Friday, April 5, 2024

Chasam Sofer - In Israel Torah is combined with work. Exclusive Torah study is only for other places.

Daas Torah page 276

Chasam Sofer (Sukkos 36b): I heard an insight from my teacher the Hafloah concerning the dispute between R’ Shimon bar Yochai and R’ Yishmael (Berachos 35b). R’ Shimon said that a person should only learn Torah and R’ Yishmael  said a person should also work. The gemora concludes that many did like R’ Shimon (and studied Torah full time) but were not successful. He noted that they merely imitated the actions of R’ Shimon but did not in fact do exactly as he did. In fact there is no doubt that a person who is truly motivated for the sake of G﷓d, Who examines all hearts, will definitely be successful. … I, his insignificant student, want to expand his insight. It appears to me that R’ Yishmael did not apply the verse “you should gather your grain” - that one should work - except for those dwelling in Israel when the majority of Jews live there. In such a case farming itself is an expression of the mitzva of settling the land by bringing forth its holy fruit. For example Boaz was involved in winnowing grain because of this mitzva. Thus a person in Israel - who wants to exclusively learn Torah and doesn’t want to farm - is like one who says that he doesn’t want to put on Tefilin because he is studying Torah. It is possible that this is also true concerning all occupations which help develop society - that they are included in the mitzva of settling Israel. In contrast when we are scattered amongst the nations of the world. There to the degree that we develop society, we destroy our service of G﷓d, then R’ Yishmael would agree with R’ Shimon that one should only learn Torah. Thus concerning those living outside of Israel, we rely on the view of R’ Nehorai that he ignored every trade in the world and only taught his son Torah.

1 comment :

  1. In fact there is no doubt that a person who is truly motivated for the sake of G-d, Who examines all hearts, will definitely be successful

    But Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai explicitly says that his Torah-only position is only applicable at a time when the entire nation (or perhaps an entire community) is doing the will of G-d. It would seem to have nothing to do with individual motivation or the presence of absence of any agricultural mitzvos.
    Further, the Meharsha says that Rashbi's condition can only realistically be fulfilled at the time of moshiach...


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