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Shabbat Parashat Vayigash 5778

Ein Ayah: Progress at its Own Pace

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 5:78)

Gemara: When Shlomo married the daughter of Paroh, she brought with her 1,000 musical pieces and told him: “This is what they do for this idol, and this is what they do for that idol,” and he did not criticize her.

 

Ein Ayah: The great spirit of the king of wisdom wanted to jump over the mountains of slow human progress, which Divine Providence “planted” for human history. He wanted to dispose of eras that can take thousands of years by accomplishing all that was necessary during his short period of rule, thus enabling the world to ascend by great strides. 

Shlomo did not suffice with encompassing intellectual and practical knowledge. He knew that emotion and life itself are deeper than intellectual knowledge and that these fields must be mastered. He wanted to raise all emotional matters to the point that they can properly serve the greatness of Israel, which incorporates a divine kernel and shines brightly when it reaches its completeness. Therefore, Shlomo explored all the emotions and internal recognitions, which are finer and not as limited by the calculations of the external world as the intellectual is. That is why women have a special measure of emotions, as Hashem gave them extra insight (bina).

Shlomo wanted to understand the depths of human characteristics according to the many and varied nations, families, and lands and their customs. Egypt was at the summit of cultural greatness, including science and powerful emotions. In contrast to Israel, this included the coarsest and most powerfully impure forms of life, e.g., a variety of tricks to entice people to idolatry, with its impact on the spirit.  Shlomo sought to know how to straighten out such crooked paths that captivate mankind’s senses and emotions, with its beguiling beauty and pleasantness, which had been used for powerful corruption.

This occurred in four spheres: 1) the practical, material perspective; 2) the scientific perspective, which stems from the combination of material realities; 3) the ideological perspective that leads practical life; 4) the ideological perspective, in and of itself (most important). Egypt was a showy society, which viewed itself as a great sea creature that lurked in the Nile, and thought its ideology was so great that it could not relate to falsehood and evil to see their purposes. Indeed these damaging, impure foundations were the basis of the evil nation/kingdom, containing the most powerful feelings of evil.

The number 1,000, beginning the fourth digit, corresponds to the perspective of ideology in and of itself. In this case (musical pieces), the 1,000 broadened itself with great pleasantness. However, it was an empty happiness that lacked internal vitality, as they were connected to idolatry, which are called elilim because they are hollow. This “armed,” adorned evil brings tremendous confusion, which was strongly felt at the strange marriage between Shlomo and the daughter of Paroh.

Among the great waves of the sea, even the greatest of captains can become tossed and seasick. The overdoing of emotions, one after the other, can overcome even the greatest human, as he still has, in the final analysis, human frailties. Shlomo should have criticized that which his new wife brought with her, for that would have been an expression of the strength of sanctity, which could have tamed the glow of the tendency toward evil. Protest must take on the false alleged wisdom, which does not have the right to stand on its own.

Shlomo failed to do this because Hashem was not willing for mankind to jump quickly to its final greatness. One of His days is like a thousand of our years, and we cannot count how many years He has. He alone decides when we will go forward and when we fail. That is why the wisest of all men failed, by not protesting. When Hashem has a plan, no one can undo it.       
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David Chaim ben Rassa

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