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Shabbat Parashat Tzav 5776

Ein Ayah: Preserving, Widening, and Perpetuating Goodness

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:164)

Gemara: At the moment that they make a man enter his judgment [after his death], they ask him: “Did you do your dealings with honesty? Did you set time for Torah study? Did you involve yourself in procreation? Did you look forward to salvation? Did you delve (pilpul) into wisdom? Did you understand one thing from another?”


[Last time, we analyzed the first three questions. Now, we approach the last three.]


Ein Ayah: (condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:164)

 Tzipita liyeshua (Did you look forward to salvation)?” – A person, as an individual, is limited in a major way in all elements of his life in that he is but one organ in the great collective of his nation. In actuality, even the nation is only a part of the existence of the world, as all elements of goodness and light are connected with each other. While it is not always clear whether these elements will find expression in the present or only in the future, they will certainly have an impact at some point. All of the matters of goodness that emanate from an individual are part of a “storehouse of goodness.” The individual’s goodness will join up with all other matters of goodness to lead to Hashem’s ultimate salvation, which will come at the appointed time.

   Based on the above, we understand why it is the highest demand of a person in regard to the way he lives his life to see if he views his place in the world in terms of tzipiya liyeshua. This tzipiya includes constant vigilance, even when there is no external sign of impending salvation. This is like a watchman standing guard for days on end. Even when there are no indications that there is anything new, he will not leave his post.

Along with this idea of tzipiya liyeshua is also that if he does observe an opportunity to do something that can help hasten the salvation, he will act promptly and tenaciously. This is like the lookout who sees something important in the distance. He is ready to act quickly, whether to flee or defend against an enemy. It is his responsibility to do that which is needed to rectify or otherwise improve the situation without any delay.

These two seemingly opposite approaches – to watch and watch without doing anything and to act swiftly at the right time – need to be in the midst of one’s deep thoughts in regard to anticipating salvation.        


Ein Ayah: (condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:165)

“Did you delve into wisdom? Did you understand one thing from another?” – Concepts must be understood deeply, each one individually. They also have to be broadened so that each concept will be completed to the maximum, until it brings its subscribers to new and deeper appreciation.

This broadening of the understanding is something that is very related to looking forward to salvation. The broad and true salvation is understood clearly by man only according to the depth of his thoughts and his ability to picture that he should be awaiting for the betterment of the broadest community. It is not enough to just make logical statements, but they need to be deeply felt in the heart. The deeper and clearer the feeling, the greater the tzipiya. This is why there is a need for pilpul and for havanah (understanding). This understanding has to start with the smallest details of the Torah and extend through the loftiest concepts. This brings a state of knowledge of Hashem that covers the land like water covers the seabed.

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