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פרקי  אבות
Ethics of the Fathers


בעה"י


Page Last Revised: Friday, April 28, 2006 01:20 PM

כרם מזקל
Chateau Mescal

עוד דברי תורה
Other Divrei Torah

פרק ו
Chapter 6

פרק ה
Chapter 5

פרק ד
Chapter 4

פרק ג
Chapter 3

פרק ב
Chapter 2

פרק א
Chapter 1

 

Chapter 5

פרק חמישי

All Israel has a share in the World to Come, as it is said: 'And your people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever; they are a branch of My planting, My handiwork, in which to take pride."

כל ישראל יש להם חלק לעולם הבא. שנאמר, ועמך כולם צדיקים, לעולם יירשו ארץ, נצר מטעי, מעשה ידי להתפאר.

1. With ten utterances the world was created. What does this come to teach us? Indeed, could it not have been created with one utterance? This was to exact punishment from the wicked who destroy the world that was created with ten utterances, and to bestow goodly reward upon the righteous who sustain the world that was created by ten utterances.

א. בעשרה מאמרות נברא העולם: ומה תלמוד לומר? והלא במאמר אחד יכול להבראות, אלא להפרע מן-הרשעים שמאבדים את-העולם שנברא בעשרה מאמרות, ולתן שכר טוב לצדיקים שמקימין את-העולם שנברא בעשרה מאמרות.

2. There were ten generations. from Adam to Noah — to show the degree of His patience; for all those generations angered Him increasingly, until He brought upon them the waters of the Flood.

ב. עשרה דורות מאדם ועד נוח, להודיע כמה ארך אפים לפניו, שכל-הדורות היו מכעיסים לפניו עד שהביא עליהם את-מי המבול.

3. There were ten generations from Noah to Abraham — to show the degree of His patience; for all those generations angered Him increasingly, until our forefather Abraham came and received the reward of them all.

ג. עשרה דורות מנוח ועד אברהם, להודיע כמה ארך אפים לפניו, שכל-הדורות היו מכעיסים לפניו עד שבא אברהם אבינו וקבל (עליו) שכר כלם.

4. Our forefather Abraham was tested with ten trials, and he withstood them all — to show the degree of our forefather Abraham's love for God.

ד. עשרה נסיונות נתנסה אברהם אבינו ועמד בכלם, להודיע כמה חבתו של-אברהם אבינו.

5. Ten miracles were performed for our ancestors in Egypt and ten at the Sea.

ה. עשרה נסים נעשו לאבותינו במצרים, ועשרה על הים.

6. Ten plagues did the Holy One, Blessed is He, bring upon the Egyptians in Egypt and ten at the Sea.

ו. עשר מכות הביא הקדוש ברוך הוא על המצריים במצרים ועשר על הים.

7. With ten trials did our ancestors test the Holy One, Blessed is He, in the Wilderness, as it is said: 'They have tested Me these ten times and did not heed My voice."

ז. עשרה נסיונות נסו אבותינו את-הקדוש ברוך הוא במדבר, שנאמר וינסו אתי זה עשר פעמים ולא שמעו בקולי.

R' Shimshon Raphael Hirsch comments: These repeated incidents of doubt and mutiny against the Will of God which marked the wanderings of our fathers in the wilderness are certainly ample proof for him who desires it that, contrary to what many would like to have themselves and others believe, the Torah did not originate with the Jewish people.  Unlike all other codes of religious law, the Jewish "religion" and the Jewish law did not originate and emanate from within the people but were handed to it from without, thus of metaphysical origin, and proceeded to establish its Divine power in the ultimate conquest of the people. These people was to undergo an unparalleled martyrdom of many centuries for the very law against which it had resisted so stubbornly in the beginning.  Similarly, the repeated instances of doubt are, in fact, a truly valid guarantee for the factual truth of the Divine Revelation and the Divine Miracles which accompanied the creation of our people and which we proclaimed to mankind. They demonstrate that the generation which partook of this Divine revelation and guidance was not composed of naive and credulous men who were ready to subscribe unconditionally to these new and unprecedented phenomena and events. This was --- as they are described by Chazal -- a דור דעה, a "sophisticated" generation which recognized and acknowledged the revealed demonstrations of Divinity only after repeated trials. Thus, in the end, it was not on the basis of "conventional belief" but with the "conviction and knowledge" based on the truth that they were ready to fight for and defend that which they had recognized to be the essence of their very existence.
8. Ten miracles were performed for our ancestors in the Holy Temple: No woman miscarried because of the aroma of the sacrificial meat; the sacrificial meat never became putrid; no fly was seen in the place where the meat was butchered; no seminal emission occurred to the High Priest on Yom Kippur; the rains did not extinguish the fire on the altar-pyre; the wind did not disperse the vertical column of smoke from the altar; no disqualification was found in the Omer, or in the Two Loaves, or in the Showbread; the people stood crowded together, yet prostrated themselves in ample space; neither serpent nor scorpion ever caused injury in Jerusalem; nor did any man say to his fellow, 'The space is insufficient for me to stay overnight in Jerusalem.'

