Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yoma 35 Yosef Hatzadik

The Gemora states that Hillel obligates the poor people to learn torah, Rebbe Elozar obligates the rich and Yosef Hatzadik obligates the reshoim for each one of them had an excuse and didn't use it. The question is asked - while it is true that Yosef conquered his evil inclination, where do we find that Yosef learned Torah? Rav Meir Bergman answers (based on the post above) according to the words of the Mesillas Yesharim - the only cure to combat the yetzer hora is Torah and since we find that Yosef was victorious in his battle, he obviously learned Torah.

I once said this over on a Shabbos morning drasha and someone asked me from the words of Chazal that reciting krias shema or reminding oneself about the yom hamisah can also inspire one to be victorious over the yetzer hora - not only Torah, and perhaps this is what inspired Yosef?

UPDATE

In the comments section, a reader answered that these methods only work after learning Torah, then krias shema and yom hamisa will have the correct inspirational effect. Rav Meir Bergman was here in Cleveland this morning, so I asked him this question and he gave the same answer. He added that we can explain the Gemora in Menochos with the talmid who saved himself from doing an aveira by looking at his tzitzis was not because of the mitzva itself, rather it was the learning that happened at that time (look at the Gemora there).

He added that this is only true at the time that the yetzer hora has you in his grip already, then Torah is the only antidote, however beforehand, the limmud of mussar will certainly help as is stated in the Gemora Brochos לעולם ירגיז אדם יצר טוב על יצר הרע.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

That Gemara has a sequence - learn torah, krias shma and if all else fails, yom hamisa. The Baalei Mussar ask why not pull out the big guns immediately? Remind yourself of yom hamisa and that's it. The insight that they offer is that reminding oneself of yom hamisa without learning torah could lead conversely to the approach of eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die - as recorded in Sefer Yeshaya - mentioning yom hamisa had no effect on them. . In other words, without first learning torah, all else is ineffective. Following this explanation, it is clear that inspiration without Torah is not possible, even if the other methods are employed. That's why the gmara lists the items that are effective against the yetzer hora in a sequence.

Avromi said...

Yes - thanks - that is a good start. I also noticed that Rav Bergman in last week's parsha (Chukas) (I was looking in Bechukosai) also says like you. But he asks from his son that the Gemora first says that a person should be "yargiz adam yetzer tov al yetzer hora" and only if he cannot win, then he should learn Torah. What is the first method?

David said...

Where do we find Yosef learned Torah? Why, he sent wagons to his father to show he remembered the last sugya they studied in eglah arufah!

Avromi said...

David,
The question was where do we find that his learning was used to combat his yetzer hora in that specific case that the Gemora quoted.

David said...

Well, that clears it up, but the question as phrased simply appears to ask blankly, where do we find Yosef learning.

By the way, with all due respect, I think R. Bergman's answer (before the update) is classic circular reasoning. The question is, per your clarification, "Yosef won his battle, but where do find it was because of Torah"? He answers, "Since he won his battle, it must have been because of Torah!". I must be missing something in the transmission, because such an answer only begs the question, without really answering it.

And I would also ask generally, didn't he win the battle becasue he saw the image of his father in the window? If so, it had nothing to do with his learning.

Avromi said...

The first question, I'll attempt to answer now and the second ill try later bl"n.

The question was that the Gemora is specifically discussing Torah and yet by Yosef it doesn't make any mention of his learning. The answer, although the Gemora doesn't say this explicitly, is that based on the Mesillas Yesharim, the only method of combatting the yetzer hora when he has you in his grip is through Torah and that is the message of the Gemora. So you are correct, where do we find it, the answer is we don't, but we know it's true for that's the only way.

ben said...

The question is asked - while it is true that Yosef conquered his evil inclination, where do we find that Yosef learned Torah?

The Medrash in Breshis Rabbh states explicitly that Yosef forgot all his Torah learning while in Mitzrayim, based on the passuk כי נשני אלקים את כל עמלי

Ben said...

Yosef was handsome yet he still overcame his Evil Inclination. How he was victorious is conjecture on everyone's part. By the way, saying Kerias Shema is also a fulfillment of Torah study according to Gemara end of Menachos. Just for the record, Bereishis Rabbah states that Yaakov said Tehillim while in house of Lavan. Rabbeinu Efraim al HaTorah (quoted in Torah Sheleimah from RMM Kasher) writes that Yaakov did not study Torah in house of Lavan. I guess the question boils down to , is Tehillim considered Torah study? Nefesh Hachaim seems to maintain that it is not. Yet, Shulchan Aruch HaRav paskens that limud kaballah is considered limud of Torah Shebeksav, so maybe Tehillim should be the same. (not trying to be political here, just two different approaches)

Wed Jul 12, 12:31:03 PM 2006

Anonymous said...

Saying Tehilim, as with all things in this world, is a question of who and to what extent. The Poskim say that there is a concept of qualitative bitul torah. In other words, for Rav Elyashiv, for example, to say thilim all day long, would be a waste of his precious time and a loss for klal yisroel. Bitul Torah. A little bit of thilim every day should be said by everyone. Someone who cannot learn a blatt gmara and says thilim rather than waste time is doing a good thing. In this world there are no absolutes.

David said...

According to the Gemara, David requested of G-d that the recitation of tehillim be put on a par with involvement in Negaim and Ohalos. However, we are not told what G-ds response was!

Anonymous said...

The unspoken assumption is that the request was granted. As with my previous post, however, note that the request was not necessarily regarding the dry recitation of thilim by someone who can do no more. Major treatises have been written on thilim. Logic dictates that the request for equal treatment related specifically to the kind of in-depth study that would normally be applied to negayim.