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Shabbat Parashat Tetzaveh 5779

Ein Ayah: Share Secrets Carefully

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 8:45)

Gemara: A scholar from the Galil was asked to expound upon the ma’aseh merkava (the description of Hashem and His Heavenly abode). He said to them: “I will expound to you according to the way Rabbi Nechemia did to his friends.” A hornet came out of the wall, bit him on his forehead, and he died. They said: “It was from him that it came to him.”   


Ein Ayah: Regarding inquiring about lofty divine matters, which are at the heights of the philosophies of hidden ideas, as long as they are not at the point to be revealed to the uninitiated, it is uncommon that this would cause damage to those who think straight and guard their thinking. The difficult thing in this realm of deep matters is the question of how to reveal matters of this type.    

When one arranges the “storage rooms” of knowledge in a methodical way, there can sometimes be a hidden “poisonous fly,” which represents a deadly false piece of knowledge. It can attack the place where the deep matter begins to become revealed. This is represented by the forehead, which is the area that covers the root of thought in the brain.

It is not the essence of the holy thoughts that are at fault for this tragedy, but the matter depends solely on the one who is doing the revealing. When he leaves the realm of how it was accepted and reveals such matters and strives to come up with his own new ideas, specifically then would the “edifice” become a place that harbors “deadly flies.” If, on the other hand, the inquirer of divine, lofty matters uses the content and the language of the “fathers of wisdom,” who speak with a near prophetic spirit of holiness, to be his guiding light, he will be protected from stumbling blocks.

That is why he said to him: “It was from him that it came to him.” In other words, it was the fact that there were new ideas that came from him. If it could happen to such a tzaddik, who made but  a small mistake, that there could be such a great stumbling block, it could only be because of the concept that “Hashem is exacting with the actions of those who are close to Him to the breadth of a strand of hair” (Yevamot 121b). Even such a stumbling block did not come from the depths of the knowledge itself, but in the way it was explained and revealed. Any such matter requires great care in accordance with the value that the expounding relates to. It is according to the way the gemara (Chagiga 13a) adapts the pasuk (Mishlei 27:26) of “your clothes will be kevasim (lit., be made from sheep/wool, but is taken in the following way)”: those things that are about the secret matters of the world should remain under your clothing (i.e., concealed).

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