ח. עשרה נסים נעשו לאבותינו בבית המקדש: לא הפילה אשה מריח בשר הקדש, ולא הסריח בשר הקדש מעולם, ולא נראה זבוב בבית המטבחים, ולא אירע קרי לכהן גדול ביום הכפרים, ולא כבו הגשמים אש של-עצי המערכה, ולא נצחה הרוח את-עמוד העשן, ולא נמצא פסול בעמר ובשתי הלחם ובלחם הפנים, עמדים צפופים ומשתחוים רוחים, ולא הזיק נחש ועקרבה בירושלים מעולם, ולא אמר אדם לחברו צר לי המקום שאלין בירושלים.

9. Ten things were created on Sabbath eve, at twilight. They are: The mouth of the earth; the mouth of the well; the mouth of the donkey; the rainbow [which was Noah's sign that there would be no future floods]; the manna; the staff; the shamir worm; the script; the inscription; and the Tablets. Some say also destructive spirits, Moses' grave, and the ram of our forefather Abraham.

ט. עשרה דברים נבראו בערב שבת בין השמשות ואלו הן: פי הארץ, פי הבאר, פי האתון, הקשת, והמן ,והמטה, והשמיר, הכתב, והמכתב, והלחות. ויש אומרים אף המזיקין, וקבורתו של-משה, ואילו של-אברהם אבינו. ויש אומרים אף צבת בצבת עשויה.

10. Seven traits characterize an uncultivated person and seven a learned one. A learned person does not begin speaking before one who is greater than he in wisdom or in years; he does not interrupt the words of his fellow; he does not answer impetuously; he questions with relevance to the subject and he replies accurately; he discusses first things first and last things last; about something he has not heard he says, 'I have not heard'; and he acknowledges the truth. And the reverse of these characterize an uncultivated person.

י. שבעה דברים בגלם, ושבעה בחכם: חכם אינו מדבר לפני מי שגדול ממנו בחכמה ובמנין. ואינו נכנס לתוך דברי חברו .ואינו נבהל להשיב. שואל כענין ומשיב כהלכה. ואמר על-ראשון ראשון, ועל-אחרון אחרון. ועל מה-שלא שמע, אומר לא שמעתי. ומודה על-האמת, וחלופיהן בגלם.

11. Seven kinds of punishment come to the world for seven kinds of transgressions. (a) If some people tithe and others do not, a famine caused by lack of rain ensues, some go hungry and others are satisfied; (b) if all decided not to tithe, general famine caused by both armed bands and drought ensues; and (c) [if they also decided] not to separate the challah, a famine caused by destructive drought ensues; (d) pestilence comes to the world for the death penalties prescribed by the Torah that were not carried out by the court, and for illegally using the fruits of the Sabbatical year; (e) the sword of war comes to the world for the delay of justice, for the perversion of justice and for interpreting the Torah decision in opposition to the halachah; (f) wild beasts come upon the world for vain oaths and for Desecration of God's Name; (g) exile comes to the world for idolatry, for immorality, for bloodshed, and for working the earth during the Sabbatical year.

יא. שבעה מיני פורעניות באין לעולם על-שבעה גופי עברה: מקצתן מעשרין ומקצתן אינן מעשרין, רעב של-בצרת בה, מקצתן רעבים ומקצתן שבעים. גמרו שלא לעשר, רעב של מהומה ושל-בצרת בה. ושלא לטול את-החלה, רעב של-כליה בא. דבר בא לעולם על-מיתות האמורות בתורה שלא נמסרו לבית דין, ועל פרות שביעית. חרב באה לעולם על-ענוי הדין, ועל-עוות הדין, ועל-המורים בתורה שלא כהלכה. חיה רעה באה לעולם על-שבועת שוא, ועל-חלול השם. גלות באה לעולם על-עובדי אלילים, ועל-גלוי עריות, ועל-שפיכות דמים, ועל-שמטת הארץ.

