Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend
Maharal

Chapter 1: Mishna 4: Part 1

Yossi ben Yoezer Ish Tzreidah and Yossi ben Yochanan Ish Yerushalayim received (the tradition) from him (Antignos Ish Socho). Yossi ben Yoezer says: Your house should be a meeting place for wise people. Attach yourself to the dust of their feet. And drink thirstily of their words.

Antignos Ish Socho taught about man himself attaining personal superiority through both love of G-d and awe of Heaven. Yossi ben Yoezer and Yossi ben Yochanan follow this by instructing man on the bringing of superiority in to his home, the home being the immediate extension of the individual, through the service of G-d with both love and awe.

First we are taught "Your house should be a meeting place for wise people," making ones dwelling place a center for wisdom. The superiority of ones dwelling place also bestows excellence on the individual himself.

On the other hand, "attach yourself to the dust of their feet." While one must strive to create an attachment to wise people and become close to them, he must be careful not to treat them as his peers. The supreme importance of wisdom requires that one recognize the great distance that exists between truly wise men and himself, even as he strives to attach himself to them. This attachment requires humility, represented by his attachment to the "dust of their feet."

Finally, "drink thirstily of their words." Physical thirst indicates a deficiency of liquid in his body, and one who recognizes that deficiency seeks to fill it by drinking, in order to quench that thirst. A man who lacks wisdom is also deficient, and it is the words of wise men that can fill that deficiency. A person who feels that lack drinks thirstily of the words which will alleviate it, just as fervently as a thirsty person drinks water.

There is a broader perspective. Man's proper relationship to wise men is really a paradigm for the association that exists between man's physical body and his "sechel," transcendental wisdom. Firstly, "sechel" transcends physical man, and he struggles to attach himself to it, reaching up to cling to it, even in a limited way. So, too, man's desire to have wise men in his house is to enable him to "reach up" and make some contact with them, all the while realizing that due their elevated state a full attachment is beyond him. Secondly, while "sechel" looms far above man, he can have some connection with it. Attaching oneself to the dust of the feet of wise men indicates that while these wise men are beyond man, it is possible to have some connection with them. (see Chapter 2, Mishna 10, where Rebbi Eliezer teaches too "warm ourselves from the fire of wise men, yet be careful no to get burned...") Finally, the "sechel" is necessary for man to be considered a total human being, and the lack of sechel makes him incomplete (See the Introductory section, where the Maharal discusses the animalistic dimension of man without Torah and "sechel.") The thirst for the words of wise men derives from the need to fill the fundamental deficiency man has when he lacks wisdom. All three lessons of the Mishna represent man's association with sechel.

With this in mind, we gain a new insight into Yossi ben Yoezer's lesson of how man can perfect his home. A perfect home would serve as the "body" wherein wisdom resides, just as man's body is the dwelling place for his sechel. This can be accomplished by making ones house into a meeting place for wise people, attaching oneself to them in any way that one can, and thirstily drinking their words.

The class is taught by Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky, Dean of Darche Noam Institutions, Yeshivat Darche Noam/Shapell's and Midreshet Rachel for Women.



 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

When Moshiach Comes
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Events of the Past
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

ArtScroll

True Wealth
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Dead First
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Marriage Vows
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

What Are We Mourning on the Ninth of Av
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

How We Suffer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Vengeance: Revenge is Sweet
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Murphy's Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Our Consolation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

> Vows: The Power of Speech
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

With All Due Respect
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

His Way is the Right Way
Shlomo Katz - 5759

On the Road of Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information