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Talmud-Shabbat     Talmud-Bava Basra


(5746) "That you broke it- All strength to you that you broke it (Tal. Shab 87a etc)".

The breaking of the Tablets brought the "double salvation" of the Second Tablets;

The Tablets and the broken Tablets were placed inthe Ark (Tal. Bava Basra 14b) - according to Chassidus  



1. The Sages state, regarding the breaking of the Luchot that this is one of the things that “Moshe did of his own understanding, and the Holy One, blessed be He, gave His approval” – Moshe broke them since he made a kal v’chomer:

“If regarding the Passover sacrifice, which is but one of the six hundred and thirteen precepts, yet the Torah says, there shall no alien eat thereof, the whole Torah (is here), and the Israelites are apostates, how much more so!” And the Holy One, blessed be He, gave His approval as it states: ”which you broke” (אשר שברת) and Reish Lakish interpreted this: “All strength to you that you broke it” (יישר כחך ששיברת).

Rashi explains that the word “since” (אשר /asher) means “concurred/Ishur” (אישור). In other words that G-d concurred and praised him for breaking them” (שאישרו ושיבחו על שבירתן).

On must understand:

The word “Ishur” depicts G-d’s concurrence for the breaking of the Luchot. The word “praise”/shibchu, however, means that the act of breaking of the Luchot is a good and dear aspect (אן ענין טוב וחביב) for which comes praise. What “praise/shvach” is there in the breaking of the Luchot?

One cannot answer that the praise of Moshe for breaking the Luchot is because he undertook it for the honor of the Torah (for he did not want to give to “apostates”) – since on the contrary, the breaking of the Luchot is contrary to the honor of the Torah! One must protect (the honor of) the Torah, that it not fall into the hands of the “apostates” – one must forewarn this by hiding the Luchot, in their completeness, under the mountain (or in an Ark, as was later done with the broken Luchot, and so forth).

2. Another reason for the breaking of the Luchot is stated in the Midrash:

“(To what is this compared? To a king who sent someone to betroth a woman through a middleman. She went and acted inappropriately with another man. The middleman, who was innocent, what did he do? He took the Ketubah which the king gave him to betroth her and tore it). His intention being that it is better she is judged as an unmarried woman than a woman who is married.”

The Luchot were like the Ketubah contract between G-d and the Yidden, and since they “acted inappropriately with another”, therefore “he took the Ketubah . . and tore it”.

According to this it comes out that through the breaking of the Luchot, a goodness (טובה) came out for the Yidden. For through this he protected them from a severe punishment which they would have incurred if they would be judged as a “married woman”. According to this, Moshe’s praise for breaking of the Luchot is understood. For through this he effected the saving of Yisroel.

However, this is not a sufficient answer, because:

(In addition to that which, in order to save Yisroel, there is (seemingly) no necessity to break the Luchot, for it would have been sufficient to just hide them and not give them to the Yidden (the Kallah/betrothed))

from the simple meaning of the expression: “All strength to you that you broke it”, it appears that the ‘concurrence and praise’ is not for the outcome (namely, the good) which came about in another aspect (the saving of Yisroel) – but rather for the breaking of the Luchot, itself.

Even stronger: it is emphasized in many of the commentaries of the Rishonim, who say that the necessity for explaining ”which you broke” (אשר שברת) to mean “All strength to you that you broke it” is learned from that which “because it states (in Parshat Eikev) “you broke them and placed them (in the Ark)” from which one learns that the “broken tablets were placed in the Ark” and “we learn from this that their breaking was dear to Him, for if not, it would not be a Mitzvah to place (and preserve) them in the Ark, for a prosecutor is not in the place of a defender (שאין קטיגור במקום סגיגור))

Therefore it is understood that the reason that the breaking of the Luchot was a desired thing is not just that it brought, at that time, the salvation of the Yidden,

(Especially when this saving, brings up the sin of the Yidden (because of which they required saving) – it is also an aspect of “accusation” (קטיגור))

but rather that the breaking, has within it a constant virtue (and dearness) (א מעלה (וחביבות) תמידית).

3. Plainly one could explain this according to the words of the Midrash that Moshe Rabbeinu was pained over the breaking of the Luchot:

“G-d said to Moshe: ‘do not be upset, for the first Luchot, for they only contained the ten commandments, whereas, with the Second Luchot, I am giving you, they will contain Halachot, Midrash and Aggadot . . sound wisdom is double“ (כִפְלַיִם לְתוּשִׁיָּה)

This is also meaning of the source of the saying: “All strength to you that you broke it”. The praise (and dearness) for the breaking of the Luchot was because of the Luchot themselves. For through this the Second Luchot were given which are higher than the First Luchot (a manifold wisdom/כִפְלַיִם לְתוּשִׁיָּה)”.

And this is also understood from the source of the statement: “All strength to you that you broke it“:

“Reish Lakish said: There are times when the nullification of Torah is the foundation of the Torah (שביטולה של תורה זהו יסודה), for it is written, ‘Which you broke . . All strength to you that you broke it”.

