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Shabbat Parashat Naso 5773

Ein Ayah: Presence of Hashem in the Mind of a Sinner

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:280-2)

Gemara: Bar Kappara commented: What is a small passage that all the foundations of the Torah are connected to? “In all your ways, know Him, and He will straighten your ways” (Mishlei 3:6). Rava said: This applies even to matters of sin. Rav Pappa said: This is what people refer to when they say: “A thief is at the mouth of the tunnel [i.e., he dug to the place from which he will steal], and he calls out to Hashem.” 


Ein Ayah: The special spiritual power of the knowledge of Hashem to have an impact on a person’s sense of morality is very wondrous. It is true that to know Hashem in a proper way requires great knowledge and wisdom, both broad and deep, and what is the knowledge of lowly humans worth? Nevertheless even a low-level knowledge of Hashem has a great impact in straightening people’s paths and increasing goodness and justice in the world. Therefore, this “small passage” hints to the idea that even if one understands to a small degree, still all the foundations of the Torah are connected to this knowledge.

So impactful is the knowledge of Hashem on man’s heart that even when he finds himself in the dullest form of light, when he has fallen morally into sinful behavior and he is not capable of having a correct and straight knowledge, he is still able to reach some essentials necessary for basic knowledge of Hashem. This weak level of knowledge still works to save him from falling fully into permanent evil and enables him to return to the straight path.

The above is true even when one has deteriorated to the point that he brazenly violates even those mitzvot whose reasons are clear to all of society, such as theft. Still, it is of value for him to call out to Hashem. His flimsy knowledge of Hashem can aid him as well to return to the straight path. Such a thief, who calls out in the name of Hashem, has hope for moral renewal beyond that of a thief who has already thrown off the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. In the latter case, the last spark in his spirit has died out, and he is in the category of evil people who have lost their path.

The great impact of knowledge of Hashem proves that it is an attribute that is engrained in the nature of man. That is the reason that it is hard to uproot it, for something that is part of the basic purpose of a creation of Hashem does not easily change in its basic form.

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