12. At four periods [of the seven-year Sabbatical cycle] pestilence increases — in the fourth year, in the seventh year, in the year following the Sabbatical year, and annually following the Succos festival. In the fourth year, for [neglecting] the tithe of the poor in the third; in the seventh year, for [neglecting] the tithe of the poor in the sixth; in the year following the Sabbatical year, for [violating the laws of] the Sabbatical produce; annually, at 'the conclusion of the festival of Succos, for robbing the poor of their gifts.

יב. בארבעה פרקים הדבר מתרבה: ברביעית ובשביעית ובמוצאי שביעית ובמוצאי החג שבכל-שנה ושנה. ברביעית מפני מעשר עני שבשלישית, בשביעית מפני מעשר עני שבששית, במוצאי שביעית מפני פרות שביעית, במוצאי החג שבכל-שנה ושנה מפני גזל מתנות עניים.

13. There are four character types among people: (a) One who says, 'my property is mine and yours is yours,' is an average character type, but some say this is characteristic of Sodom; (b) 'Mine is yours and yours is mine,' is an unlearned person; (c) 'Mine is yours and yours is yours,' is scrupulously pious; (d) 'Yours is mine and mine is mine,' is wicked.

יג. ארבה מדות באדם: האומר שלי שלי ושלך שלך, זו מדה בינונית. ויש אומרים זו מדת סדום. שלי שלך ושלך שלי, עם הארץ. שלי (שלך) ושלך שלך חסיד. שלך (שלי) ושלי שלי רשע.

14. There are four types of temperament: (a) One who is angered easily and pacified easily, his gain is offset by his loss; (b) one who is hard to anger and hard to pacify, his loss is offset by his gain; (c) one who is hard to anger and easy to pacify is pious; (d) one who is easily angered and hard to pacify is wicked.

יד. ארבע מדות בדעות: נוח לכעוס ונוח לרצות, יצא הפסדו בשכרו. קשה לכעוס וקשה לרצות, יצא שכרו בהפסדו. קשה לכעוס ונוח לרצות, חסיד. נוח לכעוס וקשה לרצות, רשע.

15. There are four types of students: (a) One who grasps quickly and forgets quickly, his gain is offset by his loss; (b) one who grasps slowly and forgets slowly, his loss is offset by his gain; (c) one who grasps quickly and forgets slowly, this is a good portion; (d) one who grasps slowly and forgets quickly, this is a bad portion.

טו. ארבע מדות בתלמידים: מהיר לשמוע ומהיר לאבד, יצא שכרו בהפסדו. קשה לשמוע וקשה לאבד, יצא הפסדו בשכרו. מהיר לשמוע וקשה לאבד, זו חלק טוב. קשה לשמוע ומהיר לאבד, זו חלק רע.

16. There are four types of donors to charity: (a) One who wishes to give himself but wants others not to give, he begrudges others; (b) that others should give but that he should not give, he begrudges himself; (c) that he should give and that others should give is pious; (d) that he should not give and that others should not give is wicked.

טז. ארבע מדות בנותני צדקה: הרוצה שיתן ולא יתנו אחרים, עינו רעה בשל-אחרים. יתנו אחרים והוא לא יתן, עינו רעה בשלו. יתן ויתנו אחרים, חסיד. לא יתן ולא יתנו אחרים, רשע.

17. There are four types among those who go to the house of study: (a) One who goes but does not study, has the reward for going; (b) one who studies [at home] but does not attend [the house of study], has the reward for accomplishment; (c) one who goes and studies is pious; (d) one who does not go and does not study is wicked.

יז. ארבע מדות בהולכי בית המדרש: חולך ואינו עשה, שכר הליכה בידו. עשה ואינו הולך, שכר מעשה בידו. הולך ועשה, חסיד. לא הולך ולא עשה רשה.

18. There are four types among students who sit before the sages: A sponge, a funnel, a strainer and a sieve: a sponge, which absorbs everything; a funnel, which lets in from one end and lets out from the other; a strainer, which lets the wine flow through and retains the sediment; and a sieve, which allows the flour dust to pass through and retains the fine flour.