The simple explanation of “nullification of Torah is the foundation of the Torah” is that the “nullification of Torah” itself effects the foundation (and keeping) of Torah

(For if we learn that the “All strength to you that you broke it” is just for the saving of Yisroel – one cannot say that “this is the foundation” of Torah).

In other words, this saying emphasizes that specifically through the breaking of the Luchot, came the “foundation” of Torah – since through it, the giving of the Second Luchot occurred which were a “manifold wisdom”.

(With this is, another question is answered:

Why didn’t the concurrence and praise for the breaking of the Luchot come immediately after the incident of the breaking of the Luchot (as it, seemingly, should have been)? Yet we see that this is first alluded to at the command (forty years later) concerning the Second Luchot (“Hew for yourself . . like the first ones . . which you broke “) – since the virtue and benefit of the breaking of the Luchot first comes apparent at the giving of the Second Luchot which are “manifold wisdom”).

However, this itself requires a reason:

Why did G-d not give to the Yidden “Halachot, Midrash and Aggadot“ immediately in the First Luchot?

From the Midrash it appears that specifically after the breaking of the First Luchot, could there be the aspect of “manifold wisdom”, by the giving of the Second Luchot.

And – if there could have been the “manifold wisdom”, also without the breaking of the First Luchot - how would Moshe’s pain be alleviated?

It is puzzling:

What is the connection between the giving of the Torah in a manner of “manifold wisdom”- “Halachot, Midrash and Aggadot“, specifically with the breaking of the First Luchot?

4. It has been mentioned many times, that a preface and condition (הקדמה ותנאי), in order to enable a Yidden to be a receptacle for G-d’s Torah, is that one should possess the aspect of humbleness and bitul (שפלות וביטול). This is as we say in the prayer “Elokai Netzor” (“May G-d guard”, at the conclusion of the Amidah) “let my soul be as dust to all. Open my heart to Your Torah” (ונפשי כעפר לכל תהי׳ פתח לבי בתורתך). This means that in order to have the opening of the heart to (absorb, accept) (ארייננעמען, אויפנעמען) “Your Torah”, the preface and preparation of this should be with bitul. And not just plain bitul, but rather in a manner of “(let my soul be) as dust to all“.

And as the Talmud states:

“If a person makes himself humble like this wilderness, (which is open to all and) upon which everyone treads, his Torah study will endure”.

It is not sufficient that he feels his lack of ego (העדר תפיסת מקום) regarding G-d (the Giver of Torah) but there must be the feeling of humbleness toward all people (“upon which everyone treads “ ).

For Torah is His Torah, G-d’s wisdom. And just as G-d is infinite (אין סוף) and man’s intellect cannot have any grasp of Him, blessed be He, so too, His wisdom is higher than that which a created being can grasp.

And even though G-d contracted His wisdom into the Torah, which was “lowered” and “enclothed” (״אראפגענידערט״ און זיך ״אנגעטאן״) in the aspects of the Torah which are before us, in a manner that even the intellect of a created being, below, can be able to have an understanding of Torah – nevertheless, indeed, Torah also (remains) G-d’s wisdom, the way it descends here below.

Therefore, in order for a person to truly understand the G-dly wisdom and to “receive” Torah (which is, in essence, higher than the existence of created beings) – one must possess the “let my soul be as dust to all“ – the utter bitul of the entity of the person.

5. And this is the connection between the breaking of the Luchot and the Second Luchot in which were given “Halachot, Midrash and Aggadot“ (the Oral Torah):

One of the aspects in which it is recognizable and felt, that Torah is also here below – G-d’s wisdom - is in the aspect of the Bli Gevul – infinity – which is seen in Torah – as it states: “Longer than the earth is its measure, and wider than the sea“. This Ein Sof/infinity of Torah is (revealed) specifically in the “Oral Torah”.

The Written Torah is specifically with measure and boundary (מדידה והגבלה), no omissions or extras (לא חסר ולא יתיר). Whereas, regarding the Oral Torah, it is the opposite – it must be “to strive in it“ (לאפשה לה). One must innovate in Torah, and in this there is no end and conclusion (ניטא קיין קץ ותכלית).

Therefore the “Halachot, Midrash and Aggadot“ were specifically given after the breaking of the Luchot:

Matan Torah was the time when G-d (in a revealed manner) chose the Jewish people – as it states “You have chosen us from among all nations and tongues “, together with “You have raised us above all tongues”. Therefore it is understood that then, when Yidden were in a condition of “greatness and loftiness“, (רוממות והתנשאות) they were, according to the nature of holiness (טבע דקדושה) – not applicable to a condition of “dust to all”.

Indeed, it is true that the revelation of the Shechinah at Matan Torah, effected a feeling of trembling and bitul (חרדה וביטול). This however, was entirely not “to all” and it came about due to the revelations from Above. The Yidden, of their own accord, while standing in the epitome of elevation and loftiness (as the recipients of the Torah – G-d’s hidden treasure (חמדה גנוזה)) were not applicable to the “let my soul be as dust to all“, “upon which everyone treads“.

