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Shabbat Parashat B'haalotcha 5778

Ein Ayah: The Virtues of the Right and Even the Left

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:58)

Gemara: That which it says, “Long life in its (the Torah’s) right; in its left, riches and honor” (Mishlei 3:16) … Those who go to the right (go about Torah the correct way) have long life and certainly they have riches and honor. Those who go to the left have riches and honor but not long life.


Ein Ayah: Torah is connected to lofty directions in a person’s life that give him a clear outlook on life and a grand type of sanctity. In this realm, the more a person elevates his soul to the highest spiritual light, the more the Torah makes the essence of his life greater. It glorifies his desire for life so that he is able to carry out the most lofty and important goals, which burst forth from the proper heart with the strength of a lofty soul. Indeed, the heavenly light always shines on one who studies Torah for the proper reasons. This is what is meant by one who turns to the right side and the depths of the related currents of life.

The greater that certain ideas are and the more power and skill they require to be brought to fruition to improve the world, the more Divine Assistance the person who wants to provide them will receive. Specifically, he will have a longer life, during which he will have the strength needed to act. Additionally, he will be provided with the means to carry out the plans he wants to implement, especially riches and honor.

However, such special people will not be expected or able to bring about the desired changes on their own, since they want to impact on the application of the Torah in a broad manner. Therefore, other good people who are involved in Torah, even though they are not on the same level of purity of intent and characteristics, need to be involved. When there is a broader base of involvement in Torah, the higher level of spirituality is promoted, and those who are capable of the highest level will attain it.

In order for this to be successful, those good but imperfect people who “go to the left,” while not being fit for the full blessing in which their spirituality attains for them long life, will at least be deserving of riches and honor. These are means through which to carry out good spiritual matters on the broad general base. For those “who go to the right,” not only will they be privy to the material blessing to help them carry out their goals, but they will also receive the increased vitality related to long life so that they will have enough power to elevate and sanctify life. This is the main goal of those who go to the right, i.e., who study Torah for the most noble reasons and look forward to light. They will be deserving of long life and all the more certainly, riches and honor. 

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