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Shabbat Parashat Shoftim | 5769

Ein Ayah: The Purpose of Dreams

(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot 2:24)
Gemara: R. Zeira said: Whoever slept seven days without a dream is called bad, as the pasuk says … R. Yochanan said: Whoever satiates himself with words of Torah and then sleeps will not be told bad tidings.
Ein Ayah:The natural phenomenon of dreams was not created without a purpose. The gemara explains that the purpose of frightening dreams is to soften the tough nature of the inclination of a person’s heart. Therefore, if a significant amount of time passes and nothing comes to cause a person’s hard nature to be softened, his tough characteristics will acquire strength and he will be called bad.
 However, Rabbi Yochanan qualifies this by saying that this is true only regarding a person whose activities all follow the nature of his soul. One who puts his heart on the path of dedication to Hashem’s Torah does not need natural events to soften his personal characteristics, as the Torah will teach him and straighten his path. That is why one who satiates himself with words of Torah will not be told bad tidings [in dreams] because he is always close to the path of good. Wisdom, which weakens his physical powers, will make his characteristics proper.
It is also possible that when a person sleeps, his physical side gains prominence, and he will become increasingly drawn to it. Therefore, it is important to dream, as it makes him use at least a partially intellectual capacity to imagine things in his mind, thus preventing him from become overly enveloped in physicality during his sleep. However, when he rests his body from the hard work of Torah study, he does not become overtaken by physicality, rather he experiences a means of reaching spiritual completeness. Therefore, it is best that he not be disturbed and his sleep should be pleasant to him.
Unwarranted Embarrassment and Warranted Pain
(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot 2:26)
Gemara:After he would finish his prayers, Rabbi Yochanan would say: “It should be Your will … that You peek (tatzitz)at our embarrassment and gaze (tabit)at our bad situation…”
Ein Ayah:Peeking is considered looking in a difficult manner. In other words one has to make an effort to see something that was not fit to be discerned unless one concentrates specially. Realize that embarrassment is an emotion of the soul that applies even to lofty matters. If the person who embarrasses is respected and the matter about which one is embarrassed is rightly embarrassing, then the feeling is proper. However when a lowly person embarrasses a fine person for having done something good, then one should not really feel ashamed.
In our lowly state, those who disgrace us are those of an unrefined heart and a lacking spirit. For what are they shaming us if not for doing something good, namely, for observing the covenant that we have with Hashem! We should properly not feel any shame. Nevertheless, since we have weakness of the spirit and improperly feel shame, we still ask Hashem to look at us according to our actual feelings, despite the fact that it stems from a lacking within us. That is why we ask Hashem to be meitzitz (peek), not according to the value of Hashem’s completeness but according to our weak spirit.
We ask Hashem to gaze at our lowness in our bad situation. A bad situation clearly causes hard feelings and does not stem from the lowliness of the spirit. Rather it is a fundamental reaction of the body to react to pressure and pain even though physical pain does not have intrinsic value. In any case, since the bad situation warrants hard feelings, we can ask Hashem to be mabit, to look directly to see something that deserves to be seen.
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Rabbi Yosef Carmel,
the head of the Kollel,
on the passing
of his mother,
Malkah Toibeh,

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