Vol 15.14 - Lecha 4 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Talmud-Sanhedrin|
(5737) "When our forefather Abraham (left Mesopotamia for Eretz Israel), upon reaching Sulma at Tzur, he saw the people busying themselves with weeding, when this was necessary, with tilling when the proper time for this arrived, and then he proclaimed: Would that my portion shall be in this land! Then the L-rd said to him: To your seed will I give this land." (Ber. Rab. 39:8).
Explanation of the three types of toil: toil by work , toil by mouth and toil in Torah (Tal. Sanh. 99b)
1. In conjunction to G-d‘s promise to Avraham "To your seed I will give this land", the Midrash states:
"When our forefather Abraham was travelling in Aram Naharayim, he saw them eating and drinking and acting recklessly he said: “Would that my portion not be in this land!”. Yet upon reaching Sulma at Tzur, he saw them busying themselves with weeding, when this was necessary, with tilling when the proper time for this arrived, and then he proclaimed: ‘Would that my portion shall be in this land!’ Then the L-rd said to him: To your seed will I give this land."
Since the Midrash connects G-d’s promise (“To your seed I will give this land”) with that which the desire of Avraham (‘Would that my portion shall be in this land!’) was due to the engagement of labor of the inhabitants – it is therefore understood that this virtue of engaging in work was the reason (not just to Avraham’s desire for the land, but also) to the giving of Eretz Yisroel to Avraham‘s progeny.
The question arises:
Avraham Avinu‘s statement “Would that my portion shall be in this land!” – (also) includes the explanation that he should have a portion among the other inhabitants, since the inhabitants were engaging in labor. Therefore it is understood that Avraham wanted to dwell among people who conduct themselves properly (and not among those that “eat and drink and act recklessly”).
However the promise “To your seed I will give this land” means that “this land” would be given by G-d solely to Yidden (through inheriting and their conquering it). Therefore what reason is there that the promise should be connected to the good conduct of the inhabitants? And more than this – to the conduct during the era of Avraham.
2. Seemingly, one could answer that the conduct of the inhabitants depicts the makeup and charm (סגולה) of “this land” itself, as the Sages state “Some countries nurture strong men, some countries nurture weaklings, some grow large populations etc.),
One must however understand:
The Sages state that “the deeds of the Canaanites were perverted from all the nations and that place where Yisroel resided was more perverted than all (מקולקל מכל)”.
And since, in general, the deeds of the Canaanites were “perverted from all the nations” (even from the people in Aram Naharayim), indeed, how is possible to say that this singular virtue of the inhabitants engaging in labor (and similarly, the singular good property in the land itself) should prevail (איבערוועגן) over all their other shortcomings, so much so that specifically because of this, it is a land that is fitting for Yidden?
3. Regarding the importance and virtue of work, the Sages stated that:
“R’ Eliezer said: Every man is born for toil, as it is written, ‘Yet man is born for toil’. (אר״א כל אדם לעמל נברא שנאמר כי אדם לעמל יולד). Now, I do not know whether for toil by mouth (עמל פה) or toil of labor (עמל מלאכה), but when it is said, ‘for his mouth craves it of him’, I may deduce that toil by mouth is meant. Yet I still do not know whether it is for toil in the Torah (עמל תורה) or in secular speech (עמל שיחה), but when it is said, ‘This book of the Torah shall not depart out of thy mouth’, I conclude that one was created to labor in the Torah.”
It is not understood, how could there even be a supposition that man was created for “toil of labor” (עמל מלאכה) - what virtue is there in toil of labor, that causes one to say that, the entire purpose of the creation of the world, was due to this?
Similarly, the second supposition is not understood. namely that man was created for the toil of speech. This is specifically not understood according to Rambam who elaborates stating that the majority of speech is utterly undesirable speech.
Even greater is the wonder according to that which is known, that even a supposition (קס״ד) that is stated in Torah – is Torah (worthy of study). This is also proven from the law that if one learns a question or a supposition in Torah (without learning the answer and conclusion) that he is also obligated to recite the blessings for Torah (study –ברכות התורה).
