Daf Yomi

For the week ending 5 September 2009 / 15 Elul 5769

Bava Basra 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Two Tips to Teachers

The great sage Rav offered these bits of advice to the renowned Torah teacher of children, Rabbi Shmuel bar Shilas:

"Don't accept a pupil for regular studies until he has reached his sixth year (what we call a five-year-old) and from then on stuff him with Torah learning just as you would put a yoke on an ox without regard to whether the ox wants to work."

"When you strike a problematic pupil do so gently with a shoestring so that you do not cause him any physical damage. If he still shows no interest in his studies you need not forcefully prod him any more nor remove him from the class. Just allow him to remain in the company of the other pupils and he will eventually come around to also paying attention."

  • Bava Basra 21a

The Secret Antidote

Iyov, says the Sage Rava, attempted to excuse everyone from heavenly judgment by putting forth this argument to Hashem:

"You determined who will be righteous by creating the yetzer tov (good inclination) and who will be a sinner by creating the yetzer hara (evil inclination). The helpless sinner is therefore not responsible, for how can he combat an irresistible force which You have created?"

The refutation of this argument was presented by Iyov's companions speaking in the name of Hashem:

"It is true that I created the yetzer hara but I also created the antidote of Torah study."

Rashi thus explains their response:

Torah study eliminates thoughts of sin, as the Talmud in Masechta Kiddushin (30b) states: "If this monstrosity (the yetzer hara) encounters you, drag him into the Beis Medrish where you will destroy him." You are therefore not considered helpless and are responsible for your actions.

  • Bava Basra 16a

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