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Parashat Behar Behukotai

A Summary of the Shiur Delivered on Mossa'ei Shabbat by Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a

"Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galuyot"

During the times of the Bet Hamikdash, and even for a period thereafter, until the time of the two Amoraim, Abaye and Rava, the beginning of the new Hebrew month was determined by the sighting of the new moon. As required by the Torah, the High Court would interrogate the witnesses who would come to testify to the sighting, and, upon concluding that the sighting in fact occurred, the Court would declare Rosh Hodesh and dispatch messengers to inform the Jewish communities. This procedure may be done only in Eress Yisrael, as implied by the pasuk, "For Torah shall come forth from Ssiyon, and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem" (Michah 4:2). The Court was very proficient in the astronomical science regarding the new moon, where on the horizon it appears, its size and direction. They would then question the witnesses to ensure that their report corresponded with scientific data. Once they confirmed the authenticity of the witnesses' testimony, the head of the Court would declare, "!

mekudash" and everyone would respond, "mekudash, mekudash."

At first, the Court would light bonfires on the mountains to announce the declaration of Rosh Hodesh. When, however, hostile opponents of the rabbis began undermining this system by lighting misleading fires on the wrong days, messengers were dispatched to inform the Jewish communities as to which day was declared Rosh Hodesh. Remote areas, however, would not find out when the month began in time for Yom Tov; they would therefore observe two days of Yom Tov. However, they observed only one day of Yom Kippur, as they relied on the fact that the Court never had Elul extend for thirty days; since the times of Ezra, Elul always had only twenty-nine days (Rosh Hashanah 19b).

This procedure applied only when the Sanhedrin (High Court) stood in Eress Yisrael. In the absence of the Sanhedrin, Rosh Hodesh is determined based on the calendar established by Hillel the Nasi, the son of Rabbi Yehudah Nesi'ah. This calendar came into use towards the end of the Talmudic period, when Eress Yisrael was destroyed and no established Bet-Din (rabbinical court) remained. Nowadays, when we rely on the fixed calendar, it would seem, at first glance, that all areas should observe only a single day of Yom Tov, as there no longer is any doubt as to the correct date. However, the Sages decreed that communities outside of Eress Yisrael should continue their forefathers' practice of observing two days.

Rabbenu Avraham Azulai, the grandfather of the Hid"a, wrote that what a Jew accomplishes through the observance of a single day of Yom Tov in Eress Yisrael, a Jew living outside the Land can achieve only through two days of Yom Tov. This is due to the unique sanctity of Eress Yisrael, which assists those living there to achieve the necessary spiritual effects in only a single day. The Ar"i z"l would say that a Jew living outside of Eress Yisrael cannot attain the same spiritual heights as a Jew living in Eress Yisrael.

Hazal say (Ketubot 110b) that "whoever lives in Eress Yisrael is like one who has a God, while whoever lives outside of the Land is like one who does not have a God." The Ran explains in his "derashot" (4) that all lands outside Eress Yisrael are subject to the natural, astrological forces, and therefore those who live there are considered as if they "do not have a God." In Eress Yisrael, by contrast, one lives under the direct providence of Hashem Himself (see Devarim 11:12), and one's prayers are therefore more easily answered there.

Hazal (in Masechet Pesahim 113a) also cite the comment of Rabbi Yohanan that there are three categories of people who inherit the world to come: those who live in Eress Yisrael, those who raise their children to study Torah, and those who recite havdalah over wine on Mossa'ei Shabbat. Those of us who do all three must thank Hashem for this great privilege, which enables us to earn a share in the world to come. Mosheh, Hazal tell us (Devarim Rabbah 11), uttered 515 prayers that Hashem would allow Him entry into Eress Yisrael so that He could perform those missvot that apply only in the Land. Those of us who have the privilege of living in Eress Yisrael must thank Hashem constantly for this wonderful gift.