In the blessing, one states and proclaims that this is “His Torah”, the “Torah of truth” (תורת אמת) .This means that in the question and supposition etc. there is a truthful aspect and reason (however it is not conclusive, (צוגעפאסט) and so forth).
Similarly it is understood in our case:
The nature of the virtue that is in “toil of work” and “toil of speech”
(Because of which there is a supposition that this is the purpose of man’s creation)
is not rejected (אפגעפרעגט) even after the conclusion of the Talmud that “man was created to toil in Torah” – it is just that the toil of work and speech are not enough to be the entire purpose for the creation of man.
In other words:
The order of the debate in the Talmud, namely:
is upheld and remains (אויסגעהאלטן און בלייבט), even according to the conclusion.
In order that the person attain the purpose of his creation, namely: “man was created for the toil of Torah” – he must first attain the virtue of “toil of labor” and “toil of speech” . And when he combines these two aspects with the “toil of Torah”, then he prepares himself to the completeness of the purpose of his creation.
4. One can understand this by prefacing an understanding of the nature of the importance of “toil”, in general, so much so that the entire purpose of the creation of man, is connected with it (“man is born for toil”).
Since G-d is the essence of good, and the nature of good is to do good (טבע הטוב להטיב), why did He establish the creation in such a manner that the person must come onto work and struggle?
One cannot say that this is because man, by nature has pleasure (mainly) from a thing which he attains due to his effort (הארעוואניע), like the saying of the Sages that “a person would rather have his own measure (kav - a small amount) than someone else's nine measures (of the same item)” (אדם רוצה בקב שלו מט׳ קבים של חבירו). For this very nature itself, is not a mandatory aspect of his own accord – rather it is because G-d imbued man with this tendency.
Therefore the question returns to its place: why did G-d create man with a nature to have pleasure specifically from things which he attains through work and effort – aspects of pain (עניני צער) – and not through free gifts (מתנת חנם)?
The explanation in this is:
The veracity and purpose of good is, that the person should achieve
(Not just the highest completion which exists in the scope of created beings, but also)
a level which, in it, he resembles, as it were, his Creator (דומה לבוראו) . This is like the saying of the Sages that one is a “partner to G-d in Ma’asei Bereshit (the act of Creation) (שותף להקביה במעשה בראשית).
Therefore, G-d established in the order of Creation that man not attain his needs through that which exists (מן המוכן) but rather through toil and effort. In order that, through this, he should attain
(Not just to the completeness of a proper Mekabel (recipient מקבל) – the completeness of a created being, but also to)
the level of a Mashpia (bestower משפיע) (and creator (ומהווה)) similar to his Creator, through man’s toil and effort by his own power.
And this itself is the reason for the aforementioned, nature – that man does not have pleasure from things that he attains for free. On the contrary, one is shamed by this and it is called – bread of shame (נהמא דכסופא) – for man is imbued that his purpose and completeness is to not just be a “Mekabel” but (also) to be a “Mashipia”, similar to his Creator.
5. With this, it is understood why the first supposition in the Talmud is that the person was created to man was created for “toil of labor”:
Since the virtue of “toil” is that which, through it, the person is uplifted to the level of a “Mashpia” (“creator/בורא”) – a “partner to G-d in Ma’asei Bereshit – it is reasonable that the toil must primarily be
(Not in aspects which are related to him in his level, but rather)
in things, through which he is a Mashipia in the act of Creation (Ma’asei Bereshit) – the mineral , vegetable and animal (דצ״ח), of the world, for specifically through them does he become a partner in Ma’asei Bereshit.
Therefore the first supposition of the Talmud is that the verse “man was born to toil” means
(Not, “toil of speech” or “toil of Torah”, whose aspect is not in worldly matters – but rather it means)
“toil of work”. This means that through that which a person toils with his work, in a desirable manner according to Torah
(For this is the explanation of man was created for “toil of labor”, as will be explained in paragraph 7)
he effects and is Mashpia (draws down) into Creation that it should be proper, and therefore he becomes, through this, a partner in Ma’asei Bereshit.
