Sunday, October 09, 2011

hevel pi'hem untainted by sin

Chazal tell us (Shabbos 119b) that the world exists for the sake of "Hevel shel tinokos shel beis rabban," the Torah study of the young. Rav Pappa asked Abaye, "But what about our learning?" Abaye answered that words from the mouths of those untainted by sin [i.e. children] is superior to words from the mouths of those tainted by sin.

The Kozhiglover Rav, Rosh Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin before WWII, writes that the Torah learned in these few days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos is even more precious than the Torah learned at any other time during the year. The Midrash writes that Sukkos is, "Rishon l'cheshbon avonos," the beginning of a new count of aveiros for the new year (see his hesber of what this means). Until then, we have a completely clean slate. The merit of our learning is more than equivalent to the untainted hevel pihem of tinokos shel beis rabban because not only are we also untainted by cheit, but we have the additional zechus of being metzuveh v'oseh.

There is a lot to do this week: a sukkah to build, lulav and esrog to buy, helping the wife with the shopping and cleaning. Still, it's critical to try if at all possible to squeeze in some extra learning to make these days count.


  1. Anonymous2:47 AM

    though there be nothing more
    precious than innocence, there is
    something more blessed: the least recovery of innocence
    (not sinlessness; innocence)

    >>> metzuveh >>> v'oseh

    but aren't tinokos at the base of the chain-of-command (Hashem at the top; parents & teachers in between)?
    'freely willed' "oseh" marks the difference, to the extent that it's harder for children to resist or to avoid overarching control (or to go their own way)-- the PTA plainly appears to kids, while Hashem 'hides' from adults

  2. I like a good vort about Hevel pihem shel Tashbar. Something about Havolim that appeals to me.