Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim Vayeilech | 5769
Ein Ayah: Improving Those Whose Intentions Are Not Complete
(based on Berachot 2:41)
Gemara: May it be Your will, Hashem … that you shall put peace in your legions above and below and between the students who are occupied with Your Torah, whether those who do so with proper intentions (lishma) or those who do so not lishma. And may it be Your will that they will occupy themselves lishma.
Ein Ayah: The reason for this prayer is that general human peace depends on
Those who study lishma will have peace because they recognize the truth. The prayer extends to those who do not study lishma. Although they did not yet merit to purify their hearts to be occupied lishma, they still need to not be so corrupt as to pervert the straight truths and make arguments based on ideas antithetical to Torah’s truth. As these people still act like one who studies Torah lishma, their actions facilitate peace as if they learn lishma, despite the incomplete purity of their hearts. This is not totally dependent on one’s capabilities, for Hashem can purify the hearts of those who are lacking. Thus the prayer asks that Hashem raise the spirits of those who study not lishma so that they should do so lishma.
Different Paths to Appreciation of Service of Hashem
(based on Berachot 2:42)
Gemara: May it be Your will … to place us in a corner of light and not place us in a dark corner and that our heart will not know pain and our eyes will not be darkened.
Ein Ayah: The significance of this prayer is based on the fact that one can be inspired to serve Hashem by either the Torah or by intellect.
It is greatest for one to have his intellect enlighten him to serve Hashem by recognizing the greatness of the Master and serving Him out of love. Whoever does not recognize the goal of his service of Hashem is one who walks in the dark. One who is enlightened by his intellect is one who stands in a corner of light.
It seems that while it is praiseworthy for one to be inspired by his intellect, the drawback is that it is not as all encompassing as what he can attain through Hashem’s perfect Torah. Therefore, the former is referred to as a corner of light, as it gives light only to the degree that his intellect and his situation allow it to extend. The Torah, though, is the light of the world and not just a corner of light. It is still a worthy attribute to think about the value of his service. However, when one analyzes things himself, he must beware of two things.
First, he should not allow himself to be overtaken by too many questions that pain the heart when he lacks a solution for them, a phenomenon that does not affect those who live with blind faith. That is why the prayer requests “that our heart will not know pain,” which can happen even to those in the light. The second thing happens when one gets involved in problems that are beyond his mental capacity. The Rambam and Chovot Halevavot compare this to one who damages his eyes by looking straight at the sun. This can affect someone who investigates things that he cannot appreciate, which makes him unable to grasp that which he was originally capable of grasping. That is the request that “our eyes not be darkened.”
One request relates to the intellectual sphere and the other to the emotional. He should have a straight path that enables him to experience greater joy as he understands more and continue to strive to increase his understanding without reaching the point of distorted views of the Divine.
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The Eretz Hemdah family expresses its condolences to
Rabbi Yosef Carmel,
the head of the Kollel,
on the passing
of his mother,
With great sorrow we inform the passing of
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
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.
Hemdat Yamim is dedicated
to the memory of the
beloved friend of Eretz Hemdah
Doris (Doba) Moinester
whose Yahrtzeit is 23rd of Elul