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Shabbat Parashat Teruma 5773

Ein Ayah: Lie Down Higher

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:250)

Gemara: Ben Azay said: One can lie down on any surface except for the ground.


Ein Ayah: It is proper for one to point out on his own the fact that his position within the world is more exalted than that of a standard part of the nature of the world. The characteristic of a standard member of the animal kingdom is to lie on the ground when it has time to rest. This is the standard way of the world and a result of one’s normal activity.

However, a human being should not occupy himself in a serious form of rest at a time and place that he is too close to the ground. Rather, he should be awoken to the idea that he needs to be more exalted than the basic level of connection to the land, and therefore he should rest in a position that is above the ground. This is irrespective of any preferences that he might have, based on the structure of his body, to sleep in such a manner. It is appropriate that both the moral and the physical sides of a person lead to his need to be different.



Don’t Sit When You Should Be Working

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:251)


Gemara: … and one may sit down on anything other than a beam.


Ein Ayah: Just as there is a moral lesson connected to the instructions where to lie, so there is a moral lesson about where to sit.

Sitting is a situation of resting in a manner that shows a conscious decision to do so. This is different from lying down, which demonstrates that one is so tired that he is no longer capable of continuing to function.

While it is always proper for a person to work, this is felt more strongly when there is material before him that is underdeveloped, which, so to speak, calls out: “Get up, work, and finish the job.” One of the most basic areas of practical and earthly human work is construction. A beam is an object that can be turned into something of great value. It can be built into a structure and form an important part of it, or it can be formed into a utensil. However, it should not be used as the setting for an elective resting. There are too many obligations to see to for the worker to just sit around. The more promising the material is for the individual or the group, for physical or spiritual use, such as a beam, the more problematic it is to use it for nothing more than an optional rest.

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