For the week ending 28 May 2005 / 19 Iyyar 5765

Shabbat 23 - 29

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Laws of Chanuka lights
  • Rewards for mitzvot
  • Mentioning Chanukah and Rosh Chodesh in Tefillah and Birkat Hamazon
  • The oil that cant be used for Shabbat and Yom Tov lights
  • Importance of Shabbat lights
  • Who is considered wealthy
  • Which garments require tzitzit
  • What qualifies as wicks for Shabbat lights
  • Animal skins in regard to spiritual contamination
  • The mysterious Tachash
  • Garment and vessel fragments as wicks
  • Oil receptacles next to the lights

Who is a Wealthy Man?

"Who is considered a wealthy man?" asked Rabbi Meir. His answer was "One who can enjoy his wealth."

Rashi explains this definition along the lines of what the Sage Ben Zoma stated (Mesechta Avot 4:1) that "Who is considered a wealthy man? One who is happy with what he has." The truly wealthy man is then one who is happy with his portion in life whether he has much or little.

Maharsha, however, offers a different approach to the words of Rabbi Meir. He cites two passages in Kohelet describing the different fates of people endowed with wealth. In the first (5:18) King Shlomo speaks of the man "whom G-d has endowed with wealth and property and enabled him to enjoy them this is a gift of G-d." In a later passage (6:2) he bemoans the fate of the one "who is endowed with wealth, property and honor and is missing nothing that he desires but G-d does not enable him to enjoy them."

The conclusion reached by Rabbi Meir from these passages, writes Maharsha, is that true wealth does not depend on how much one has but how much Heaven has blessed him with the ability to enjoy it.

What the Sages Say

"One who loves Torah scholars will have children who are Torah scholars; one who has awe for Torah scholars will have sons-in-law who are Torah scholars; one who honors Torah scholars will himself be a scholar and if he is not involved in Torah study himself he will gain respect for what he says as if he were a Torah scholar."

  • The Sage Rava

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