יח. ארבע מדות ביושבים לפני חכמים: ספוג ומשפך משמרת ונפה. ספוג שהוא סופג את-הכל, ומשפך שמכניס בזו ומוציא בזו, משמרת שמוציאה את-היין וקולטת את-השמרים, ונפה שמוציאה את-הקמח וקולטת את-הסולת.

19. Any love that depends on a specific cause, when that cause is gone, the love is gone; but if it does not depend on a specific cause, it will never cease. What sort of love depended upon a specific cause? The love of Amnon for Tamar. And what did not depend upon a specific cause? The love of David and Jonathan.

יט. כל-אהבה שהיא-תלויה בדבר, בטל דבר בטלה אהבה. ושאינו תלויה בדבר, אינה בטלה לאולם. איזו היא אהבה שהיא-תלויה בדבר? זו אהבת אמנון ותמר. ושאינה תלויה בדבר? זו אהבת דוד ויהונתן.

20. Any dispute that is for the sake of Heaven will have a constructive outcome; but one that is not for the sake of Heaven will not have a constructive outcome. What sort of dispute was for the sake of Heaven? The dispute between Hillel and Shammai. And which was not for the sake of Heaven? The dispute of Korach and his entire company.

כ. כל-מחלקת שהיא לשם שמים, סופה להתקים. ושאינה לשם שמים, אין סופה להתקים. איזו היא מחלקת שהיא לשם שמים? זו מחלקת הלל ושמאי. ושאינה לשם שמים? זו מחלוקת קורח וכל-עדתו.

21. Whoever influences the masses to become meritorious shall not be the cause of sin; but one who influences the masses to sin will not be given the means to repent. Moses was meritorious and influenced the masses to be meritorious, so the merit of the masses was to his credit, as it is said: 'He performed the righteousness of HASHEM, and His laws together with Israel. " Jeroboam ben Nebat sinned and caused the masses to sin, so the sin of the masses is charged against him, as it is said: 'For the sins of Jeroboam which he committed and which he caused Israel to commit.'

כא. כל-המזכה את-הרבים, אין חטא בא על-ידו. וכל-המחטיא את-הרבים, אין-משפיקין בידו לעשות תשובה. משה זכה וזכה את-הרבים. זכות הרבים תלוי בו, שנאמר "צדקת יי עשה, ומשפטיו עם-ישראל". ירבעם בן-נבט חטא וחחטיא את-הרבים. חטא הרבים תלוי בו, שנאמר "על-חטאות ירבעם אשר חטא ואשר החטיא את-ישראל.

22. Whoever has the following three traits is among the disciples of our forefather Abraham; and [whoever has] three different traits is among the disciples of the wicked Balaam. Those who have a good eye, a humble spirit, and a meek soul are among the disciples of our forefather Abraham. Those who have an evil eye, an arrogant spirit, and a greedy soul are among the disciples of the wicked Balaam. How are the disciples of our forefather Abraham different from the disciples of the wicked Balaam? The disciples of our forefather Abraham enjoy [the fruits of their good deeds] in this world and inherit the World to Come, as is said: 'To cause those who love Me to inherit an everlasting possession [the World to Come], and I will fill their storehouses [in this world'. But the disciples of the wicked Balaam inherit Gehinnom and descend into the well of destruction, as is said: 'And You, O God, shall lower them into the well of destruction, men of bloodshed and deceit shall not live out half their days; but as for me, I will trust in YOU.'

כב. כל-מי שיש-בו שלשה דברים הללו הוא מתלמידיו של-אברהם אבינו, ושלשה דברים אחרים הוא מתלמידיו של-בלעם הרשע. עין טובה ורוח נמוכה ונפש שפלה מתלמידיו של-אברהם אבינו. עין רעה ורוח גבוהה ונפש רחבה מתלמידיו של-בלעם הרשע. מה בין תלמידיו של-אברהם אבינו לתלמידיו של-בלעם הרשע? תלמידיו של-אברהם אבינו אכלים בעולם הזה ונוחלין העולם הבא, שנאמר "להנחיל אהבי יש ואוצרתיהם אמלא". תלמידיו של-בלעם הרשע יורשין גי-הנם ויורדין לבאר שחת, שנאמר "ואתה אלהים תורדם לבאר שחת, אנשי דמים ומרמה, לא-יחצו ימיהם, ואני אבטח-בך".

23. Yehudah ben Tema said: Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion, to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven.

