Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 25 - The Jewish People are Brazen

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The Gemara states that the Jewish people are the most brazen of the nations. The attribute of brazenness is the opposite of the attribute of Bushah (bashfulness, humility). The Gemara in Yevamos (79a) teaches that David ha'Melech ruled that the Nesinim were not fit to marry into the Jewish people because they did not demonstrate the three signs characteristic of the Jewish people, who are "Rachmanim, Baishanim, v'Gomlei Chasadim" (merciful, bashful, and bestowers of kindness).

The MAHARAL (Nesiv ha'Bushah 1) explains that the Jewish people inherited these three natural characteristics from the Avos (see also Beitzah 32b). The attribute of Gomlei Chasadim comes from Avraham Avinu, who excelled in the Midah of Chesed (Bereishis 18:19). They inherited mercifulness from Yakov Avinu who said to his sons, "May Hash-m give you mercy" (Bereishis 43:14). (Yakov Avinu asked Hash-m to grant his descendants mercy in the eyes of others in return for Yakov's own exemplary Midah of Rachamim. Yakov's mercy is also demonstrated in the description of the way he tended the flocks of Lavan, Bereishis 31:38-40.)

They inherited the trait of Bushah from Yitzchak Avinu, whose unique trait was Yir'ah, fear (Bereishis 31:42), from which Bushah derives (Yevamos 79a; see Insights to Yevamos 79:1).

Why does the Gemara here say that the natural tendency of the Jewish people is the attribute of brazenness, while the Gemara in Yevamos says that the natural tendency of the Jewish people is Bushah? (MAHARAL ibid.)

ANSWER: The MAHARAL explains that there are two types of Bushah. One type comes from a person's lack of motivation and assertiveness. This type of Bushah manifests itself in one who is easily discouraged from taking any initiative because of his shame.

The other type of Bushah is the feeling which one experiences when he realizes that someone else is greater than he, and he thus submits himself to that person.

The Jewish people are brazen with regard to the first type of Bushah, which they entirely lack. The Jewish people have a great degree of initiative and assertiveness. They are always spirited, creative, and innovative.

With regard to the other type of Bushah, however, the Jewish people excel, for they submit themselves to Hash-m and recognize that they are nothing in front of Him. It is in that sense that they are Baishanim (the positive type of Bushah). The Nesinim lacked this positive Bushah and therefore David ha'Melech rejected them. (See, however, the Maharal in NETZACH YISRAEL ch. 14.)