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For the week ending 8 April 2017 / 12 Nisan 5777

Bava Batra 72 - 78

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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A Strand of Sand

  • Bava Batra 73a

"Do you not fear me, says G-d, will you not tremble at My presence, Who has placed the sand as the boundary of the sea as an eternal order that it cannot be passed?" (Yirmiyahu 5:22)

This passage is quoted in our gemara in relation to a mystical report by the Sage Rabbah about a dialogue between two giant waves.

"Tell me if there is anything, my friend, which you have not yet flooded," said one wave to another, "so that I can go and destroy it."

To which the other wave replied:

"Take note of the power of your Master Who has made it impossible to pass over one thin strand of sand."

The commentaries explain that the first wave had the illusion that because it had reached great heights it had broken through the barrier of beach which had been created to contain it. The above-mentioned passage is cited as support of the second wave's response that it has no permission to pass that boundary.

In a homiletic sense the waves of the sea symbolize the nations of the world who attempt to destroy the Jewish people. Although some of them reach great heights and imagine that they have destroyed us, history bears witness that no wave has succeeded in doing so, and we know that they never will, because Heaven has placed a strand of sand to protect us forever.

What the Sages Say

"Three are called by the Name of G-d: the righteous, Mashiach and Yerushalayim."

  • Rabbi Yochanan - Bava Batra 75b

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