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Shabbat Parashat Eikev 5776

Ein Ayah: The Impact of Hearing Evil

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:235)

Gemara: Rav Chisda said: Whoever pollutes his mouth has gehinom deepened for him, as the pasuk says: “A deep pit [for one whose] mouth [spoke] foreign things” (Mishlei 22:14). Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said: Even if he hears [improper speech] and is silent, as the pasuk continues: “He who angered Hashem will fall there.”

 

Ein Ayah: A person’s spirit is so weak and his animalistic imagination is so strong that just hearing something bad and lowly can be a catalyst to lower his spiritual purity. It can make him enslaved to impure situations and lower him from one low point to another. The only way to prevent this impact is to take on the evil that hearing threatens to impose upon him by reacting strongly with a fierce protest which emanates from the power of sanctity of the divine spirit that knows its proper place and value. However, as long as he allows the hearing to leave its mark through his silence, the power of imagination, which pushes to increase its impact even against the will of the one who received the stimulus, will eventually succeed. Then, the one who hears can reach the same level as the one who speaks, as the pasuk says that even the latter will fall into the pit deepened for the speaker.

 

 

Internal and External Afflictions

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:236)

 

Gemara: Rabbi Oshaya said: “Whoever dedicates himself to sin, a variety of physical ailments will afflict him, as the pasuk says: “Wounds are for one who gives of himself for evil” (Mishlei 20:30; ed. note – this is not the simplest reading of the pasuk, but it seems to be the way the gemara takes it in this context). Not only that, but he is punished with hadrokan (a certain gastronomical disease), as the pasuk continues: “… and plagues of the chambers of the abdomen.” Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said: hadrokan is a sign of sin.

 

Ein Ayah: A destructive approach which robs a person of his splendor through lowliness harms a person and society in two ways. It lowers the level of society to the point that horrible symptoms of corruption are readily seen within it. This affects justice, peace, and generosity, which exist only when people have not been soiled by lowliness. 

Besides the obvious negative impact, the loss of sanctity and morality and the inability to grasp truth and lofty ideas is a terrible tragedy. These are internal matters that are usually immediately recognizable within society, but eventually it is bound to be evident, for without knowledge of Hashem, the lowliness of bad characteristics will certainly try to take over and proliferate.

Therefore, one who is dedicated to sin will be afflicted by noticeable external wounds and also will be affected by the internal hadrokan. When society does not initially see the external indications and it seems to be running smoothly, it is because of people’s shortsightedness. The one whose eyes penetrate the façade will be able to discern even the signs of internal problems. That is what is meant by “hadrokan is a sign of sin,” as its existence is a sign that the external manifestations will not take long to surface. This is part of a greater rule that small deteriorations, which are not initially noticeable, will still have a lasting internal impact, which will later show its strength publicly. Fortunate is he who avoids such things.

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