Monday, April 16, 2007

Daf Yomi - Chagigah 9 - ONE HUNDRED AND ONE TIMES

HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg in Nesivos Chaim, The Torah Way of Life explains our Gemora.

Let us analyze the meaning of the prophet Malachi's enigmatic proclamation about the future. For seemingly, Malachi's prophesy (Malachi 3:18) is stating the obvious, "Then you will return and will see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves G-d and the one who does not serve Him." In the future when we return from our golus, the difference between the righteous and the wicked will become clear, as well as the difference between those who are servants of Hashem and those who are not.

Obviously, a tzaddik serves Hashem and a rosho does not. Why, then, does the Prophet further qualify the definitions? In fact, this is the question that Bar Hei Hei asked of Hillel, "[Is it not true that] the one who is a tzaddik is the one who serves G-d. The one who is a rosho is the one who does not serve Him?"

Actually there is a fine distinction between the two. Malachi declares that in the future, the very slight difference between those who are tzaddikim and those who serve Hashem will become apparent. Likewise, the difference between those people who are wicked and those people who do not serve Hashem will become obvious. Now, however, in the darkness of golus, our perception is clouded and distorted.

Hillel, the great Torah leader of his generation, understood the Novi's message. Hillel clarifies the prophecy and gives this remarkable answer: "Those who serve Him and those who do not are both completely righteous and [but] there is no comparing one who reviews his learning one hundred times to one who reviews his learning one-hundred-and-one times."

Bar Hei Hei responded to Hillel, "And because of one time, he is called, `one who does not serve Him'?"

Hillel answered, "Yes! Go and learn from market where they hire out donkeys. [A trip of] ten parsas costs a zuz and [a trip of] eleven parsas costs two zuz."

Remarkably, but fair enough, the final haul of one more parsa doubles the cost! The haul of the first ten parsa'os is not so difficult and therefore costs only one zuz. The haul of one single parsa is certainly not worth another zuz by itself. However, with eleven together, the effort that is needed after the first ten to haul that last eleventh parsa, doubles the price -- a whole zuz more. The eleventh parsa costs the same as the ten previous ones! This combined, final effort adds a whole new dimension to the strain required to complete the journey, and this new dimension is what doubles the price for that one last parsa.

Hillel's illustration helps us understand how one may be a called a tzaddik and still not be considered a servant of Hashem. Learning one hundred times is not enough. There has to be an element of extra effort.

The one-hundred-and-one times, the resolve and stamina to make that one extra time is, so to speak, as difficult as splitting the Red Sea! At that time, HaKodosh Boruch Hu commanded the waters to split. The waters of the Yam Suf were obligated to change their nature. Similarly, to go beyond the norm, even an extraordinary norm of one hundred times and even only one more time, requires changing one's nature. The effort of that one extra time produces the transformation, which reflects the true greatness of "those who serve Hashem."

A true servant has only the welfare of the one he serves in mind. Either his personal concerns do not exist at all, or they become secondary. The first hundred times we learn something, we have many logical reasons for doing so. We want deeper understanding and clarity. We wish to engrave what we have learned in our memory and feel satisfaction at the achievement. But what is the justification for the one last time? Only servitude! Bearing the yoke! The yoke only comes when there is difficulty, not when things are easy. A person will not change his nature under sheltered and ideal conditions.

When things are easy for us, we all succeed.

2 comments:

Issac said...

Reb Shaul Mimoziztz - actually 100 is sufficient - but the first one was shelo lishma, so it doesn't count

Anonymous said...

Baal Hatanya says 100 is a nice sqaure number everyone likes it the peson who goes one above he is the tzaddik.