ultimately, despite the presence of flying clouds, rain did not fall. He said: Just as Babylonians are liars, so too, their rains are liars, as flying clouds are a reliable sign of rain in Eretz Yisrael, but not in Babylonia. The Gemara recounts another incident that occurred when Ulla happened to come to Babylonia. He saw a basket full of dates on sale for one dinar, and he said: One can buy a basket full of honey dates for a dinar, and yet these Babylonians do not occupy themselves with Torah. In a place where excellent food is so inexpensive, and where there is no need to engage in hard labor for one’s material needs, the inhabitants should be able to occupy themselves with Torah. Ulla himself ate many dates, but during the night they caused him pain and diarrhea. He subsequently said: A basket full of knives for a dinar, and yet somehow these Babylonians are able to occupy themselves with Torah, despite the trouble these dates cause. § The Gemara discusses the source of rain. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: The entire world drinks from the waters of the ocean [okeyanos], i.e., evaporated ocean water is the source of rain. As it is stated: “And there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:6). Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: But the waters of the ocean are salty, whereas rainwater is sweet. Rabbi Eliezer said to Rabbi Yehoshua: The waters are sweetened in the clouds, before they fall to the earth. In contrast, Rabbi Yehoshua says: The entire world drinks from the upper waters, as it is stated: “And it drinks water as the rain of heaven comes down” (Deuteronomy 11:11). The baraita asks: But according to the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, how do I uphold the verse: “And there went up a mist from the earth”? Rabbi Yehoshua could answer that this verse teaches that the clouds grow stronger, and rise to the firmament, and open their mouths like a leather bottle, and receive the rain waters from above, as it is stated: “For He draws away the drops of water, which distill rain from His vapor” (Job 36:27). And the clouds are perforated like a sieve, and they come and sprinkle water onto the ground, as it is stated: “Gathering of waters, thick clouds of the skies” (II Samuel 22:12). And between each and every drop there is only a hairbreadth, and yet each drop emerges individually. This serves to teach you that the day of rains is as great as the day on which Heaven and Earth were created, i.e., rainfall is as miraculous as creation. As it is stated, with regard to the creation of the world: “Who does great things past finding out” (Job 9:10), and as an example of this it is written: “Who gives rain upon the earth” (Job 5:9–10). And it is written below: “Have you not known? Have you not heard that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint and is not weary; His discernment is past finding out” (Isaiah 40:28). The repetition of “past finding out” indicates that rainfall is as wondrous as the creation of the world. The Gemara adds: And it is written in a psalm that deals with rainfall: “Who by Your strength sets fast the mountains; Who is girded about with might” (Psalms 65:7). The Gemara asks: In accordance with whose opinion is that verse which is written: “Who waters the mountains from His upper chambers” (Psalms 104:13)? And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: This phrase indicates that the water comes from the upper chambers of the Holy One, Blessed be He. In accordance with whose opinion is this statement? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, who maintains that rain falls from above the sky. The Gemara asks: And Rabbi Eliezer, how does he explain this verse? The Gemara answers: According to Rabbi Eliezer, since the clouds ascend there, to the heavens, the verse “who waters the mountains from His upper chambers” calls and describes rainfall as descending from the heavens. As, if you do not say so, with regard to the verse: “Powder and dust from the heavens” (Deuteronomy 28:24), where do you find this phenomenon? Is there powder and dust in Heaven? Rather, you must say that since dust rises up there, they are called dust: “From the heavens.” So too, as the clouds ascend there, they are called and described: “Who waters the mountains from His upper chambers.” The Gemara asks: In accordance with whose opinion is that which Rabbi Ḥanina said, concerning the verse: “He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; he lays up the deep in storerooms” (Psalms 33:7): What caused the storerooms to be filled with produce? It was the deep, which is the source of the water that nourishes the produce. The Gemara answers: This explanation is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer. And Rabbi Yehoshua, how does he explain this verse? Rabbi Yehoshua would say: That

ואין ההמון מפסידין מכל וכל בעשותם המצות מיראת העונש ותקות השכר אלא שהם בלתי שלמים ואולם זה טוב להם עד שיהיה להם כח והרגל והשתדלות בעשיית התורה ומזה יתעוררו לדעת האמת ויחזרו עובדים מאהבה וזה הוא מה שאמרו ז"ל (פסחים נ:) לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ואפילו שלא לשמה שמתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה:

(10) And the masses do not lose everything by their doing the commandments out of fear of punishment and hope for reward, except that [their performance] will not be complete. And nonetheless it is good for them, so that they have the ability and habit and effort of fulfilling the Torah. And from this they will be aroused to know the truth, and they will turn into those that serve from love. And this is what they said, may their memory be blessed (Sanhedrin 105b), "Truly, a person should be involved in Torah and even not for its sake, as from 'not for its sake,' comes 'for its sake."