כג. יהודה בן-תימא אומר: הוה עז כנמר וקל כנשר, רץ כצבי וגבור כארי, לעשות רצון אביך שבמים.

24. He used to say: The brazen goes to Gehinnom, but the shamefaced goes to the Garden of Eden. May it be Your will, HASHEM, our God and the God of our forefathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days, and grant us our share in Your Torah.

כד. הוא היה אומר: עז פנים לג-הנם, ובושת פנים לגן עדן. יהי רצון מלפניך יי אלהנו ואלהי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך.

25. He used to say: A five-year-old begins Scripture; a ten-year-old begins Mishnah; a thirteen-year-old becomes obliged to observe the commandments; a fifteen-year-old begins the study of Gemara; an eighteen-year-old goes to the marriage canopy; a twenty-year-old begins pursuit [of a livelihood]; a thirty-year-old attains full strength; a forty-year-old attains understanding; a fifty-year-old can offer counsel; a sixty year-old attains seniority; a seventy-year-old attains a ripe old age; an eighty-year-old shows strength; a ninety-year-old becomes stooped over; a hundred-year-old is as if he were dead, passed away and ceased from the world.

כה. הוא היה אומר: בן-חמש שנים למקרא, בן-עשר שנים למשנה, בן-שלש עשרה למצות, בן-חמש עשרה לתלמוד, בן-שמנה עשרה לחפה, בן-עשרים לרדוף, בן-שלשים לכח, בן-ארבעים לבינה, בן-חמשים לעצה, בן-ששים לזקנה, בן-שבעים לשיבה, בן-שמונים לגבורה, בן-תשעים לשוח, בן-מאה כאלו מת ועבר ובטל מן העולם.

Rashi states: forty-years-old: to understand a matter in depth and to teach according to halacha. Another explanation: for understanding, as it is written [Deut. 29:6]: "And Hashem did not give them heart to understand and eyes to see and ears to hear until this very day. From this [we learn that] a student does not achieve the knowledge of his teacher until he [reaches] the age of forty.

R' Shimshon Raphael Hirsch comments, 'If, as specified in this passage, a boy, by the time he has reached the age of fifteen, has behind him ten years of Mikra (Bible study), and five years of Mishna, he should have become so familiar with the basic truths of Judaism and with the fundamental concepts and requirements of our Law that it should be an easy thing for him to make the transition to the commentaries, reasonings and inferences contained in the Gemarah, the work that "completes" the Torah. After five years spent in the study of the Mishna, no subject contained in the Gemarah should be foreign to the young scholar; by this time he should be able to follow all the debates in the Gemarah with full comprehension and grasp their conclusions with ease. Ah, when shall we see the day when our young people will once again tread the path to spiritual and mental development in accordance with the teaching left us by our wise "fathers"!'

IF [the average] someone begins studying Torah at age five, Mishna at age ten, and Gemara at age 15, AND continues studying them daily, he will not attain understanding until age 40. All the more so, we of this generation, who do not begin the study of these essential background subjects until later years, and do not have the time to study them thoroughly, and lack teachers with the in-depth understanding of our forefathers.

 
26. Ben Bag Bag says: Delve in it [the Torah] and continue to delve in it [the Torah] for everything is in it; look deeply into it; grow old and gray over it, and do not stir from it, for you can have no better portion than it. Ben Hei Hei says: The reward is in proportion to the exertion.

כו. בן-בג בג אומר: הפך-בה והפך-בה, דכלא-בה, ובה תחזא וסיב ובלה בה, ומנה לא תזוע, שאין לך מדה טובה הימנה. בן-הא הא אומר: לפם צערה אגרא.

Rabbi Chanania ben Akashia says: The Holy One, Blessed is He, wished to confer merit upon Israel; therefore He gave them Torah and mitzvos in abundance, as it is said: 'HASHEM desired, for the sake of its (Israel's] righteousness, that the Torah be made great and glorious.

רבי חנניא בן-עקשיא אומר, רצה הקדוש ברוך הוא לזכות את-ישראל. לפיכף הרבה להם תורה ומצוות. שנאמר, יי חפץ למען צדקו, יגדל תורה ויאדיר.

 

כרם מזקל
Chateau Mescal

עוד דברי תורה
Other Divrei Torah

פרק ו
Chapter 6

פרק ה
Chapter 5

פרק ד
Chapter 4

פרק ג
Chapter 3

פרק ב
Chapter 2

פרק א
Chapter 1