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Shabbat Parashat Pinchas 5780

Ein Ayah: Positive Effects of Giving Tzedaka

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:18)

Gemara: [We continue going through the aleph bet, with suggestions of words and themes that fit these letters in their order. Last time we saw about the importance of tzedaka, and we skipped over a piece that connected that theme to the Name of Hashem.] [We learn from the letters of zayin through lamed:] If you do this (give tzedaka properly), Hashem will feed you, give you charm, do good for you, give you inheritance, and tie onto you a crown for the world to come.


Ein Ayah: The following are the conditions of happiness: one can continue to survive; the existence is pleasant; it will be elevating; it will last for eternity; his existence will be elevated to a higher level than any of the previous conditions capture.

These are the ideas that the gemara highlights for one who gives tzedaka properly. Feeding him is representative of taking care of the needs that allow him to survive. Giving him charm refers to the pleasantness of his existence, as when he has nice additions to his existence, he is able to display charm. Doing good for the person implies that things are better than they needed to be. The matter of inheritance means that there will not be an end to his existence, which is the foundation of eternity. The crown for the world to come is about the highest level of them all.

All of these attainments, which are full of the light of the holy of holies, continuously flow from the light of tzedaka carried out in the ideal and holiest way, as is feasible when a Jew connects himself to the Name of Hashem.


An Opened and a Closed Statement

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:19)


Gemara: An open mem (the regular letter) and the closed mem (the mem at the end of a word) correspond to an open statement and a closed statement.


Ein Ayah: The greatness of Torah is that it includes everything – all concepts – with the sanctity of its unity. All areas of knowledge and wisdom can be divided into the revealed, clear matters and matters that are closed and elusive. However, the clear unity that is captured within every single statement of Torah includes both open and secret characteristics. It has concepts that are comprehensible to all and also deep matters that are the secrets of the world. This is part of the Torah’s uniqueness and is hinted at by the two types of mems, as both forms are representations of the same letter. Indeed all elements of the Torah are united, despite their different natures. 


[The introduction to Ein Ayah, which we presented 11 years ago, begins with this gemara and expounds on the concept of the open and closed statements. We bring below relevant excerpts from that introduction.]

Closed statements teach practical Torah regarding mitzvot and statutes. Only when these are observed literally can we open the gates of enlightening, expanded ideas of the open statement… Once those who “damage the vineyards” break open the “fences of the world,” their spirit will no longer reach the level to appreciate the holy value of the statements of the Torah and the Rabbis, including the open statement, which is wider and deeper than the sea. This is because only one who is sanctified in the holiness of good actions, behavior, and beliefs can elevate his spirit to properly view the value of the words of a Living G-d… The foundations of Jewish belief are included in the closed statement, which comes at the end of a word. The open statement is effective in expanding and glorifying the Torah when it comes in the middle of the word. When ideas are expanded and the view of all of the details of ethics and belief increase, we will be able to strengthen weak hands and fragile hearts and return those who strayed from Torah back to its strength through grace and healthy logic.

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