For the week ending 28 January 2012 / 3 Shevat 5772

Arachin 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Lashon hara, its consequences and the atonement for it
  • The obligation of giving reproof to a sinner
  • The bright side of suffering
  • Differences between rich and poor in regard to payment of arachin and vows
  • The ages of the people about whom arachin is made
  • The exact definition of month and year regarding arachin and other matters
  • A vow made to contribute one's weight or arm to the Sanctuary
  • When heirs are obligated to honor the pledge made by their deceased father
  • The two kinds of vows and the difference between them
  • Coercion in regard to certain religious obligations
  • How property confiscated by the rabbinical court is utilized for payment of debt

The Blessings of Suffering

If you stick your hand into your pocket to take out three coins and only two come out, you probably feel a sense of discomfort in the fact that you have to once again put your hand into your pocket. The truth, however, is that you should be very pleased that this happened. The reason is our gemara's statement that if forty days pass without some suffering it is not a good sign.

One view is that since it is only natural that a person suffer some inconvenience, the fact that one is spared from even such a minor one should lead to his becoming concerned that this is at the expense of his reward in the hereafter.

The Sages of Eretz Yisrael, however, saw this as a Heavenly reprieve from a more serious suffering. Maharsha explains that since the purpose of any Heaven-inflicted suffering is to arouse a person to repentance, it is an expression of Divine compassion to substitute small doses of suffering every forty days which are easier to bear, and achieve the same purpose.

One interesting footnote is added by the gemara. If you intended to take only two coins from your pocket and three came out, this does not qualify as suffering since tossing an extra coin back requires little effort.

  • Arachin 16a

What the Sages Say

"One should always refrain from excessively praising another because this invites the listener to counter with criticism."

  • Rabbi Dimi - Arachin16a

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