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Shabbat Parashat Chukat 5778

Ein Ayah: The Advantages of Listening

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:63)

Gemara: Two Torah scholars who listen to each other in discussion of Halacha, Hashem hears their voices, as it says: “She who sits in gardens, friends listen to your voice, let me hear” (Shir Hashirim 8:13). If they do not listen, they cause the Divine Presence to abandon Israel, as it says: “Escape, by beloved…” (ibid. 14).


Ein Ayah: Hashem reveals his world leadership through listening to the approaches of the mind. Although a person has a certain, even unchangeable, way of thinking he still must listen to another’s approach and realize that it also has credence. Then his counterpart’s approach will make his way of thinking more fruitful. This is normal when intellectual approaches interact.  

Divine listening is connected to internal emotion, which is sensitive to Hashem’s holy, pure “whispers.” This is actualized when one prepares himself morally by having the thoughts of others resonate positively in him, even though they are very different from his own.

Similarly, the divine light which allows leadership to succeed emerges from the listening of a potential leader to his friend. Whether he accepts or rejects the idea, the process still has a good effect on everyone’s special logic, making him fit for leadership. This is in line with the divine order, which covers both the spiritual and physical realms of life, according to all its different details. The approach to leadership of one who properly weighed all available reasonable approaches is aligned with the divine approach. This is not true when one wants to give exclusivity to his personal way of thinking; individual spiritual approaches do not fit divine plans, which fit the minds of each person in the nation. These emerge in their own way from the divine light in its midst. Therefore, one who ignores others’ thinking causes the Divine Presence to abandon Israel.  


Building Knowledge from Partial Sources

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:64)


Gemara: Hashem loves rabbinical students who supplement each other’s knowledge of Halacha. This is only if they have basic knowledge of the teachings in advance and if there is no available teacher from whom to learn.


Ein Ayah: Spiritual “sprouts” grow with the spirit as it seeks hidden truths. They expand one’s spiritual, intellectual, and emotional spirit. The “sprouts” must be based on the Torah of truth.

Hashem arranges matters so that when intellectual “buds” spread out in different directions, the simple truth may disappear so that the intellect can experience a thirst to search for truth in different places. That is why rabbinical students may find themselves without the simple truth that a teacher could give them. They must then join together and use the perspectives that they have to search for it. This is good even if they need to stray somewhat from the point of the truth.

They become elevated in the process, and divine love that grows according to a soul’s spiritual level will be revealed in its full grandeur. However, this can work only when they stand on a frame of Halacha and their search is to expand the details. Then, although the path is complicated, the search for truth is able to light it up. When no teacher is available, the desire for truth and a strong basis straighten the straying path of the light. However, if a reliable source can directly provide truth, then one who ignores it is missing a basic building block of a proper search. A person who prefers a less reliable path does not sufficiently care about the truth.

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