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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Haazinu, Devarim 32:4, and Yom Kippur. Mishpat and Tzadka Yachdav. אין עול and צדקה יחדיו

I

No human, no Malach, can understand Hashem's judgment.  Avraham Avinu, Moshe Rabbeinu, the Malachei Hashareis, nobody can even begin to understand why and how.  Even so, Chazal and our baalei hashkafa discuss such things.  What follows is only in the spirit of Limud Hatorah, and is not an Icarus-like quest for the resolution of unanswerable questions (Chagiga 14b).

This first part is from Harav Meir Bergman, Rav Shach's son in law, in his sefer on Chumash, Shaarei Ora.

The discussion involves psukim, 32:3-4:
הצור תמים פעלו כי כל דרכיו משפט. אל אמונה ואין עול צדיק וישר הוא
The Gemara in Brachos 46b says that when Mar Zutra became an Aveil, a bracha was said.  This is the generally known bracha of Dayan Ha'emes.  The language of the bracha there, however, is much lengthier.  Part of the bracha is "שופט צדק לוקח במשפט", righteous judge who takes (life) with justice.  Tosfos there says that the Bahag (and the Rambam) excised the words "lokeiach bemishpat," because the Gemara in Shabbos 55b says יש נספה בלא משפט, even blameless men die, that men die without Mishpat, without justice.  Therefore, one should not say that the person died with mishpat, because maybe he was one who died "belo mishpat."  Tosfos ends by saying "however, that is not a reason to erase it."  Tosfos does not explain what he means.

The Talmidei Rabbeinu Yona there mentions that the Rif also redacted it out of his iteration of the Gemara.  Talmidei Rabbeinu Yona are not at all happy about this.  They end by saying אע"פ שיש מיתה בלא חטא... כל דרכיו משפט והוא יודע למה עושה כן, even though death can be without mishpat, He knows why He does so.
The Chidushei Anshei Shem there discusses this, and says other surprising things, not directly in line with this discussion but worth reading.

Rav Bergman asks, how did these rishonim- the Bahag, the Rambam, and the Rif- understand the beginning of the bracha, which they leave intact- dayan emes, Keil emes, and so forth?  And what do they do with our pesukim, that talk of ein avel and yashrus?

He answers that we have personal identities and a national identity.  Heavenly judgment can take national identity as the predominant field of Din and Schar V'Onesh, even when it results in a judgment incompatible with certain individuals in the klal.  Our dominant identity is as parts of an organism rather than as individuals; just as we judge a person as a whole, and not his individual parts, Hashem might judge Klal Yisrael as a whole, and not its individual parts.

Rav Bergman reads these two approaches to Din into the various interpretations of כל באי עולם עוברין לפניו כבני מרון in the Gemara in Rosh Hashanna 18a.  According to one pshat, this means judgment of each individual; according to another, it means judgment of the nation as a whole.


He ends by quoting the Rambam in Pirush Hamishnayos there in Rosh Hashanna who ends the Mishna with the words "this statement is self explanatory, but its hidden aspect is extremely difficult."  Rav Bergman says that the Rambam is alluding to the difficulty of correlating the judgment of individuals qua individual with judgment of Klal Yisrael as a whole.

The gist of this idea is that an individual might experience things that are not the result of his own behavior.  If he were ajudicated on his own merits, his judgment would be X.  But since he is a member of the klal, and the judgment on the klal was Y, he will (might?  always?  sometimes?) share in that judgment.  So from the individual perspective, the decree is not Mishpat.  But from the Klal perspective, it is perfectly just. 

Rav Bergman's dvar Torah ends here.  Now lets think about how this comports with Reb Yisrael Salanter's words about Din Shamayim.


Reb Yisrael Salanter is widely quoted as having said that אין עול teaches an essential difference between Hashem's judgment and an earthly court's judgment.  If a man is guilty and deserves punishment, the consequences that his punishment will have on others are legally irrelevant.  That executing him or incarcerating him will result in grief or financial distress to innocent people matters not at all to an earthly court.  But Hashem takes all of this into consideration.  With this, the Sefer Chakal Tapuchin explains the Gemara in Shabbos 106a that if a member of a group dies, all the members of the group should worry; he explains that if their friend died, then it must be that the Beis Din shel Maalah decided that all the members of the group deserved to experience the grief of losing a friend, which shows that they need to do teshuva.  Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz in his Sichos here says that Reb Yisrael used this approach to explain the passuk in Tehillim (19:10) "משפטי ה' אמת צדקו יחדיו" Hashem's judgment is true, righteous together:  this means that Hashem only punishes an individual when all the people affected by the repercussions of the judgment deserve those consequences.  In fact, Reb Elia Lopian used to say that this is a good reason to develop a group of friends that love you and sympathize with you.  Even if you deserve punishment, you might be saved because your good friends don't deserve the emotional distress that would result from seeing you suffer.  (see, e.g., Mishulchan Gavoah and Lekach Tov on this passuk in Haazinu.)

It appears that Rav Bergman's and Reb Yisrael's ideas are fundamentally incompatible. Do you agree that they are inconsistent?  Yes?  I initially thought so too.  You, as I, have just been taught a lesson:  Instead of jumping to conclusions that there is a kashe, instead we should pay more careful attention.  There is an enormous difference between the two, and there is no contradiction at all.