6. However from this alone – namely that the aspect of the toil is in order that man become a partner to G-d in Ma’asei Bereshit – could be understood to mean that he cannot attain the purpose and completeness of the “partnership” (שותפות) through the “toil of labor” alone, but rather that he must also augment it with the “toil of speech”.
For this “partnership” in Ma’asei Bereshit is specifically when he resembles his Creator – and since G-d is not just a “Mashpia” in Creation but rather He created (מחדש) Creation, it is understood that even this “partnership” of man in Ma’asei Bereshit is complete only when he effects an innovation (חידוש) in the Creation.
Therefore, “toil of labor” alone is not sufficient.
(Even though that, through the work that is done in a desired manner, he effects an elevation in the Creation).
For since, in the power of the deed of the “toil of labor”, the virtue of man over other categories of creation, is not manifest,
(since the power of deed also exists in animals (בע״ח)) ,
therefore he effects in the world, only a type of elevation which is comparable to the creation (of an animal). But it does not reach the elevation that is not relative to that level- an innovation (חידוש) in Creation.
However, when the “toil of labor” is combined with the “toil of speech” – that the work and effluence in the world is in a manner that manifests the virtue of the species of Medaber (i.e. man who has a mouth and speaks) – then, an innovation is effected in the Creation - an additional elevation, which is higher than Creation of its own accord – before the creation of the species of Man/Medaber and his being.
However, this is also not the true, proper partnership – for he has no portion in his creation, in general, and from his power of speech, specifically. However, when he combines it with Torah - which is the Creator’s Torah (and He and His Wisdom are One) – and in a manner of toil, which then becomes “his Torah” (of the person toiling in Torah) – he effects and unifies and unites the Creator in Creation, as it were. And therefore he resembles his Creator – a partner to G-d in Ma’asei Bereshit.
7. The explanation of this in Pnimiyut is:
Regarding the aspect of “toil of labor” and “toil of speech”, the Rebbe Rayatz explains that “toil of labor” means that “one should do his work with faith . . that he should trust in G-d that He sustains and provides and that He will complete for him that it is a blessing (יגמור בעדו לברכה)”. And that the aspect of “toil of speech” is “engaging in prayer (התעסקות בתפלה)” (like the saying “‘Sicha/meditation' means only prayer” (אין שיחה אלא תפלה).
This clarification is the foundation of the aforementioned explanation that “toil of labor” is an aspect which is relative to Creation and “toil of speech” is higher than Creation.
With the faith that “He sustains and provides” alone, the elevation to a level in G-dliness which is higher than the world, is not accomplished. Since this itself, namely, that he must rely on the deed and activity in the ways of nature, is taken from the measures and boundaries of the world. Therefore, even though his “toil of labor” is permeated with faith in G-d “that He sustains and provides”
(And not the ways of nature, by themselves),
nevertheless, he attains, through this, only a level in G-dliness which is enclothed in the world.
However, the aspect of the Avodah of prayer (“toil of speech”) is as it states: “a ladder set up on the earth and the top of it reaches toward heaven (סולם מוצב ארצה וראשו מגיע השמימה)”. This represents the uplifting of man from below to above, so much so that he “reaches the Heavens”- higher than Creation.
Therefore, when together with “toil of labor”, there is also “toil of speech”, one effects in Creation an additional elevation, higher that the way it is of its own accord. And this is the explanation of “a ladder set up on the earth and the top of it reaches toward heaven” - that through prayer, the elevation (העלאה)
(is not just from the person praying, but also that it)
is from the “earthly” aspects (“earth”) (פון די ענינים ״ארציים״,״ארצה״) so much so (that it reaches to) “heaven” – to the level which is higher than the world.
8. Even though “toil of speech” – the Avodah of prayer – accomplishes in the world an elevation that is higher than Creation of its own accord – nevertheless, one cannot, after all, accomplish through it, a true innovation in Creation. For since the elevation through prayer is in a manner that the person lifts himself up through his own power - and he is just a measured and bounded being - therefore the accomplishment in the world, through his effort, is only in comparison to the Creation, and therefore not in the level of real change and innovation (which occurs specifically through an elevation that is not relative).
