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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

based on Ein Ayah, Shabbat 14:6

Light or Darkness

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Gemara: Rav asked: "What is your name?" "Karna." He said: "May it be His will that a keren will come in your eyes."

Ein Ayah: The word keren can mean a ray of light – that is dignified and spiritual. It can also mean a horn, which is very different, a coarse material matter.

Rav wanted to remove the complaint that his coming to Bavel from Eretz Yisrael would lower the eternal connection between the nation and the Land and its sanctity. He was insulted that it was not realized that his goal was only to enlighten the eyes of the Babylonian exile and connect them to the light of Torah. This could purify and elevate all of the spiritual feelings from the impurities that polluted them due to their having left the Torah. If people could improve, they would be prepared for the liberation and return to the Land of the Forefathers, to build it and be built up in it in spiritual grandeur.

Rav used Karna’s name as a mashal – if he will be a beam of light, then when put in his eye, he will act in a clear and pleasant manner. If he will follow the material keren, if put in the eye, it will take away his light and impair his vision.

In a similar vein, Rav needed to leave to the diaspora, as the Babylonian community had become ignorant and forsook the Torah, in regard to study and observance. It was necessary to build up the holy national emotions, which are connected to the material world, the world of the land, and elevate them with light and spirituality. Only then would they be ready for liberation, to leave the land of darkness for the place of light, the Holy Land.
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