Reb Yisrael Salanter said that Reuven cannot suffer an undeserved repercussion of Shimon's punishment.  Rav Bergman is talking about Reuven suffering as an undeserved consequence of a Tzibbur's sin.  Reuven is by no means a part of Shimon.  Reuven is, however, a part of the Tzibbur.  Reuven's personal identity is not necessarily as important a consideration as his "part of tzibbur" identity.  In fact, Reb Yisrael's pshat is based on the word יחדיו.  He interpreted that to mean that Shimon cannot be punished when the punishment will cause undeserved suffering to Reuven.  But the same word יחדיו tells us that we are not only individuals, we are also parts of a tzibur.  When a member of a tzibur sins, the tzibur as a whole might be punished, including innocent Shimon.


II
There is certainly no contradiction between Rav Bergman and Reb Yisrael Salanter.  But there is no evidence that Reb Yisrael would agree with Rav Bergman.  Having said this, there is one very important point that everyone would agree to.  There is one time when a person might be punished because his generation sinned, even when he himself did not share in their sin, and that is when he could have protested and he did not.  The concept embodied in Arvus, in Lo Saamod ahl dahm rei'echa, in Arur asher lo Yakim, creates an ethical and halachic parity between Noninterference and Aiding and Abetting.  Shabbos 54b-55a:

כל מי שאפשר למחות לאנשי ביתו ולא מיחה נתפס על אנשי ביתו באנשי עירו נתפס על אנשי עירו בכל העולם כולו נתפס על כל העולם כולו אמר רב פפא והני דבי ריש גלותא נתפסו על כולי עלמא כי הא דאמר רבי חנינא מאי דכתיב (ישעיהו ג) ה' במשפט יבא עם זקני עמו ושריו אם שרים חטאו
דף נה,א   זקנים מה חטאו אלא אימא על זקנים שלא מיחו בשרים רב יהודה הוה יתיב קמיה דשמואל אתאי ההיא איתתא קא צווחה קמיה ולא הוה משגח בה א"ל לא סבר ליה מר (משלי כא) אוטם אזנו מזעקת דל גם הוא יקרא ולא יענה א"ל שיננא רישך בקרירי רישא דרישיך בחמימי הא יתיב מר עוקבא אב ב"ד דכתיב (ירמיהו כא) בית דוד כה אמר ה' דינו לבקר משפט והצילו גזול מיד עושק פן תצא כאש חמתי ובערה ואין מכבה מפני רוע מעלליהם וגו' א"ל ר' זירא לר' סימון לוכחינהו מר להני דבי ריש גלותא א"ל לא מקבלי מינאי א"ל אע"ג דלא מקבלי לוכחינהו מר דא"ר אחא בר' חנינא מעולם לא יצתה מדה טובה מפי הקב"ה וחזר בה לרעה חוץ מדבר זה דכתיב (יחזקאל ט) ויאמר ה' אליו עבור בתוך העיר בתוך ירושלים והתוית תיו על מצחות האנשים הנאנחים והנאנקים על כל התועבות הנעשות בתוכה וגו' א"ל הקב"ה לגבריאל לך ורשום על מצחן של צדיקים תיו של דיו שלא ישלטו בהם מלאכי חבלה ועל מצחם של רשעים תיו של דם כדי שישלטו בהן מלאכי חבלה אמרה מדת הדין לפני הקב"ה רבש"ע מה נשתנו אלו מאלו אמר לה הללו צדיקים גמורים והללו רשעים גמורים אמרה לפניו רבש"ע היה בידם למחות ולא מיחו אמר לה גלוי וידוע לפני שאם מיחו בהם לא יקבלו מהם <אמר> [אמרה] לפניו רבש"ע אם לפניך גלוי להם מי גלוי והיינו דכתיב (יחזקאל ט) זקן בחור ובתולה טף ונשים תהרגו למשחית ועל כל איש אשר עליו התיו אל תגשו וממקדשי תחלו וכתיב ויחלו באנשים הזקנים אשר לפני הבית תני רב יוסף אל תקרי מקדשי אלא מקודשי אלו בני אדם שקיימו את התורה כולה מאלף ועד תיו ומיד (יחזקאל ט) והנה ששה אנשים באים מדרך שער העליון אשר מפנה צפונה ואיש כלי מפצו בידו ואיש אחד בתוכם לבוש הבדים וקסת הסופר במתניו ויבאו ויעמדו אצל מזבח הנחושת מזבח הנחושת מי הוה אמר להו הקב"ה התחילו ממקום שאומרים שירה לפני ומאן נינהו ששה אנשים א"ר חסדא קצף אף וחימה ומשחית ומשבר ומכלה ומ"ש תיו אמר רב תיו תחיה תיו תמות ושמואל אמר תמה זכות אבות ורבי יוחנן אמר תחון זכות אבות ור"ל אמר תיו סוף חותמו של הקב"ה דאמר רבי חנינא חותמו של הקב"ה אמת 


The dinim of Arvus and Lo Saamod mean that we cannot sit back and watch as others go down in flames: even if we, through mighty discipline and diligent care avoid every sin and do every mitzvah, even if we escape the tides of the times and do not fall prey to contemporary stupidity and sinfulness, in Dinei Shamayim we pay for the sins of the community.  The only way to avoid this is by whole-heartedly throwing ourselves into an effort to improve the lives of others.  The only way to avoid being tarred by the failures of others, the only way to avoid being lumped together with the community as a whole, is by trying your hardest to teach others to avoid sin.  One might say that the only way to escape the community is by embracing it.

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