Thursday, October 13, 2016

ya'arof ka'matar likchi

“Ya’arof ka’matar likchi” – Chazal darshen from the word “ya’arof” that Torah is mechapeir even on murder, just like eglah arufah. The kapparah of Torah goes above and beyond what can be accomplished by tefilah, by korbanos, but anything else. How does that work? The gemara (Sukkah 42) darshens “u’lekachtem lachem” that the mitzvah of netilas lulav is accomplished by picking up the lulav. Torah, says the Shem m’Shmuel, is called “likchi.” It picks a person up. Other means of kapparah work by trying to push away and eliminate the contamination of aveiros, like trying to clean the dirty stains off one’s garments. The kapparah of Torah is like picking onself up and out of those old garments and putting on something completely new and unsoiled.

K’se’irim aley desheh v’k’revivim alei eisev” – “Se’irim” is a storm; "revivim" is the morning dew. Rashi says “desheh” refers to vegetation as a whole; “eisev” is the individual blade of grass. It’s not the same Torah, the same “likchi,” for everyone. For some people, Torah is like a hurricane. Other people can’t take that. They need Torah to fall gently, like the morning dew. There is the Torah that applies to the “desheh,” the community, and there is the Torah of each “eisev,” each blade of grass with its own needs.

How is the Torah like dew?   R’ Simcha Bunim m’Peshischa explained that when the dew falls, it has no noticeable effect on the plant. It’s only later, after time, that its effect is felt.  You can't open a sefer and expect a magic transformation to occur.  It takes time, but the growth will happen.

Final point -- a question: Ramban writes that Parshas Ha'azinu speaks of ultimate redemption with no conditions, no prequalifications -- it's going to happen, take it to the bank.  Yet the gemara (Sanhedrin 96) quotes R' Eliezer's view that geulah will happen only if Klal Yisrael does teshuvah.  R' Yehoshua disagrees only to the extent that he holds teshuvah itself is inevitable.  If Klal Yisrael doesn't do teshuvah of our own accord, then Hashem will cause us to be subjected to the decrees of an evil king Obama and that motivate us to do teshuvah.  Either way, it seems teshuvah is a prerequisite for geulah.  How does this fit with the Ramban?


  1. Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveichik said that our belief in the coming of Moshiach is a belief in Klal Yisrael's ability to do Teshuva. See Al Hateshuva

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  3. The idea that Torah is experienced differently by different receivers, which you say in desheh/eisev, is used by the Seforno to explain the difference between tal and mattar-
    יערוף כמטר לקחי הנה תורתי היא תערוף ותבא בשטף כמטר למבינים המוכנים לקבל מבוע מקור חכמה תזל כטל אמרתי ונותנת גם כן כפי הנגלה ממנה איזו ידיעה להדיוטות שעם היותה מועטת היא טובה מאד כטל
    Reb Dovid Goldberg of Telz Cleveland in his Shiras Dovid brings a Radvaz (tshuvos III 1,068) that was asked why not put the nekudos and trop into the sefer and make life easier for us. He says that the words of the Torah of the Malachim were unseparated and subject to infinite permutations of meaning, while ours is limited to one particular Torah. Reb Dovid says that this is the difference between a Torah of Mattar, which is the etzem lekach of Torah and our Torah of Tal which is what Hashem said to us.