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Shabbat Parashat Vayeilech Yom Kippur 5779

Ein Ayah: Strange Ideas and Danger

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:111)

Gemara: There is no prohibition of the ways of the Emorites if one puts the stem of a berry or broken glass in a pot so that it will cook faster, but the Rabbis forbade broken glass because of the possibility of danger.  


Ein Ayah: Strange ideas of the imagination that do not have a basis in logic confuse a person, since they are connected to the nature of life in a way that takes him away from logic, holiness, and contemplating Hashem. There is therefore logic to distance us from such actions, even though they do work based on nature, because they are strange to people. There is further reason to avoid the tricks the gemara mentions, as they are done for a reason that is connected to a bad trait – to cook quickly because one is in a gluttonous mood.

On the other hand, such an action is positive in that it awakens one to try to figure out the ways of nature, and it also saves time that one might have to waste on preparing food. Therefore, overall, such an action is fine.

Nevertheless, one still has to be very careful about an action like putting broken glass in a pot, especially when he will be eating heartily, because of the possibility of danger. This is often a stumbling block for people who act impatiently when in the face of fulfilling a physical desire even when they should be aware of the danger before them. For this reason, the Rabbis forbade putting the glass in the pot. Apparently it is forbidden even if it can be done in a manner that obviates the danger, as the action itself weakens the moral resolve to be careful about one’s life in the face of fleeting desires.


The Wise Must Not Be Hostages of the Silly

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:112)


Gemara: One may put a clump of salt into an oil lamp so that it will give light and kindle well. One may put mud or pottery under the oil lamp so that it will lessen the light.


Ein Ayah: Sometimes, silliness, which always goes along with evil, connects things that are difficult to grasp to ridiculous ideas. This can happen when a simple mind is confused by something in nature, which is actually set by the wisdom of Hashem. There is some logic to avoid such actions that are bad for the lightheaded. But that is not the way the Rabbis go about things. We will not forbid good things because some people do not understand them.  

At a time of happiness, a silly person will be confused if light increases by means of a trick, and many strange ideas may enter his small mind. When it is possible to conserve and have less light, one who is intellectually lazy may think strange thoughts about the means used to do so. But since the actions are good, they are not forbidden. The fact that some make mistakes does not make it forbidden for the wise. It is an important idea that Hashem gave tools to the wise to use the world in the most effective way, for their benefit.
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