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Shabbat Parashat Shoftim 5773

Ein Ayah: The Importance of Valuing Torah Teachers

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:318-320)

Gemara: Why is the Torah section of sota (the woman suspected of adultery) written next to the section on the giving of terumot and ma’asrot (the tithes given to religious functionaries and Torah teachers)? It is to teach you that whoever has terumot and ma’asrot and does not give them to the kohen will eventually need them [to perform the process of the sota] for his wife … and, not only that, but he himself will need [the tithes for the poor] … and if he gives them, he will eventually become rich … 


Ein Ayah: The proper connection of those people who specialize in the service of Torah and the way of Hashem (like Kohanim) to people who are involved in mundane activities and the broad world has a major impact on the latter’s moral direction. This is because it is crucial for the power of Torah to touch the lives of the whole nation. It obviously impacts on those who are regularly involved in its study, and it impacts on others in society when the latter relate to the former with love, which finds expression in properly giving the tithes.

In contrast, one who totally separates himself from the 'spiritual men' is liable to progressively deteriorate in his ethics, until the point that modesty, which is the intellectual human’s fundamental ethic, deteriorates within his household. His tendency toward the materialistic and his distancing himself from anything lofty and from the light of the Torah, will eventually bring him so low that he will need the kohen to deal with his wife’s suspected infidelity. He will slide further and further until even his simple soul becomes disgusted by his horrible ethical deterioration and he realizes how much he suffered by distancing himself from those who are connected to Torah.

This phenomenon is liable to occur throughout the nation. Because of the spirit of materialism, many may get angry at the Torah and those who teach it and view them as superfluous, and even hate them and disgrace them. This spiritual plague can affect so many people, and lower the nation so greatly, that people who still have a spark of humanity and light of Judaism will call out from great heartache. They will admit that they ruined things by distancing themselves from Torah and by degrading wisdom, to the point where the nation lacks basic moral boundaries. There will be a reaction of many who actually desire ethics, but found themselves distanced from it, to want to remove the blemish of promiscuity, which destroys many and disgraces Israel. It is a shame that they themselves cause this situation by disgracing Torah scholars and despising that which is holy. They will then turn to the kohen and ask him to help with the sota process [which determines which women who are suspected of adultery are actually guilty of it].

The distancing from those who serve Hashem and are fearful of disobeying Him also causes people to throw off the yoke of the Heavenly kingdom, becoming so entrenched in fulfilling their desires that they bring poverty upon themselves. Only the pain of poverty will be able to wake them and tame their haughty heart. In contrast, those who know how to arm themselves with ethics and fear of Hashem will be viewed by Divine Providence as worthy recipients of wealth. Thus, by showing proper respect to those who are close to Hashem, by willingly giving terumot and ma’asrot, they will merit the blessing of riches, which they will use to bring even more blessing to the world.


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