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Shabbat Parashat Ki Teitzei 5776

Ein Ayah: Spacing in the Vineyard

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:248)

Gemara: When our masters entered Kerem B’Yavneh (The Vineyards of Yavneh), Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Elazar ben Rabbi Yossi, and Rabbi Shimon, …


Spacing in the Vineyard  

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:248)


Ein Ayah: It is possible to build an all-encompassing “structure” by means of a great, internal center that dwells in the midst of the nation. This center should unite all of the scattered powers that make up the overall resources of the collective.

When a single center has great strength, then the strengths of individuals throughout the nation are not afforded independent recognition. Their position depends on their relative significance within the setting of the center. However, when the center ceases to function, then the nation has to find a place for the contributions of important individuals, each one within his own realm and with his own impact on the intellectual development of the nation.

Yavneh was established after the setting of the light from Zion [i.e., the destruction of the Holy Temple] and the displacement of the main national center from Yerushalayim (may it be rebuilt soon), where it was founded. When the Temple existed, it was not important to recognize the relative position of one source of leadership to another. Only in Yavneh, which was a makeshift center, was it necessary to talk of a vineyard, consisting of row after row. It had to be set up with certain “spacing” so that one “plant not harm the growth of its neighboring plant.”

Rather they should be set up in a way that they complement each other and form “one vineyard.” This is with parallel rows that do not cross each other. Each scholar who had an approach to the implementation of Torah in national life continued on a consistent path that was uniquely his. By the unification of all of these powers, good things emerge, which create desirable fruit which bring joy to Hashem and to people. “On that day, sing about it: ‘It is a vineyard that produces wine’” (Yeshaya 27:2)


The Complementary Triumvirate

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:249)


Ein Ayah: The general paths which operate within the nation can be separated into three main elements, in regard to their point of focus and character, while their overall purpose is one.

One path is the foundation of action, which relates to the greatness of practical Torah, as halacha shapes people’s actions. The second path is the foundation of the emotion, which can be elevating to one’s personality. It is connected to the philosophical/moral part of Torah, which is related to emotion and also guides one in setting his behavior. The third and highest level is the loftiest intellectual side, tapping into the purest divine wisdom

According to the goal set by the leaders of the generation, so will many matters come about, in people’s actions, their feelings, customs, viewpoints, and imagination. The three great rabbis of Kerem B’Yavneh, with their completeness joining together, in the rows of the vineyard, came at the time they were most needed, when the centralization that the Beit Hamikdash represented was broken. Thus, it was necessary for the representatives of different outlooks to come together and provide a broad model for national success.

Rabbi Yehuda was the pillar of the Torah of practical halacha, which is why we follow him in his halachic disagreements with his colleagues (Eiruvin 46b). Rabbi Elazar ben Rabbi Yossi was the expert in philosophical/aggadic matters, and whenever he speaks on such matters, one should listen carefully. Rabbi Shimon was the master of deep Torah secrets, who knew things that Hashem shared with only a select few G-d-fearers. The wisdom he taught brought special light to the House of Israel.  

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