A Poisonous Snail

Along the Philippine coast a certain scientist discovered around five hundred species of poisonous snails. Why would a snail need poison, you may ask? The poisonous snail digs for itself a hiding place in the sand. When a fish approaches, the snail sends from its mouth a thin tubule. The tubule of some snails is colored; that of others is clear. Among all snails, however, it resembles the trap used by fishermen as they fish. The fish swims towards the thread and tries to bite it, but just then a stinger protrudes from the thread and thrusts into the inner membranes of the fish, paralyzing it with the poison it releases. The snail pulls the paralyzed fish and devours it. Around an hour and a half later, it expectorates from its mouth the bones, fins and scales that have been left over from the fish. In this manner the snail manages to catch fish its own size. The poison with which the snail paralyzes the fish attracted the attention of researchers. Thorough laboratory examinati!

ons revealed several components to this poisonous substance, which work together to paralyze the fish. The various poisons secreted by the snails were studied, and it was found that one of the poisons resemble no more and no less than the poison emitted by the cobra!

While virtually all children are familiar with snails, very few people are aware of the poisonous snails. It's one thing, dear Jews, when we deal with familiarity with snails. But this takes on an entirely new meaning when we speak of familiarity with one's own heritage, his ancestral tradition. True, we must confess that in most cases the blame does not lie with the average Jew, as he did not receive an education based on Torah and missvot, the glorious heritage of our forefathers. As one approaches Judaism, he is amazed by the greatness it contains, he stands is awe of the divine wisdom that flows from the sanctity - something with no parallel among any other discipline. Every Jew must make every effort necessary to afford himself the knowledge that was stolen from him with no fault of his own. He thus chooses for himself life and goodness, Torah and Judaism, with full awareness and clear recognition of the fact that, since time immemorial, this is the only path for a Jew.


Three Pieces of Advice (9)

Flashback: Equipped with the advice of the ssadik of Berditchev, not to believe any rumor until he has verified it beyond a doubt, the husband did not heed the rumors of his wife's infidelity and disguised as a traveler. He asked his family for lodging overnight. What he saw seemed to confirm the rumors, and so he fled from the house in the middle of the night. But then he decided that he still had no absolute confirmation and must therefore investigate the matter further. He purchased fancy clothing and expensive gifts, and, overcome with emotion, knocked on the door to his home.

One cannot even imagine what happened in the home with his return. All his anticipation and expectations, his dreams and imagination, paled in comparison to the excitement and joy, tears and laughter. His wife cried and cried; she wiped away tears of joy and then others came to replace them. His family smothered him with hugs, kisses and exuberant laughter, and he, too, was flooded by emotion. He had finally returned home, his days of wandering and loneliness were gone; he had finally returned to his family, submerged in an ocean of love.

But just then his heart was stung by the thorn of painful doubt - is this really so? Will he not be compelled to leave once again, to flee and escape? After all, it was this he had come to determine…

He forced himself to divert his attention away from this question. This was a time of joy, so he should rejoice. He opened his luggage and took out the gifts. He distributed them to the sound of delightful shouts of joy and surprise. He then gave his daughter a gold coin to purchase food, and she took two of her brothers to help her carry the groceries home. The table was set - but how different it looked now than it did the previous night! The Shabbat tablecloth was spread, a vast array of food was arranged throughout the table, everyone sat with their spirits soaring, and they ate to their heart's content listening intently to the story of the father's wanderings. He told them which cities he passed through and what jobs he performed. He selected the less significant, entertaining incidents, colorfully depicting the places he visited, the people and events, as if he had just returned from a vacation. "And thank God," he added, "I saved enough money to restart our business and live copiously."

Everyone smiled and felt a degree of jealousy over his escapades. Only his wife was not misled by his selective report.

"It was hard for you, during this long period," she whispered when they were alone.

"Your life was no easier," he replied. She nodded. She told him of the difficult years of bitterness, of hard labor, years of poverty and hunger, as she worked as both mother and father, earning a living through her own labor and worrying about the children's education. "Thank God," she said, "now that you have returned you can test them. You will be very proud. They are all excellent students, true children of Torah. I have not violated my trust with regard to our precious children. Now that you are back I can be just a mother. They already have a father." A fresh wellspring of tears gushed from her eyes.