And this is what is meant by “All strength to you that you broke it”. For the breaking of the Luchot in a manner of “I will break them before your eyes“, effected within the Yidden, the feeling of humbleness and broken-heartedness (שבירת לב) which made them a proper receptacle to be able the accept the “manifold wisdom” of the Second Luchot – the infinite multitude (ריבוי עד אין סוף) of the Oral Torah.

6. With this one can also understand, the reason why the “Luchot and the broken Luchot are placed in the Ark”. For “Luchot and broken Luchot” are, in their eyes, connected with the two aspects which are demanded (פאדערן זיך) to receive Torah.

The aspect of Luchot depicts how Torah is engraved on stone (חקוקה על האבן). With engraving, the letters are not an additional (צוגעגעבענע) element to the thing on which they are being engraved upon, but rather, the letters are within the material itself – they are a part that is inseparable from the stone upon which they are being engraved.

(Whereas in a sefer Torah, the letters are written with ink on parchment – a thing that is additional to the parchment. Therefore it is possible to remove (erase) the letters from the parchment)

And this alludes to the “wondrous unification” (יחוד נפלא) which is accomplished by Torah study. Namely that the human intellect is enclothed and permeated (אריינגעטאן און ארומגענומען) with G-d’s wisdom and immediately (גלייכצייטיק) takes within him, G-d’s wisdom in a manner that they “actually become one and united from every side and angle“.

And the “broken Luchot” allude to the aspect of bitul, the brokenness (צעבראכנקייט) which is demanded in order to enable the receiving of His Torah, as it states “let my soul be as dust to all“ (and specifically through this, is) “Open my heart to Your Torah”.

7. These two aspects, which are demanded for Torah study, are opposites in their composition:

Torah study demands the entity (מציאות,) – the effect and innovation (די ווירקונג און אויפטו) of the person’s intellect. In general, this is the difference between the observance of Mitzvot and Torah study. The main aspect of the observance of Mitzvot is the (aspect of) “who has sanctified us and commanded us“, namely that a Yid obeys G-d and performs His will with Kaballat Ol Mitzvot (the complete acceptance of Mitzvot). Whereas Torah study cannot be fulfilled with Kaballat Ol itself. There must be understanding and intellect (with regard to the Oral Torah).

With Torah study, it is not sufficient that a Yid believes with complete faith that everything that is stated in Torah is true. Torah study means that he learns the aspect of Torah in such a manner that they are imbued in his intellect (אפלייגן אין זיין שכל). When a Yid learns a question in Torah (א קשיא אין תורה) – the aspect of his question must be difficult to him (שווער ביי אים), from his own reasoning. And the answer of Torah (תירוץ פון תורה) to the question must remove the difficulty in a manner that, in his intellect, the issue is resolved.

And specifically through Torah study in such a manner, is the “wondrous unification” accomplished – that the person’s intellect imbues within it (and also becomes permeated with) the intellect of Torah.

However, on the other hand, in order for the Torah study to be in a manner that his intellect ( = understanding/פארשטאנד) should be directed to the truth of Torah – meaning that in a person’s intellect (of the created being) it should be settled as it is from the perspective of G-d’s wisdom (which is infinitely higher than human intellect, of a created being) - there must be the manifestation of bitul – “as dust to all“, “broken Luchot” . For through this the intellect of the person is raised higher than his limitations and he understands according to G-d’s wisdom.

8. How can there be two opposite motions (תנועות הפכיות) at the same time?

The answer to this is: “the Luchot and the broken Luchot are placed in the Ark”:

Regarding the Ark, the Sages state that the “The place of the Ark is not included in the measurement (of the Holy of Holies)“ (מקום ארון אינו מן המדה). This represents the connection of two opposites at the same time: it is the “place of the Ark” – a place with a real measurement – a measurement dictated by Torah, as it states “Two and a half Amot is its length etc.”. Yet together with this, the place itself is “not included in the measurement“. It is a measure and the absence of measure at the same time! (מדה ואינו מן המדה בבת אתת).

This is because in the Ark (in the Holy of Holies), there was the revelation of G-d’s Essence, where G-d is
 “the One for whom impossibilities are impossible“ (נמנע הנמנעות) and who “bears (transcends) opposites” (נושא הפכים)– as is explained in the Rashba. Therefore, through Him, there can be the connection of two opposites at the same time.

The same applies to the level of the “Ark” in the soul of a person (as is known, it is stated in the sefarim that all the details in the Mishkan (Mikdash) and its vessels, have their counterparts in the soul of the person) – Pnimiyut of the Pnimiyut of the heart, the Yechidah Sheb'Nefesh, the essence of one's soul. (פנימית דפנימית הלב, יחידה שבנפש).

Through the Avodah of the essence of one’s soul (Yechidah Shb’Nefesh) – the “essence to Your Essence - “Yechida l'Yachdoch”/ יחידה לייחדך) (which has illuminated within it the level of Supernal Yachid, - G-d’s Essence) – a Yid can have both opposite motions, in Avodat HaShem, at the same time – the Luchot and the broken Luchot placed in the Ark”. יחידה לייחדך

MSichas Purim 5745

Shabbat Chol HaMo’ed Sukkot 5729

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