NOTE: BEGINNING DECEMBER 2013, ALL NEW POSTS OF SERIOUS DIVREI TORAH WILL BE POSTED ONLY AT Beis Vaad L'Chachamim, beisvaad.blogspot.com


For private communication, write to eliezer(no space)e at aol

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Shemos, 1:15. Shifra and Puah.

The Gemora in Sotah 11b says that Shifrah and Pu'ah were Yocheved and either Miriam or Elisheva. They were given these different names here only to describe the work they did— in their work as midwives, they straightened the bent limbs of newborn children (m'shaperes es havlad) and calmed them by cooing to them (po'oh ehl havlad). Reb Yerucham asks, these women were great nevios; couldn’t they be described with names that are more dignified? It seems like the equivalent of referring to Albert Einstein as “the customs clerk.” He answers that great people don’t do little things. A truly great person invests his actions with greatness. When they did their work as midwives, every move they made was deeply thought-out and appropriately manifestated their spiritual greatness.

This is like what I heard from my father shlita about the Medrash Talpios that “Chanoch tofer manolim hoyo, ve’al kol tefira omar Boruch shem kvod...” Chanoch was a cobbler, and on every stitch he would say Boruch Sheim kvod.... Ovi Mori said, b’derech mussar, that this does not mean that while his hands worked, his mind was far away in the spiritual realms. It means that every stitch he sewed reflected kiddush Hashem. He worked with the highest kavono to make shoes that would benefit their user, that would be water-tight, and would last, and would be worth more than the person would be paying for them. The idea is the same— a gadol will do even the most mundane task with gadlus.

There is an important lesson here. A person that goes to work must remember who he is at every moment. He cannot compartmentalize his life into “ben Torah” and “working man.” He is a ben Torah at all times, and his work, both the way he works and the purpose of his work, should reflect clearly who he is.

No comments: