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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

A Tzaddik Not Being Influenced by a Rasha

Various Rabbis 8 IYAR 5769
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Gemara :
[The Shunamit said about Elisha:] "... he is holy" (Melachim II, 4:9) [from which we can infer that] his attendant [Geichazi] is not holy.


Ein Ayah: As long as one is not powerful in his shleimut (completeness), he is liable to be influenced by negative things that occur around him. Therefore, the companionship of a destructive person can damage him and take away from his level of shleimut. However, Elisha’s level was lofty and strong, to the extent that he did not sense at all Geichazi’s moral shortcomings, even though Geichazi was close to him and served him on an ongoing manner. This continued until the time that Hashem put a stumbling block before Geichazi, regarding the story with Na’aman, in order to reveal his disgrace and separate him from the tzaddik.
This gives a wonderful view of the power of Elisha’s righteousness and shleimut. For if he could have been lowered even slightly in his level by being close to the rasha, he certainly would have felt it and separated himself from Geichazi. However, his great level caused that he could not have any light or sanctity taken away from him due to the association, and so he did not feel Geichazi’s flaws. Another possibility is that he knew of his shortcomings but thought that he could bring Geichazi to repent, in which case, his talents, which were apparently good, would be a blessing. In any case, the fact that Elisha was not affected by Geichazi is a testament to his extremely high level.

A Tzaddik Not Noticing Wicked Actions
(based on Ein Ayah, Berachot 1:150)

Gemara :
"[Geichazi] came forward to push her away" (Melachim II, 4:27). Rabbi Yossi, the son of Rabbi Chanina, said: this teaches that he grabbed on to the grandeur of her beauty (based on a play of the Hebrew words for pushing, grandeur, and beauty).


Ein Ayah: Through the negative behavior of the rasha we can see the praise of the tzaddik and the power of the sanctity of his spirit and his lofty clinging to deliberation about the Divine, without turning even for a moment to other things. Only in this way can we explain that Geichazi, the rasha, would be confident that he could get away with doing an indecent, promiscuous act in Elisha’s presence. It must be that, through his familiarity with Elisha by experience, he knew that because his lofty spirit was involved only in higher things, Elisha would be unaware of the unsightly things that were going on in his presence. This is because his eyes and heart were focused on important intellectual thoughts to which his generous spirit was connected.

[It is interesting what Rav Kook would have responded to what respectful critics of his connection to Jews who did not keep all the Torah and mitzvot had to say about him. They said that Rav Kook was such a great tzaddik that he was unable to pick up on the problematic nature of some of his acquaintances. Interestingly, this is similar to what Rav Kook had to say about Elisha, for whom Rav Kook saw the matter as a compliment. Presumably, Rav Kook would have said that he was not on Elisha’s level and that he was aware of the problems with some of the people that the times made it necessary and fruitful to interact with.]
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