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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa 5774

Ein Ayah: Moving People on the List of the Unfortunate

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Peiah 8)

Gemara: Whoever is not crippled or blind and makes himself look like he is will not die of old age until he will be like one of them, as the pasuk says: “Justice, justice shall you pursue” (Devarim 16:20).


Ein Ayah: Seeing miserable people and people with severe physical blemishes can weaken the spirit of the one who sees them. Sometimes it even brings the observer to despair and to negative thoughts about the way Hashem runs the world. However, the Master of All Actions created the spirit of man and weighed exactly how the different stimuli on a person’s psyche will have their impact for the good and for the bad. Just like there is a clear need for good inclinations and true thoughts, so too there are hidden purposes for evil inclinations and incorrect thoughts.

However, he who causes, by feigning hardship, there to be more negative thoughts than Hashem decreed deserves to take part in the group who actually are in hardship. There will be the same number of those who look needy and create negative reactions about Hashem as there need to be. In this way, though, the person who distorted the portrayal of Hashem’s balance can be among those to suffer, enabling others to be taken out of the category of the afflicted.



Who Needs Sharp Senses?

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:9)


Gemara: Whichever dayan takes bribes and distorts the ruling will not die of old age without his sight dimming, as the pasuk says: “Do not take bribes, for bribes blind those with sight …” (Shemot 23:8).


Ein Ayah: The foundation of knowledge is rooted in the information that is provided by the senses, as accurate senses help build intellectual truths. Therefore, one who purposely distorts his judgments based on the forces of bribery has no need for healthy senses, since he does not use them anyway to arrive at truths. Therefore, it is better for his senses to be taken from him, and then his mistakes will be a result of his circumstances instead of their being a result of his evil choices.

From the negative we can learn to the positive. Whoever pushes himself to ignore that which his inclinations are pushing him to choose and embraces the path of justice and straightness will be given greater opportunities for good than he previously had. That is why [the previous mishna] says “justice, justice shall you pursue,” using a double language. If one pursues the justice that is readily available, he will have the opportunity to pursue even the justice that is originally beyond his physical and his spiritual capabilities. This occurs based on the principle that “one who comes to purify himself is assisted” (Shabbat 104a) and that “one who sanctifies himself a little will be sanctified greatly with outside help” (Yoma 39a).

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