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Shabbat Parashat Shemini | 5769

Ein Ayah: Linking Liberation to Prayer; Influence of a Great Man

(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot 1:143- part II)


Gemara: What [did Chizkiya] mean by saying: “I did that which was good in Your eyes”? Rav Yehuda said in Rav’s name: he put liberation next to prayer. Rabbi Levi said: he buried the book of medical remedies. [Last time, we discussed Rabbi Levi’s statement. When the nation is on a high level, it is better for it to exert its own efforts and see Hashem through nature. When on a low level or as the nation emerges, the nation needs to recognize Hashem through miracles. At Chizkiya’s time, it was good to bury the remedies. Now we focus on Rav Yehuda’s statement].

Ein Ayah: The idea of putting liberation right before prayer teaches us that our liberation will come only from the Hand of Hashem. It is important for us to know this because the knowledge of the great Hashem is the goal of liberation. Therefore, we should know that liberation is close to prayer and the good will from Hashem that accompanies it. When we are on a high level in service of Hashem and shleimut (completeness), liberation is close to prayer, as it truly is, even when the liberation comes through natural events and our own efforts.  However, when, due to our sins, our standing is diminished and we are distanced from the shleimut of knowing Hashem, then, in our view, liberation is not near our prayers unless there are clear miracles.

Chizkiya tried to do that which is good in Hashem’s eyes. Specifically, this refers to that which brings us closer to the ethical goal, even if people do not see it as good, and that is putting liberation next to prayer. In his time, this was accomplished by making lesser efforts to succeed in a totally natural manner until he succeeded in reaching the highest level of trust in Hashem. [As we saw last time, he did not actively fight the forces of Sancheriv, who surrounded Jerusalem, but davened to Hashem to accomplish victory Himself through a miracle.] Rabbi Levi related the concept of lessening human efforts to the private realm, regarding medical needs and remedies.


Influence of a Great Man

(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot 1:145)


Gemara: “Let us make for him [the prophet, Elisha] a small attic” (Melachim II, 4:10). Rav and Shmuel disputed the matter. One said that there was an open attic and they closed it in. The other said that there was a great hall, and they broke it into two parts.

Ein Ayah: The ways of shleimut can be divided into the shleimut of the individual and helping complete the standing of another person. Regarding the complete tzaddik, it is unclear which to focus on. Is it better for him to focus on perfecting himself, and his influence on perfecting others will come by itself by means of people who are close to him? Or is it perhaps better to give up on some of his personal greatness in order to influence others for the good?

One who wants to spend a lot of time by himself will be happy to go up into an attic so that comers and goers in the house will not disturb him with too easy access to him. However, one who is interested in directly impacting others, by being close to them at the price of his own lower intensity, will chose to be in a great hall. Admittedly, within the hall there may need to be a partition so that he will have a place to which to retreat when he needs to concentrate on his own growth, but it will still be easier to mingle with him. Since so many need his guidance, he should be in a place that is nice enough to honor those who come to visit and so that they will be reminded of the grandeur of the man of G-d. All of this would be unnecessary if the point was a place for the prophet to work on himself, for which a small attic without luxuries and extras would be right.



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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of

R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga  Brachfeld



Hemdat Yamim is
endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker


Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.

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