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Shabbat Parashat Vayikra 5776

Ein Ayah: Preserving, Widening, and Perpetuating Goodness



Gemara: At the moment that they make a man enter his judgment [after his death], they ask him: “Did you do your dealings with honesty? Did you set time for Torah study? Did you involve yourself in procreation? Did you look forward to salvation? Did you delve into wisdom? Did you understand one thing from another?”

 

Ein Ayah: (condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:162)

 

One can be considered as embracing knowledge of Hashem if he pushes himself to live a life of truth and seek the light of life that emanates from Hashem by means of the light of justice and kindness. Therefore, the first recognition one should come to is that of natural morality, which is epitomized by the question, “Did you do your dealings with honesty?” It is true that an upright person naturally recoils from dishonesty, but the force of physicality can remove him from that paved path.

After confirming matters of basic justice, the demand comes for a higher level, as that which comes just through a person’s natural proper tendencies is insufficient. After all, there are many thousands of detailed elements of proper behavior that are too complicated to be handled by a person’s simple dedication to the desire to be a good person. There must therefore be a resolve to delve into all the steps a person has to take in order to fulfill the gamut of moral obligations. This can only be done by studying Torah on a consistent basis. Therefore, the next question is, “Did you set time for Torah study?” 

Admittedly, setting a certain amount of time for Torah study is insufficient to develop a deep knowledge of all the relevant elements of proper behavior. Still, the emotional dedication to the ideal is strengthened when the intellect has engrained in the person the need to set times to advance in knowing the ways of Hashem. That reinforces the idea that he will have to continue adding on consistently until he reaches the goal of full knowledge.

 

Ein Ayah: (condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:163)

 

After this level has also been ascertained, it is necessary to determine whether beyond his doing what is incumbent upon him, he has ensured that this inspiration will continue into further generations. Therefore, a person is asked, “Did you involve yourself in procreation?” Included in this question is whether a person sees the generations developing toward increased light until they reach the final goal that Hashem placed before mankind. They should be able to see that every good thing continues to produce fruit for itself and for the person’s future and those of his offspring. Therefore, one learns a lot about the nature of the actions that a person performs by seeing if they are connected to the idea of perpetuating them by also being involved in procreation.

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