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Shabbat Parashat Vaeira| 5771

Ein Ayah: When the Physical World Is Positive Spiritually

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 6:5)

Gemara: Rabbi Levi brought an apparent contradiction between p’sukim: It says, “To Hashem does the world and everything within belong” (Tehillim 24:1). Yet, it says: “The heavens belong to Hashem, whereas the earth He gave to mankind” (Tehillim 115:16)? This is not a question. One is speaking before one makes a beracha (blessing). The other is talking after one makes a blessing [in which case, Hashem gives it to mankind].


Ein Ayah: One should recognize that all physical things can enable one to advance in his shleimut (completeness) in the spiritual realm, at the heart of which is knowledge of Hashem. A person who succeeds realizes that the goal of strengthening his physical side is only according to that which is necessary, without which he could not reach spiritual shleimut. We can understand this from the pasuk: “To Hashem does the world and everything within belong.”

When the pasuk says, “The heavens belong to Hashem, whereas the earth He gave to mankind,” this teaches that there is a gain from the increase of physical powers, which can be used to acquire property with wisdom and skill. [This seems like a contradiction].

The straight solution is as follows. If one does not weigh the value of his physical attainments and extract the spiritual value that is found in everything physical, then the stress on the physical pulls him in the direction of animalistic tendencies. If, in contrast, he is able to find value in the spiritual side and see how it can be used for justice and true wisdom, which are at the essence of life according to the Torah, then not only will the physical not hold one back from spirituality, but it will give it added strength.

Before making a beracha, when one uncovers the spiritual elements, it is worthwhile to realize that “to Hashem does the world and everything within belong,” and he should be careful not to overuse the physical. However, after making the beracha and realizing the spiritual power of the physical world and what it enables him to do, the pasuk, “The heavens belong to Hashem, whereas the earth He gave to mankind” applies. He should view people involved in physical pursuits in a positive light. For this reason, prophecies that deal with the redemption and ideal world of the future are full of glowing predictions about the physical successes of the time. The spiritual situation will be so good that physical blessings will also be of great value. One will not have to avoid any strength because they all will be used for positive.


What Happens When We Abuse Our Blessings?

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 6:7)


Gemara: Rabbi Chanina bar Pappa brought an apparent contradiction between p’sukim. It says: “I will take back my grain at its time” (Hoshea 2:11). Yet, another pasuk says: “You will harvest your grain, wine, and oil” (Devarim 11:14)? It is not a question. [The latter] refers to a case where Bnei Yisrael do that which Hashem wants; [the former] refers to a case where Bnei Yisrael do not do what Hashem wants.


Ein Ayah: The purpose of the existence of the world is to give the opportunities for choices to do good and wise things to be actualized, enthusiastically through total free will. However the choices are in the hands of man. Therefore, when people follow the correct path, the whole of the world was worthwhile and its success is considered as if it is owned by man.

In contrast, when man is on a destructive course, existence is problematic, just that Hashem has the ability to bring things back toward the way they should be. However, success that comes in that way is to be attributed to Hashem, not to people, who at that point have not earned that which the world offers. [That is meant by Hashem taking back his grain.]


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This edition of
Hemdat Yamim
is dedicated
 to the memory of
R' Meir
 ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
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