Illuminations #149, Shvat 5778, Parshat Mishpatim

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Illuminations #149, Shvat 5778, Parshat Mishpatim

Torah Gems

The Parashah this week is about the obligation of studying Torah, which also applies to a student who is having difficulty learning. In the Pasuk it says, “And these are the ordinances that you shall place before them” (21:1). The Pasuk tells us that a teacher must teach his student in a clear and understandable way, and if the student does not understand what is being learned it is because the teacher needs to explain it in a better way and a few more times until he understands.

The Talmud (Eruvin 54b) talks about Rabbi Frieda who had a student that, for him to absorb the learning, Rabbi Frieda had to repeat the subject over and over again four hundred timesOne day, Rabbi Frieda had to da certain Mitzvah after finishing studying. Rabbi Frieda repeated the learning as usual four hundred times, and this time the student did not understand. Rabbi Frieda asked the student what he thought was different this time compared to all the other times? The student answered that he was so distracted by Rabbi Frieda going to do the mitzvah after learning that he had a hard time understanding. Rabbi Frieda told the student that he will not go anywhere and will repeat the learning over again, even though it will take him another four hundred times to understand. After that they heard bat kol from Heaven that asked Rabbi Frieda what reward he would want for his devotion to the student: adding 400 years in Olam Hazeh or having Olam Haba?  Rabbi Frieda replied that he would opt for having Olam Haba; for his answer, Hashem said He would reward him with both.

We see from this story that we have the obligation to teach Torah to a student even though it might be hard for him to understand, that there is never an exemption from Torah study. For the same student who needed Rabbi Freida to teach him everything four hundred times to understand, Rabbi Freida did not stop teaching Torah, and he did not consider it a waste of time teaching him. It is imperative that the obligation to study Torah has no end, and that for a person who has very little ability one is required to teach him Torah.

After all that they only praised Rabbi Freida, who did not despair of teaching his student four hundred times. But was the student not also praiseworthy, in that he did not give up in the middle of his studies after four hundred repetitions; others would have given up a long time ago?

Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, says that when a person suffers from a disease, and he needs urgent and expensive treatment, he does not spare any money to heal himself. It is natural for a person to do as much as he can to live, thus he is not worthy of special praise. Therefore, whoever understands that the Torah is our life, and without the Torah we are called lifeless, understands that when person wants to live, he learns the Torah and does everything to learn, so it is not worthy of special praise, but a Rabbi Freida, who sat with his student and repeated four hundred times, is praised and rewarded.

Parsha Pearls

Chazal tell us that when a person passes away and writes in his will that his assets will be transferred only to one of his sons, the law is that the son is not the owner of all the assets but a guardian, and the assets are divided equally with the rest of his brothers. The reason for this is that the purpose his father wrote that the assets would be left only to him was so that he would be respected by his other brothers. This is according to the explanation and the logic that he does not want this son to be rich and his brothers to be poor.

Rav Moshe Alsheich HaKadosh explains that when Hashem gave wealth to some of the Klal Yisraelthey only became custodians of the money in order that others would respect them. But one must divide his money with the rest of his brothers, because Klal Yisrael are all sons of Hashem. As it says in the Parasha, “When you lend money to My people, to the poor person who is with you” (22:24). We need to know that what we give the poor is not ours – it belongs to them. God has given us wealth to make us respectable, but we are committed to give it to the poor.

There is another explanation, in the Pasuk it says: “To My People.” This refers to the Talmiday Chachamim who study Torah, that they should be the first to be given charity.

Glimpses of Greatness

When a person starts with Shiduchim, Chazal tell us we cannot expect to get everything or to demand someone who is perfect.
There is a story about a woman that was looking for Shiduch, that she insisted firmly on a strong principle: she did not want fellow to wear glassesIn every offer she would immediately ask if the fellow was wearing glasses and when she heard that he did, she would not accept the offer. Time passed and finally she found an excellent fellow who was great for her and did not wear glasses – they got engaged. A short period after the engagement, the Chatan went to the optometrist and discovered that he did in fact need glasses; nonetheless,  they got married. From this we can see how Hashem showed her exactly who sets principles and that He is the only one who brings a couple together.

Halacha Weekly

Q.  Is one  permitted to live in any country outside the Land of Israel? {II-3-47]

A. Rambam Z”L (Mel. 5-9)writes that it is forbidden to leave the land of Israel to go to the nations of the world except to learn Torah, marry a wife or rescue property from the hands of Non-Jews, and one must then return to the land. Also [one is permitted] to leave for business, but to settle outside the land is prohibited, except in the case of scarcity [in Israel] which causes prices to double.

Sdei Chemed (Marechet 1-246, R. Chizkiah Medini Z”L) proves from the words of Semag (Lavin 227, R. Moshe Ben Yaakov of Couchy Z”L) that only leaving the Land of Israel for Egypt is prohibited by the Torah, but to go from the land of Israel to other lands abroad is permitted by Torah Law. And we do not say that it is also prohibited to live in other lands. But even for business purposes it is prohibited to go to Egypt. Rather, it is certainly permitted from the Torah to leave the Land of Israel to go to any other Land to live, except Egypt.