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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Parashas Shelach

The Trickster Must Lose

"Tell me, Shloimie, do you have a safe place to keep money that you do not need for a while?"

"Yes, Romi. I deposit it with Shmari. He is a very reliable watchman."

"I have 100 coins that I want to deposit, Shloimie."

"Great! I was on my way over to Shmari. I have 200 coins to deposit."

The two men make their way to Shmari's. He receives them warmly.

"Please watch my bag of 200 coins."

"And my bag of 100 as well."

"I will gladly watch them for you men. However, you must each remember how much you gave me."

"No problem, Shmari. We will be back in a few months, b'ezras Hashem."

The time comes and the two men come to take their money.

"The bag of 200 coins is mine."

"What do you mean? I gave him the bag of 200. The 100 is yours."

"I never expected this would happen. Give me the 200 and you take the 100."

Neither man has any proof; therefore, they go to Beis Din.

The question is:

What should Beis Din do with the money?

The answer is:

This is a dispute in the Mishna in Bava Metziah 37a. The Tanna Kamma has a logical solution. Give each man back 100. After all, each one deposited at least 100, and would be receiving what was rightfully his. The last 100, which each one is claiming is his, should be set side until Eliyahu HaNovi comes, speedily in our days, and reveals the truth. Rebbe Yossie disgrees. One of these men is a trickster! He is trying to cheat his friend out of 100 coins! He must be punished! If he is not penalized, then anyone can claim that the second hundred is his. After all, what does he have to lose? Therefore, the entire 300 is set aside until Eliyahu HaNovi comes. The trickster must lose.

This puzzle and answer is for learning and discussion purposes only. Do not rely upon it for psak halacha! Consult a Rav to determine the correct halachic ruling.

The Spiritual Eye

"This is a very difficult Tosafos, Tzvi."

"I see, Meir. Come; let us say a tefillah to Hashem to help us understand it. Then we'll try learning it again."

"Hashem, You favor a man with knowledge, understanding, and intellect. Please grant us the wisdom to understand this difficult Tosafos."

Tzvi and Meir begin learning the Tosafos again. They reach the difficult point, and Tzvi concentrates deeply; closing his eyes very tightly. He thinks, and thinks, and thinks. Suddenly, his face lights up, and he opens his eyes.

"I think I have it!!!"

"Please, share it with me, Tzvi."

Tzvi proceeds to explain the Tosafos. Everything makes sense and fits together perfectly.

"I think you have it, Tzvi."

"Boruch Hashem! Thank you Hashem for giving us the p'shat (simple explanation) in this Tosafos!"

"Amen! May I ask you something Tzvi?"

"Go ahead Meir."

"Why did you close your eyes so tightly while you were thinking?"

"Hmmm. I never thought about it. I guess it helps me concentrate better."

"A short time ago, I heard a drasha from a prominent Rav in Yerushalayim. He spoke about the eyes and what they see."

"That sounds like an enlightening subject."

"Yes. The physical organs of the body have their spiritual counterparts. The eyes of flesh and blood see physical objects in this world. The 'spiritual eyes' see thoughts, ideas, and images from the brain's memory. When a person wants to turn his eyes inward to his thoughts and concentrate deeply, he closes his physical eyes to shut out any images that will distract him."

"That is fascinating. We want to concentrate on a particular thought; therefore we must close out all other thoughts."

"He went on to explain how stray thought and images enter our minds thru our eyes. The eyes are more sophisticated than the world's top digital camera. They see everything in their field of vision. The brain, which has more memory than the biggest hard disk, stores every image that the eyes see. We try to control the particular thought or image that our brain focuses on at any given moment, however, this is not easy and takes much practice. One way to help our minds focus on the proper thoughts is to limit the intake of unnecessary, counterproductive, or forbidden images."

"Guarding your eyes!"

"Exactly, Tzvi. The source is a verse at the end of this week's parasha, 'And you must not go searching following your heart and your eyes, after which you stray' (Bamidbar 15:39). The verse refers to things that are forbidden to look at. However, the Rav broadened this concept considerably."

"Let me guess, Meir. He spoke about looking around too much in general."

"Exactly. Even when a person is in the Beis HaMedrash, his eyes can go astray. The Rav explained it quite comically. He looks up and down, left and right. He looks to see who comes in and who goes out. He looks at the clock, then he checks to see if the window is open or closed. He picks up a sefer that he is not learning, and looks at the title, table of contents, approbations, index, and introduction. He looks at everything there is to see, except the sefer which he should be learning."

"Oy vey. What a waste."

"Yes. The Rav then went on to counter the claims of those people who say that they do not have a good enough memory to learn all of Shas. He said that if a person were to write down all of the thoughts and images that are stored in his mind, they would fill up more pages than all of Shas, including Rashi and Tosafos!"

"Wow! That is quite a compelling statement, Meir. Controlling our eyes is very important. It helps our learning, which affects the spiritual quality of our whole lives."

"Exactly. My father had the zechus (merit) to sit directly behind an Odom Godol (prominent Talmid Chochom) in the Beis HaMedrash for many years. He told me that the Odom Godol's eyes were either in the sefer that he was learning, or on his chavrusa. He did not look anywhere else. That is one of the reasons that he became an Odom Godol. He only put pure Torah thoughts and images into his mind and soul. He shut out the waste."

"Amazing. You have really inspired me to watch my eyes, Meir. I want to learn and remember the entire Shas, Rishonim, Tur, Shulchan Auruch, Poskim, and Tanach with meforshim - Kol HaTorah Kulah (the entire Torah)!"

"Tzvi, with Hashem's help you will succeed!"

Kinderlach . . .

Keep your eyes focused on the right things! Do not look around! Look at the sefer that you are learning. Look at the person that you are talking or listening to. Look at the food that you are eating. If you are writing or doing something else with your hands, look at what you are doing. Do not look around aimlessly. Do not fill your mind with irrelevant, silly, or forbidden sights. Keep your memory card free of the "spiritual viruses" that can cause the whole system to crash, chas v'shalom (Heaven forbid)! Keep your mind and soul pure, running at high efficiency. "Lo sosuru!"

Kinder Torah Copyright 2013 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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