"Enough," he whispered. He was confused. "The difficult years have passed, never to return. Now we return to the good times."

"Yes," she agreed. "We will be together, never to be separated again. I have waited so long for this day, I have waited so anxiously."

"Me too," he whispered. This was like a dream, and his doubts now seemed so meaningless, his suspicions imaginary. But no - this was not just his imagination; he had seen it with his own eyes! He went over to the window, from where the previous night the landowner's son's eyes peered. "I have one thing to ask you… "

to be continued


In our parashah, we are commanded with regard to the requirement of shemittah, to refrain from agricultural activity during the shemittah year. The pasuk says, "Should you say, what shall we eat in the seventh year, given that we will not plant or harvest our grain? I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year, and it will provide grain for three years" (Vayikra 25:20).

This pasuk requires some explanation. If Hashem already sent His blessing upon the grain of the sixth year, such that it produced three times its usual yield, and the treasuries are thus overflowing with grain, then Am Yisrael has already seen the miracle with their very own eyes. Why would they then ask, "What shall we eat in the seventh year"?

The answer is an important one, one which charges us with an enormous responsibility. Human beings see miracles, experience miracles, benefit from miracles, and yet can fail to pay attention to them or relate to them, they can ignore them and even wonder, "What's going to be?"

This applies so profoundly to us, in our generation and current situation. Everybody knows and cites the statement of the first Israeli Prime Minister, that someone who does not believe in miracles is not realistic. And yet, not only does this have no impact on us, this had no impact even upon him. Our situation is simply impossible, in all respects - in terms of security, militarily, diplomatically, economically, and socially, and yet, despite everything, we live and exist miraculously. We understand this and recognize this, and yet we ask, "What is going to be?" There is but one answer: the One who ordained His blessing until now will continue to ordain His blessing. The berachah will only grow stronger, the more we increase our Torah, missvot and good deeds.


Have you ever heard of "Mendel Shov"? His grave is located in Tiberias. Before we tell his story, let us first study a pasuk from our parashah (Vayikra 25:48). A poor Jew, whose poverty affected him to the point where he rebels against his Maker, sells himself as a servant in a church, Heaven forbid. What would a Jew be doing in a house of foreign worship? Seemingly, we should excommunicate him, sever all ties with him, and turn our backs on him. But the Torah commands us to come to his assistance and lift him from the depths to which he has plunged: "In order that you not say, since this person went and became a servant for foreign worship, I will cast a stone after the fallen - the pasuk says, 'After he has been sold - he shall be granted redemption; one of his brethren shall redeem him."

We now proceed to the incredible story. A certain brilliant, talented student studied in one of the yeshivot in Hungary. But, as often happens, humility was not included among his qualities. His ambitions soared to the heavens, and he figured that he would quickly fly to the highest peaks and his star would shoot across the sky already during his youth: he sought an appointment to a rabbinical post. He passed his exams with flying colors and with great enthusiasm received his rabbinical ordination. But, whether because people detected his nature and character, or because of his youth and unmarried status, all his attempts to receive a pulpit failed. Over the course of his repeated attempts and failures he grew embittered and angry at everyone involved: the community leaders who rejected him, the rabbis who did not intervene on his behalf, and the communities who hired his competitors. His resentment intensified until the entire "system" crashed and all the bridges were burnt: !

he decided to take revenge against them all - the community leaders, the rabbis, and the masses. He left Judaism and joined the forces of its enemies. He converted out of his religion and took on the study of priesthood. There his talents were recognized. There he would shine and rise to greatness. There he would teach all the Jews a lesson. Indeed, through his talents and burning hatred he climbed to the highest peaks. Before long he was appointed to the powerful and prestigious post of Cardinal. Even this, however, did not suffice for him; he considered it but a first step.

During this time anti-Semitism grew in his country. Incited youth formed a movement called, "the Iron Cross" and embarked on a violent campaign against the Jews. They burned down stores and tormented Jews wherever they were found. The Cardinal, the former Jew, Mendel Shov, granted them the ideological backing for their activities. He published articles saturated with hate, littered with citations taken out of context, and used them to incite his constituents against the Jews with venomous animosity. He was looked upon as a knowledgeable authority, and his writings wrought devastation upon the Jews.

The World War erupted and Jews were sent to destruction camps. When the appalling racist theories of the Nazis became well established, the apostate Cardinal sensed that his position may not be secure. A dreadful nightmare he experienced confirmed his suspicions. One day a tormented Jew stood in the room of the rabbi of Skolan zs"l, the father of the orphans and refugees, those who were banished and left homeless, and introduced himself: my name is Mendel Shov. He had abandoned everything and secretly sneaked out of his magnificent chamber. He humbly returned to his religion and faith and sought a path for teshuvah.

The rabbi did not demand inordinate physical torment, and instructed him instead to perform several symbolic acts. His brethren, however, provided him with more than enough suffering for his atonement. So many of them had suffered on account of his venomous preaching and now refused to hold back their anger. They cursed him and humiliated him, and he accepted it all with silence. He closed himself in a private room and spent his days and nights praying, fasting and reciting Tehillim, in an attempt to atone for his wrongdoing and become purified. Towards the end of his life, he emigrated to Eress Yisrael and continued his life of confession and remorse. He earned his place among the sincere "ba'alei teshuvah."

The one who brought him close, who encouraged him, spoke to him warmly, and gave him strength as he embarked on his new life, was, as stated, the rabbi of Skolan zs"l. One day, as he spoke with him, he asked him, "Please tell me, Reb Mendel, at the time, when you slammed the door on Judaism, abandoned your faith, turned to abominable foreign worship, served as a priest, then a Cardinal, and used your post to incite and inflame - why did you not complete the process, by changing your family name?" The ba'al teshuvah's eyes moistened with a layer of tears, and he said, "I will tell you, rabbi, I kept my name, 'Shov,' because I always knew that one day 'ashuv' - I will return." Who can know the soul of a Jew!

This is the message of the pasuk from our parashah, a message so powerfully relevant for us, in our generation. On the surface, so many have become so distant, they seem to have become detached and appear even to incite and inflame. But we are commanded to bring them back, to lend a hand, to assist, rather than "casting a stone after the fallen." And the fact is that they are returning. The seminars are filled to capacity, so much interest is shown in learning more and becoming connected. For who can truly know the soul of the Jew. Soon the great shofar will be sounded, the redemption will come, and they will all return like doves to their cotes. We will see this with our own eyes - very soon indeed.


Dear Brothers,

Do not ask me where I heard this story; suffice it to say that I heard it second-hand. But the story in fact occurred and it gave me much food for thought. A woman entered one of the offices of "Yad Sarah," a large organization in Israel which lends medical supplies free of charge. She mentioned that she had borrowed a pain relieving device - a box with wires that the patient attaches to the area of the pain, which is soothed by the electrodes sent through the wires. She had borrowed this machine, and it worked so well that she has a hard time taking it off.

"And the pain has gone?" the manager asked.

"No, it hasn't gone away," the woman replied.

Thus, she clearly had not come to return the machine and receive her deposit back.

"The borrowing period has ended?" the manager asked. "You have come to extend the time?"

"No," the woman answered. "I am still within the borrowing period."

If so, then only one possibility remained: "The machine is lost?" the manager asked.

"No, it is not lost," the woman said, "but it is not with me; it is in the police station."

What happened?

The woman related that the pain became so intense and the machine worked so well, that she refused to take it off even when she walked in the street. Now just imagine, in Israel in the year 5762, a woman walking in the street holding a metal box with wires jutting out and going into her clothing - a bomb waiting to explode! Men got out of the way, women shrieked, children fled. A policeman approached her and arrested her. He demanded her documents and did not believe a word of what she said. He confiscated the machine until she received written documentation from "Yad Sarah."

