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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

One Who Forgot Torah

Various Rabbis13 SHEVAT 5769
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Be careful with a scholar who unwillingly forgot his Torah knowledge, for the luchot (tablets given to Moshe) and the broken luchot are [both] placed in the aron (ark).

Ein Ayah: This teaches us that since the goal of wisdom is doing good deeds, a scholar who was involved in Torah study and acquired knowledge all his life has acquisitions of justice and straightness. Although he forgot his Torah scholarship, only the details have been lost. The all-inclusive pure concepts that filled his spirit from the great knowledge and study is not forgotten. This resembles something that a person cannot capture in words, yet the inner spirit recognizes the truth of the straight pleasantness according to its value in Torah and fear of Hashem.

Far-reaching Steps to Avoid Danger to the Community
(based on Berachot 1:107)

Do not sit on an Aramite’s couch. ...some say that it is literally on an Aramite’s bed, as is illustrated by the story of Rav Pappa. Rav Pappa went to an Aramite’s house. They took out a couch to sit on, and the woman said to him, "Sit." He responded: "I will not sit until you lift the couch." She lifted it, and they found a dead baby underneath. From here the Rabbis said that it is forbidden to sit on an Aramite’s couch.

Ein Ayah: Although it is not usually good to be worried about far-fetched dangers, each danger must be estimated according to its context. A libel against Rav Pappa would not have ended with him but, Heaven forbid, would have caused fury against the whole community. Therefore, this story should serve as a reminder for generations so that every Jew knows to realize his great obligation to avoid damage to the community in the way he lives. He should consider non-Jews’ hatred and plots and distance himself from anything that resembles the unseemly in his interaction with gentiles, so as not to aid those who want to devise evil plots. It should be all the more clear that he should not actually be guilty of wronging gentiles. In addition to the intrinsic prohibition to do so, he damages the lives of the community, who may be blamed for an individual’s sin, which can unfortunately happen until Hashem will have mercy on us [and bring mashiach].

Not Distancing Oneself From the Community
(based on Berachot 1:108)


Do not pass behind a synagogue at a time that the congregation is praying.

Ein Ayah: This is because separating oneself from the ways of the congregation destroys, Heaven forbid, the nation’s foundations. It is thus proper that those who separate themselves from the community are among those who lose their place in the world to come. The matter of separation is especially prominent in the realm of service of Hashem. When one is disjoint from the community’s service, the spirit of sanctity that enters the hearts of Hashem’s nation as a whole will not enter his heart. Slowly but surely his heart and soul become distant from the Jewish holy qualities, causing bad for him and his offspring by separating them from the nation. When the number of people who do this multiplies, a "‘bald patch" develops in Israel, and the House of Israel becomes fractured and broken into splinters. Therefore, it is worthwhile to stay far away from anything that displays that he does not care to be part of the community regarding service of Hashem, even if that is not his intention. This is because the seriousness of the matter and the negative outcomes that can result are severe enough to distance oneself from it. That is why one must not pass behind a synagogue at the time the congregation is praying.
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