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Shabbat Parashat Chayei Sarah| 5771

Ein Ayah: The Blessing of Productivity for the Pious

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:88)

Gemara: The early pious people would wait an hour before prayer and an hour after prayer. Since they spent nine hours on prayer, how were they able to preserve their Torah scholarship, and when did they do their work? Because they were pious people, their Torah was preserved and their work was blessed. 


Ein Ayah: People forget details because the principles are not well established within them, and therefore the deep view as to how the details emanate from the principles are not natural to their thought process. In contrast, one who acquired a deep and organized understanding of the principles will understand how the details are needed to complete the principle, and then he will not forget the details.

The average person is not on the level to view even the “logical” parts of the Torah with their details as something that must be as it is by logical necessity. However, the most pious people, who maintain a keen understanding of the fundamental ethics upon which the Torah stands, are much more capable of internalizing and thereby remembering the whole body of Torah knowledge.

Because these holy people are very valuable to the world, as they raise mankind from its lowly state of preoccupation with physicality, it is proper that they spend a lot of time each day renewing their spiritual outlook. Therefore, it is proper that they should not have to spend too much time on earning a living, which is why Hashem sends blessing to the work they do. Someone who is not on such a high level does not see such blessing unless he works very hard. This is because generally, toiling at work brings human completeness, as the mishna (Avot 2:2) says: “Torah study goes well with work, for toiling on the two of them distances one from sin.” This is why Hashem made it a rule of nature that generally a person will not get the sustenance he needs without hard work, so that he not be affected as much by the proclivity for sin that is in his midst. However, the pious, who have raised their spirit in moral erectness and a have a viewpoint close to that of the holy Torah, are far from sin. Since they do not need the hard work, Hashem can send special blessing to their work.


The Importance of Wisdom in Mundane Matters

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:92)


Gemara: Great is wisdom, for which reason it is discussed at the beginning of the blessings about mundane matters.


Ein Ayah: The essence of wisdom is to use everything, even lowly things, for a noble purpose. When involved in lofty matters of sanctity, it is not difficult for even an average person to focus on spiritual improvement. However, when involved in mundane matters, it takes a healthy level of wisdom to be able to focus on their spiritual value. This requires a “wise person who sees that which is to come in the future.” This is what the pasuk exhorts one to do: “In all your ways, know Him” (Mishlei 3:6), which is an idea to which all of the Torah is connected (Berachot 63a). This is also related to the idea of “all of your actions should be for the sake of Heaven,” about which the Rambam commented that philosophers discussed it a lot but still did not complete the discussion.

For this reason, when one begins the blessings of Shemoneh Esrei that relate to mundane matters, as one who leaves the holy to enter mundane activities, he must pray for the wisdom to enable even those matters to be connected to sanctity.   

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