Friday, November 17, 2006

sicha vs.dibbur

Tonights chaburah in R’ Tzadok will focus bl”n on the difference between tefillah and Torah. R’ Tzadok notes that tefilah is associated with the word sicha, e.g. in this week’s parsha Chazal darshen "vaYeitzei Yitzchak lasuach basadeh" to mean Yitzchak davened mincha; Torah, however, is associated with dibbur, e.g. divrei Torah. This is not just a semantic point, but tells us about the relative value of each activity – sicha is used for lighter matters, e.g. sichas chulin shel talmidei chachamim, but dibbur indicates serious speech; tefillah is relatively less important that engaging in Talmud Torah (see Kedushas Shabbos for greater elaboration). However, it seems that this yesod is belied by a statement of Chazal from this week’s parsha – yafeh sichasan shel avdei avos yoseir m’torasan shel banim - the conversation of Eliezer is recorded in elaborate detail, demonstrating its superior value to the halachos of Torah which are not spelled out, but must be derived from minute details of sparsely worded text. How indeed can it be true that the value of Eliezer's common speech outweighs the value of Torah, even if it is torasan shel banim? If you’re curious and live in the 5T, chaburah tonight at 7:30 bl”n, 26 Columbia.


  1. Bill Selliger11:29 AM

    The Rogotchover is quoted as saying:

    When I daven, I speak to Hashem. When I learn, He speaks to me.

  2. Rav Soloveitchik made the same chiluk, but his dichotomy was tefillah vs. nevuah.
    When you learn Torah, aren't you trying through your mental effort to engage in reaching Hashem? Learning is not a passive quietude of receiving Hashem's wisdom, but requires great efforts of thinking, no?

  3. Bill Selliger12:24 PM

    This is the classic Nefesh Hachaim (beginning of Shaar 4)...don't tell me that that needs to go on the Chanuka list too! :)

  4. It seems to me that although there are the yud gimmel middos she'hatorah nidreshes for halacha, when it comes to mussar and derech eretz, everything has to be spelled out, and you can't extrapolate. Derech eretz and mussar have to be seen and experienced, not analyzed and interpreted. Yofeh does not necessarily mean beautiful, it can mean laid out clearly.

  5. yehuda11:20 AM

    Barzilai-If I understand you correctly Rav Ahron Kotler explains this parsha the same way as you.(MR'A 1 pg.138)

  6. HarmonicJew1:14 PM

    I actually ws in the 5t this Shabbos...and had a Tish w/ Rav i missed the Chaburah.

    ....So can you give us a recap about what was said?

  7. Thank you again, Yehuda. Good citation.

  8. So no one brought up sicha in the context of Pirkei Avos