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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 11:17

Internal Goodness; External Negativity

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Gemara: The attribute of good (i.e., the divine decision to provide something positive to His creation) comes faster than the attribute of harshness (puranut - the divine decision to do something harsh to a creation). We know this because the pasuk says in regard to calamity, "[Moshe took [his hand] out, and behold his hand was full of leprosy like [the color] of snow" (Shemot 4:6). In contrast, regarding the decree of good, the pasuk says: "He removed it from his chest, and indeed it had returned to [normal] flesh" (ibid. 7) – meaning that from the time it was in his chest, it was already like his flesh.

Ein Ayah: Goodness is the foundation of existence. The attribute of good is the goal of existence as a whole, and it is one with the root of life, of the source of life and goodness (i.e., Hashem). Therefore, it stands beyond the limitations of time and place. Even when a good decree is "lowered" into events that pertain to time and place, the impression of their natural state remains, and therefore it comes quickly.

In contrast, regarding harshness, its existence in the world is as a passing necessary evil, and its purpose is to serve to promote the ultimate good. It "polishes" the people’s ability to receive goodness in its fullest force. This being the nature of harshness, all time and place limitations apply to it.

In a similar vein, another distinction is that goodness is itself internally connected to existence and to life, whereas harshness is only external, impacting on the external elements of life. Included in the external are those things that can be seen by people, which is what the recipients are impacted by. So, if a person has gone down in level and is connected to the world of images, he will be impacted on that external level by manifestations of harshness.

Due to the above, a decree of something positive comes more quickly than something harsh. The light of freedom is beyond time. Every matter of value that is limited experiences a phenomenon which the navi saw as: "the [heavenly] beasts went this way and that way like a flash of light" (Yechezkel 1:14).

Moshe experienced his gentle and his harsh treatment by Hashem at the time when he was first finding out the truth about the Light of Israel. He learned how awesome the eternal values are, to the point that no external descriptive elements could separate him from these truths. At this time, he received a prophetic message that the external element of harshness is lower than the internal element of goodness, in the following manner. When he received leprosy, there was no need for it to begin before he took out his hand and was able to perceive it. There was not an internal purpose for the leprosy, but an external one [so that he could learn from the need for it]. In contrast, when the leprosy was healed, which was a matter of goodness, there was an innate preference for the healing to come as quickly as possible, even when his hand was in his chest. The innate connection with the root of existence, beyond the pressures of time and place, came quickly.

"The kindness of Hashem is present all day" (Tehillim 48:15). "Like the light of morning the sun will shine" (Shmuel II, 23:4). Avraham displayed the epitome of positive quickness, as "he woke up early in the morning" to bring Yitzchak to the akeida (Bereishit 22:3). This is also a trait of Hashem, who looks for the opportunity to bring the ultimate liberation "at its time, quickly" (see Yeshayahu 60:22).
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