Shabbat Parashat Bechukotai| 5771
Ein Ayah: Trying Just Hard Enough(based on Berachot 6:60)
Gemara: Some say that that a Torah scholar should not walk with a koma zekufa (overly erect posture), for it was said that whoever walks with a koma zekufa even for four amot is as if he is pushing away the “Divine Presence’s legs,” for the pasuk says: “His glory fills the whole world” (Yeshaya 6:3).
Ein Ayah: A person’s powers that are imbedded in him to bring him to physical and spiritual shleimut (completeness) are such that he will be successful when he acts properly. In this way he will be able to reach his goals in a calm manner and cling to knowledge and fear of Hashem.
Hashem gave man the desire to strengthen all of his powers to the fullest degree. The foundation of all of man’s strength is his understanding that he should dedicate his life to know and serve Hashem. Therefore, the feeling of the presence of Hashem’s Hand upon him should be ingrained in his mind. When a person does not press himself to utilize all of his natural efforts because he relies upon Hashem’s help, it gives him a feeling of good fortune and wonderful calm and peace.
For this reason, one should not walk with a koma zekufa. He should walk erect, which indicates his desire for a life of dignity and confidence, but not to an extreme of pushing himself to the limit, because he should know that Hashem’s Hand is there to help him. Someone who walks with a koma zekufa shows that he is not willing to surrender anything from the greatness he perceives he can attain himself. In that way he figuratively pushes Hashem away and does not allow Him to make an impression on his life. Such a person has nothing to gain from all of his hard work. Indeed a person will never find for himself calm and real good feelings if he is not willing to place a boundary on his aspirations. One should carry himself physically in a manner that demonstrates this realization, including not walking with a koma zekufa.
A Case For and Against Vegeterianism
(based on Berachot 6:64)
[Rav Kook was a theoretical proponent of vegetarianism, which he felt would be prevalent at the time of Mashiach. He was apparently not a vegetarian. This piece sheds some light on the matter.]
Gemara: Eggs are better for a person than all other foods their size except for meat.
Ein Ayah: If there were a food to replace meat nutritionally, it would be considered improper [not forbidden] to slaughter and eat animals. However, the nutritional value of meat to strengthen the body and the spirit cannot be fully replaced. Therefore, it is a proper obligation for animals to pay their duty to that which is necessary for man to reach his potential. By means of man’s success, the animal kingdom also progresses.
This is a similar idea to that of men dying during a just war that is necessary for mankind’s improvement. The soldiers are not considered by human law to be murderers. Since animal life is not of the same value as human life, the price that they pay in strengthening the foundation of mankind [is correct]. According to Torah, only a small part of the animal kingdom takes part in supporting man through consumption. We eat, for the most part, species that benefit from mankind’s care. When we slaughter wild animals [such as dear] we are required to cover their blood. This indicates that there is an element of wrong in their slaughter, just that we are not on the level that they should be forbidden, similar to the concept “that the Torah spoke with the evil inclination in mind” (Kiddushin 21b).
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This edition of
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
Dedicated in memory of
on the occasion of his yahrzeit, 24 Iyar,
This edition of
Rabbi Shlomo Merzel o.b.m,