Therefore the conclusion of the Talmud is that “man was created to toil in Torah”. Torah, even in the way it is descended (and is manifest) in the world – is G-d’s Torah – unlimited. And since Torah is completely higher than Creation, it therefore has the power to effect a change in the existence of the world, so much so that it really becomes a new entity.
However, in order that one, though “toil of Torah”, be able to uplift the world to a level that is completely higher than (and outside) creation – a new entity – one must first have the completeness of the refinement in the aspects of the world, from their own accord.
Therefore, the order is that firstly one must have “toil of labor” – the engagement in the aspects of the world in a manner that is desirable according to Torah. For through this one fixes the world that it should be in a form of holiness. However “toil of labor” itself is not sufficient. For the intent is that the world should not remain in its standing and condition (even in a form of holiness), but rather one must add to it the aspect of “toil of speech” – to elevate the world to a level in G-dliness which is higher than the world, however much the person can attain through his own power, through the Avodah of prayer.
And after this preface and preparation of “toil of labor” and “toil of speech”, one comes to the aspects of “toil of Torah”, which has within it the power (since it is rooted in G-d’s essence) to accomplish an innovation in Creation. Through this, the intent of Creation of making an abode for G-d in the lower realms is carried out – that the lower realms become a new entity, mamosh.
Therefore it is understood that specifically, this entity and this order of all the three categories – “toil of labor”, “toil of speech”, and “toil of Torah” – explains and provides reason to the aspect of “man was born to toil”. Through (all three categories of) toil, the person accomplishes an innovation in Ma’asei Bereshit, and through this becomes a “partner to G-d in Ma’asei Bereshit” – resembling his Creator – and this is the purpose of Creation.
9. As was spoken previously regarding the Avodah of man, in general, that the purpose of his creation is to transform the world through “toil of Torah” (which is higher than Creation). However, in order to accomplish this, one must first have the prefacing of “toil of labor” and “toil of speech” – so too is this regarding Eretz Yisroel, the “land” of Yidden.
Eretz Yisroel was previously given to the seven (Canaanite) nations, with the intent and purpose that Yidden would conquer and transform it. That from a land of gentiles – it would become Eretz Yisroel – a Holy land. A land that is visibly illuminated with the light of Torah, which is higher than the world.
And this was begun in the days of Avraham, for that time was the beginning of the “two thousand years of Torah” and “Avraham began to illuminate“ (להאיר) – to illuminate with the G-dly light which is higher than the world.
And his understanding (התבוננות) began – as the Sages state – with an understanding
(a proper understanding – toil – for (according to the maxim) “If someone says, "I have not worked hard and I have been successful," don't believe him)
in the “palace” (בירה) (the world).
And afterwards – in the sun etc., through which abundance etc., comes into the world – until he came to the conclusion that there is a Master to this palace (יש בעה״ב לבירה זו). And ultimately to the understanding that the Master is incomparable to the palace – as the Sages state “this is not the primary aspect of G-d-dliness – that the worlds were created from Him” (לא זה היא עיקר האלקות מה שהעולמות מתהווים ממנו וכוי).
10. In order for the “earth” to be a “receptacle” to the light of Torah of Avraham, which is higher than the world (through which it is transformed and becomes a Eretz Yisroel, a holy land) there first had to be the aspect (toil) of work” (and “toil of speech” ).
Therefore, specifically through that which the inhabitants of the land were “busying themselves with weeding. . with tilling etc. ”namely that there was, there, the aspect of “toil of labor” – it was a preparation, that (after the preface of the request and prayer of Avraham ( “Sicha”): “Would that my portion shall be in this land!”) -that the “land” was given to Avraham, and to “his seed after him” for they transformed it to be a land in which the light of Torah illuminates which is higher than Creation.
M’sichas Yud Shvat 5728, Yud-Alef Nisan 5732
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