Mezuzah Maven

For the week ending 2 January 2021 / 18 Tevet 5781

Pesachim 44 - 50

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
Library Library Library

The Superior Vineyard

We are taught in a beraita, “A person should sell all of his properties to marry the daughter of a Torah scholar, and, also, a person should sell all of his properties to enable his daughter to marry a Torah scholar.”

This beraita teaches that a person who is committed to the Torah — for himself and future generations — should be prepared to take bold action to help achieve these goals. Even today, when these measures may seem extreme where there is virtually total insistence on standing on one’s own feet and also not sacrificing too much for anything — there are two noted exceptions here for the sake of the Torah.

Let’s examine one of these exceptions. A person should be prepared to sell everything he owns so that his daughter will be able to marry a Torah scholar. This is a dowry that will help the young couple get set up with a home and their basic needs, and enable them to be immersed in Torah and mitzvahs. The gemara offers two reasons for doing this.

One reason is to help ensure compatibility. The beraita is a “Talmud Tip” for a parent who is a Torah scholar — or at least a parent who greatly values the study of Torah and the fulfillment of its mitzvahs. The beraita’s teaching is directed to this type of parent, as a parent who is not “Torah-centric” is very likely not interested in obeying the advice or halacha in this beraita (or any other one). Since the daughter of a Torah scholar will naturally be more aligned in her Torah way of life and her Torah way of thinking with a husband of the same Torah goals and Torah character traits — her parents should therefore do whatever they can to help her find and marry her “Torah soul mate.”

Our beraita describes such a marriage as comparable to the successful blend of grafting one choice grapevine with another one — invei hagefen b’invei hagefen — and as something that is very suitable and beautiful.

And the gemara teaches another motivation for parents seeking a Torah scholar to marry their daughter. A good parent certainly wants a son-in-law who has internalized the correctness and need to honor their daughter’s dignity and feelings. And whether or not she is the daughter of a Torah scholar, she is “a daughter of the King”, and, as such, should be treated as royalty with great love and respect. A husband who is a Torah scholar has the refined character traits and demeanor to treat his wife as not only Hashem’s princess but as “his queen.” The Rambam writes this idea succinctly, but with words that every parent and and daughter need to know before and during marriage: “In the homes of Torah scholars, there exists nothing of an undignified nature and no discord.”

  • Pesachim 49a

One

Ravi Acha bar Chanina asked, “What does the following verse mean?” ‘And Hashem will be King of the entire universe, and, on that day, Hashem will be One and His Name will be One.” (Zecharia 14:19)

The essence of his question is to understand why the prophet says that Hashem will be One “on that day.” What about today? Of course He is One today, already — and has always been One and will always be One!

Rav Acha bar Chanina offers this explanation of the verse to answer his own (rhetorical) question: “This world is different from the World to Come. In this world, when hearing good news, a person says the blessing, “Blessed is the One Who is good and does good to others.” However, in this world, on hearing bad news, a person says the blessing, “Blessed is the true Judge.” But in the World to Come, there will be only one of these blessings — the one for good news — because there will no longer be any bad news.” In the future, it will be clearly recognized that everything that Hashem does, did and will do, is only good — and the blessing will reflect this recognition: “Blessed is the One, Who is good, and does good to others.”

Some commentaries point out that this is similar to the theme we express when saying Shma Yisrael — “Hear O Israel, Hashem, our G-d, Hashem is One.” Meaning: Although, nowadays, Hashem is recognized as the One and only G-d by the Jewish People — Hashem Elokeinu, i.e. Hashem, our G-d in the future, Hashem will be recognized and acknowledged as the One and only G-d by all the nations and people in the world.

  • Pesachim 50a

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