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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa 5776

Ein Ayah: The Place of the Talmudic Subjects in the World

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:153-4)

Gemara: Reish Lakish said: What is referred to by the pasuk (Yeshaya 33:6): “And it shall be the belief of your times, the power, the salvations of, the wisdom of, and the knowledge”? “Emunat (the belief of)” refers to the Order of Zeraim (agricultural laws); “itecha (your times)” refers to the Order of Mo’ed (the holidays)…

 

Ein Ayah: We should always seek the natural foundation, whether in the physical or the spiritual realm. Since Hashem made man upright (Kohelet 7:29), all good attributes are engraved in him from his creation. The moral loss that comes due to bad inclinations is something that takes away a person’s nature from its pure state. Therefore the foundation of every good and moral thing, which is belief, is engrained in a person’s “upright nature.” Those things that battle emuna (belief) use an arsenal of lust and corruption to uproot a person from his natural spirituality, which would bring him tranquility and happiness in this world and hope for the world to come.  

When the world was created and before it was corrupted by man’s evil inclination, agricultural life was the basis of everyone’s sustenance. After all, man was not allowed to eat meat, but rather he ate fruits and vegetables. Thus, agriculture is the foundation of that which sustained the world. After the fall of mankind, the Torah’s job is to return him, as much as possible, to the world in its proper state. There are many things that, when done properly according to the deep design of the Torah that the omniscient Creator gave us, restore some element of the world to its proper place. This is why, in Hashem’s laws that relate to matters of agriculture, there is a direct connection to the fundamental emuna.

The Torah’s approach to agriculture is a natural foundation that eternally keeps the human race connected to its pure nature, as the gemara (Yevamot 63a) says that in the future days, people of all professions will “stand on the ground.” Just as this is true regarding those who work, so it is true in regard to Torah study. The study of Zeraim strengthens a person’s natural spiritual purity, which is his power of emuna. This is why “emunat” refers to Zeraim. It is indeed fitting that the power of emuna should inculcate all of one’s good acquisitions that come from his intense studies, which elucidate the concepts. That is why emunat is written in the possessive (the belief of …) because it is to be connected to all the lofty acquisitions, and they in turn relate to the belief.

 

It is true that in the natural way the world is run, there is a certain lack of involvement of artificial factors. There is another element of life that has more outside elements, which add to its richness of shades, but this comes at the price of loss of clarity and freshness. In order to deal with this, the divine way, which is holy and trustworthy, is to give different elements their own time in the course of the year. Shabbat and the various holidays were all set according to divine rules in connection with holy events and ideas. They enrich the consistent natural element of the world with its own beautiful natural simplicity.

In this way, there is an intersection between a life of purity and belief, with its healthiness and purity, along with the richness and variety of the impact of various other factors, which come in at the right time with their unique sanctity. This is why the holidays are called “mikraei kodesh (holy convocations),” which Hashem refers to as “My times” (see Vayikra 23:2). We get the full impact of these times only if we study them, whether their specific laws or their general philosophies, which are interconnected. That is why “your times” refers to the Order of Mo’ed.

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