TalmuDigest

For the week ending 15 December 2012 / 1 Tevet 5773

Shabbat 72 - 78

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • How many sacrifices for the sin of shifcha charufa
  • Shabbat violation and other sins involuntarily committed
  • A list of the 39 categories of forbidden creative labors and their details
  • Taking blood from the chalozon for dyeing techeilet
  • The subjective measure of amount carried which requires atonement
  • The amount of human and animal foods and liquids for the same
  • Diluting wine and comparing quantities of liquids and solids
  • Clearing up the spelling of terms used in the Talmud
  • The Divine purpose in every creature
  • How Aramaic words combine to define
  • The amount of non-edible items carried which constitutes violation
  • Paper, parchment and promissory notes

When the Strong Fear the Weak

We are accustomed to considering the superior power of man or animal as a guarantee of invincibility in conflict with a weaker opponent. Our Sages, however, pointed to a number of examples of the strong fearing the weak.

The mighty lion hears the very loud roar of a tiny animal called mafgiya and flees in fear that a mightier creature threatens. The huge elephant fears the mosquito which may enter its trunk and cause trouble.

These and other examples of the strong fearing the weak, said Rabbi Yehuda in the name of the Sage Rav, find expression in the words of the Prophet Amos (5:9) who warned his people that the Creator can give power to the weak to bring destruction to the strong.

Maharsha explains that the lesson communicated by the Sages is that a person should never rely on his own power because the Creator has many agents which he can send to harm him if he sins. "Do not abandon fear of retribution," advised the Sage Nitai of Arbel (Pirkei Avot 1:7), a lesson reinforced by reflecting on what goes on in the animal world.

What the Sages Say

"Whatever the Creator created in His world is not without purpose."

  • Rabbi Yehuda in the name of the Sage Rav - Shabbat 77b

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