This would be funny if it weren't so sad. "Our steps were checked, we could not walk in our streets." Josephus tells of the thugs who lived in Yerushalayim towards the end of the period of the second Bet Hamikdash, secret agents who would draw their dagger and disappear, leaving their victim rolling in his blood. He describes the fear people had of walking through the streets, the death that filled the alleyways. People in that time would never have imagined how this approach would progress and become so much more advanced many years later.

But this is not the main thing, it is not for this reason that this story is told here. I think of that woman, who, with absolute innocence, without any evil intention whatsoever, left her house holding a medical device. She never imagined the hysteria she would cause, what kind of tumult would ensue all because of her. But we do not exonerate her entirely: she should have realized and known. The policeman was right for what he did.

This brings us to a well known Gemara that was mentioned in last week's issue, which establishes that we do not differentiate between intentional and unintentional violations of "hillul Hashem" (Kiddushin 40b). I did not know, I didn't realize, I didn't think - these are not excuses. If you live in a society, in a community, you are not flying alone in outer space. You must therefore realize that people look at you, people survey you, they look and reach conclusions. They don’t know what goes on inside your heart or which factors lead you to your behavior. If we earned the merit, everyone would fulfill the missvah of, "You shall judge your fellow favorably." If they would see a religious boy sitting on a bus who does not rise for an elderly man, they would think, "Perhaps he recently had an operation and cannot stand up easily." If they would see a religious man cutting the line at the bank, they would think, "Perhaps he must hurry to the hospital and has no money for a taxi."!

But we have yet to reach this point, and even if someone recently went through an operation or must rush to the hospital, all they will say is, "That religious person!" The individual has thus transgressed the most severe of all sins, regarding which the Torah equates the unintentional with the intentional.

We thus have no choice. We must consider what others will say and think and avoid giving the wrong impression. Let us prevent even the slightest form of hillul Hashem, and increase public "kiddush Hashem" to the best of our ability.

Shabbat Shalom

Aryeh Deri

A Treasury of Halachot and Customs of the Festivals of Yisrael, Based on the Rulings of Rav Ovadia Yossef shlit"a
by Rav David Yossef shlit"a

The Customs of the Festival of Shavuot

The festival of Shavuot occurs on the sixth of Sivan, culminating the seven-week period of sefirat ha'omer (see Devarim 16:9-10). When Benei Yisrael were informed of their departure from Egypt, they also learned that they would receive the Torah fifty days after their departure, as Hashem had told Mosheh at the burning bush, "When you take the nation from Egypt you will serve…" (Shemot 3:12). The word "ta'avdun" ("you will serve") features an extra letter "nun" at the end (the normal construction is "ta'avdu," without the "nun"). The added "nun," whose numerical value equals fifty, alluded to the fact that Benei Yisrael would receive the Torah fifty days after their departure from Egypt. Out of their great love and yearning for the Torah, Benei Yisrael counted each day from their departure until the giving of the Torah. Their desire for Torah was so great that the fifty-day waiting period seemed like an awfully long time. In commemoration, we observe this period between Pesah and Shavuot as a period of counting.

The custom is to decorate the homes and Batei Kenesset with fragrant plants, flowers and roses in honor of Shavuot. There is also a custom to decorate the Sifrei Torah with crowns adorned with flowers. One basis for this practice is Hazal's comment (in Masechet Shabbat 88a) that after every utterance of the Almighty at Matan Torah the entire world was filled with the smell of fragrant spices. There is also a custom to spread branches of trees throughout the Batei Kenesset and homes to recall that, as Hazal teach us (Rosh Hashanah 16a),, on Shavuot we are judged with regard to the quality of the fruits. Although some authorities question the permissibility of this practice, as it may involve an imitation of gentile religious customs, the halachah follows the view that no such concern exists, and this custom should therefore be observed.

