Talmud Tips

For the week ending 13 July 2024 / 7 Tamuz 5784

Bava Batra 4-10

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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Like the Brightness of the Sky

“...those who love Hashem will be like the sun when it will appear in all its strength.” (Shoftim 5:31)

“Those who love Hashem, explains Ravina in our gemara, describes the great illumination and reward that will be evident at the time of the resurrection, to those whose lives were immersed in Torah study and mitzvah fulfillment. (Rashi)

This teaching is preceded by descriptions of various — lesser, although elevated — degrees of illumination, which are enumerated in a beraita on our daf. The Tana of the beraita elucidates a deeper meaner of a verse in Sefer Daniel, which states:

“And the wise will shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who bring the multitudes to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)

The Tana explains:

“The wise ones shall shine like the light of the sky...”

These words refer to judges who rule wisely with true and unbiased justice, and to ones who collect and distribute charity (they are wise to know the needs of the poor — Rashi);

“...and those who bring righteousness to the many shall shine like the stars forever.”

And this refers to the Torah teachers of young Jewish children (they bring righteousness to them by educating them in the path of goodness — Rashi).

Yet, brighter than the brightness of these “luminaries” are the Torah scholars who devoted themselves to the unremitting learning of Hashem’s Torah.

“...those who love Hashem will be like the sun when it will appear in all its strength." (Shoftim 5:31)

It is certainly difficult to fully fathom the magnitude of these various levels of future reward taught for righteous judges, charity managers (gaba’ei tzedaka), teachers of Torah to children, and for loyal Torah scholars. However, we can catch a “glimpse” of the tremendous degree of their light from the words of Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel, the author of the Aramaic “Targum” (translation/interpretation) for the Books of the Prophets. He writes, regarding the words at the end of Shirat Devorah: “Like the sun when it will appear in all its strength” — that in the end of days, the light of the Torah scholars will be 343 times more powerful than the sun as we know it today. This indicates the tremendous glory due to true Torah scholars — their glory will be, so to speak, equal to 7 times 7 times 7 the power of the bright sunlight that we see today.

Bava Batra 8b

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