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Shabbat Parashat Shoftim 5780

Ein Ayah: Bashfulness is Very Protective

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:41-42)

Gemara: [The gemara continues learning lessons from the “At Bash” system – there is a connection between the letters that are equidistant from the middle of the aleph bet. In other words, aleph is connected to tav because they are at the edges; bet is connected to shin. The following is hinted at by the first six and last six letters of the aleph bet, as pairs:] If you are bashful (Rashi- about sinning), you will live in the divine parts of the Heaven, there will be a barrier between you and anger, and you will not quake due to the Satan. [We will focus on the last two phrases.] 


Ein Ayah: It is true that the whole world is full of a life of bitterness, as the hand of evil spreads and moral coarseness enjoys a mighty standing. This causes hardship to the attributes of justice, morality, and sanctity, and people of pure hearts are fearful of that which happens under the sun. This is what people’s backward perceptions cause to pervade in the world.

However, a person is capable of saving himself from the deluge of evil, by raising himself up internally based on the highest level of bashfulness, as he realizes that all the means of deceit do not compare to the radiance of the internal truth of a pure soul. This is the supporting pillar of the world, as the world stands on the merit of the righteous (Chagiga 12b). While the “destructive waters” bring anger to the world and surround life, the pure spirit finds satisfaction in living in the shadow of the sanctity of rectitude and purity. This spreads a canopy of peace and makes a barrier like the ark of Noach did from the water of the flood, which represented the life full of sinfulness. When a person forms his personality in the ideal way, so that even a person who is tied up with materialism can still be one who “lives in the divine parts of Heaven,” then he can live in the same proximity with materialism yet be protected by the barrier that separates them.

A holy person who lives his life with the highest level of bashfulness, which protects him from the anger of the external world and the corruptive life of lies, also enjoys a high level of trust in Hashem. This trust in Hashem also stands by him as he encounters the significant amount of evil, which Hashem needed to create in all facets of the world in order that the world can reach its goal. This evil is connected to the Satan, who is also the evil inclination and also the angel of death (Bava Batra 16a). While it is destructive, it needs to exist so that absolute goodness will overcome it in every facet. That would turn the Satan into one who serves goodness and upholds sanctity and truth.

When one is able to shield himself from evil and dwell eternally in an abode of tranquility, he also loses his fear of the power of evil, whether that which is in the midst of a person or that which spreads out through the entire universe. No barrier can stop the Satan from operating, for the presence of the Satan is needed everywhere so that things can be turned into the highest level of good. Until that happens, the Satan will be extremely powerful. However, the righteous person whom we have described will not need strong trepidation before the Satan.

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