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Shabbat Parashat Ha’azinu | 5770
Ein Ayah: Two Elements of Evil Speech
(based on Berachot 2:44)
Gemara: My Lord, withhold my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking mirma (deceit)…
Ein Ayah: The tongue relates to the inner content of language, and the lips refer to the external element of language. [Thus the prayer discusses both elements of speech.] Because the true evil is the evil of false philosophies, the prayer requests that Hashem should protect so that the internal content of his speech should not turn toward the evil of damaging views. It asks also that the external element of speech should not express things that differ from one’s internal intention, which could cause damage to those who are easily deceived. That is what deceit is: saying things that are against what is in one’s heart.
The Task of an Individual in his Life
(based on Berachot 2:46)
Gemara: My Lord, until I was created I was not worthwhile, and now that I was created, it is as if I was not created.
Ein Ayah: During the infinite time from the beginning of time until I was created, there was nothing in the world for which I was needed, for if there were something in the world for which I was needed, I would have been created at that point. Eventually, the time arose for me to do something to complete an element of the world. If I would have focused my actions for the purpose for which I was created, I would now be worthwhile. However, since my actions are not going toward that good goal, but rather to do that which my heart desires, I have not reached my goal. Thus, I still, as previously, am not worthwhile.
The Importance of Yisurin
(based on Berachot 2:50)
Gemara: When Rabbi Yochanan would complete the Book of Iyov, he would say: “A person is destined to die, and an animal is destined to be slaughtered, and all are destined to die. Fortunate is one who grew in Torah ….”
Ein Ayah: Rabbi Yochanan gave the following solution to the existence of yisurin (torment) in the world. The endpoint of life is death. A person finds his real purpose after the end of his life on earth. If yisurin did not slightly weaken a person’s connection to the material world so that his spirit could separate from it and find a restful respite, then the spirit’s strong connection to the love of the physical world would detract from his spiritual completeness. The spirit would maintain, based on habit, longings for the body and its activities. Therefore, Hashem, in His wisdom, arranged matters so that the spirit would not find full satisfaction in this world. The reason is as Rabbi Yochanan said: “A person is destined to die and an animal, which does not have a spirit with deep feelings, is destined for slaughter. In other words, the animal can die suddenly without being introduced to it with a gradual weakening. It does not need to have its desire for life removed slowly. Since all are destined to die, it was appropriate to give the example of slaughter for the animal, which is a classic case of a sudden death. Even if an animal dies naturally, it does not experience a person's type of trials and tribulations. A person in his old age will find a certain level of comfort for the spirit in his death, which allows him to rest in peace. The fortunate part of passing away is allowing the soul to grasp the true ideas that it was incapable of grasping while still engaged in material pursuit. Therefore, one who grew in the Torah is particularly fortunate.
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