Some authorities maintain that on Shavuot night one must wait until after dark before reciting kiddush. The reason is that if one recites kiddush before the time we can consider definitively as nighttime, it is as if he has not completed the entire forty-nine days of "sefirah" before Shavuot. Others disagree and allow the recitation of kiddush even before sunset. It is preferable to follow the stringent view when possible. However, in locales where the sun sets very late during this season and waiting until nightfall would cause great discomfort to one's family as well as interfere with the traditional learning session on Shavuot night, then one may be lenient and recite kiddush and eat his Yom Tov meal earlier. Preferably, even those following the lenient view should wait until the beginning of sunset, when the sun is concealed from our view. Additionally, it is preferable to eat a "kezayit"- worth after dark.


"I will grant peace in the land"

"Should you say: we have food and drink, but if there is no peace there is nothing! The pasuk therefore states afterward, 'I will grant peace in the land.' From here we see that peace is equivalent to everything. It similarly says, 'Who makes peace and creates everything'" (Rashi).

Rabbenu Avraham Ibn Ezra adds one word to this pasuk: "I will grant peace in the land - among yourselves." An earlier pasuk - "You shall dwell securely in your land" - already promised peace with the surrounding nations. But the way things happen is that when an external enemy threatens, the nation comes together in unity. Once, however, the external threat no longer hovers over the nation, the internal friction and tensions are prone to burst forth. Indeed, divorce is more common among the wealthy and those without pressing concerns. We therefore need a special promise of internal peace, in addition to external peace.

"I will grant peace in the land"

Hazal comment (Masechet Derech Eress Zuta 9) that "peace is great" in that it is both the reason for Matan Torah and the result of Matan Torah. When Benei Yisrael came to Mount Sinai "as one person, with one heart," as the pasuk writes in the singular form, "Yisrael encamped there opposite the mountain," the Almighty said, "Since you despised discord and loved peace, the hour has arrived for Me to give you My Torah." Thus, peace marked the cause of Matan Torah. It is also the result, as when Hashem gave Benei Yisrael the Torah, He blessed them with peace, as it says, "Hashem will give His nation strength, Hashem will bless His nation with peace."

The mishnah in Masechet Ukssin (3:12) cites the following comment of Rabbi Shimon Ben Halafta: "The Almighty did not find a utensil capable of containing blessing for Yisrael like peace, as it says, 'Hashem will give His nation strength, Hashem will bless His nation with peace."

Avot D'Rabbi Natan (28:3) cites the comment of Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel: "Whoever brings peace into his home is considered by the pasuk as having brought peace to Yisrael - upon every individual."

It says in Masechet Derech Eress Zuta (1): "One who loves peace and pursues peace and greets others with peace and responds to greetings with peace, the Almighty bequeaths to him life in both this world and the next, as it says, 'The humble will inherit the land, they will delight in the abundant peace."

"I will grant peace in the land"

The Hid"a zs"l writes (in his work, "Ahavat David," 14) that a house in which there is contention is a "sanctuary" for the Satan. Indeed, the Gemara (Gittin 52b) records that the Satan would incite an argument between a certain pair of people every Erev Shabbat late in the afternoon. Rabbi Meir went there and stayed until he brought peace among them. He heard the Satan lament, "Woe, for Rabbi Meir has driven me from my home!" Hazal went very far in condemning strife, and we have no greater proof to the evil of strife than the incident of Korah.

On the other hand, Hazal also went very far is describing the greatness of peace - that it was the only utensil capable of containing blessing that Hashem could find. It is possible to explain that Torah itself is called "blessing," as Hazal (Temurah 16a) indicate. Benei Yisrael encamped at Har Sinai "as one man, with one heart" and thereby earned the Torah. This is perhaps what Hazal meant, that Hashem found no other utensil capable of containing the blessing of Torah other than peace, as it says, "Hashem will give His nation strength" - and "strength" refers to Torah (Zevahim 116a), when "Hashem will bless His nation with peace."

The Hid"a also writes (in the beginning of his work, "Mar'it Ha'ayin") that the first letters of the words, "Hashem yevarech et amo" (Hashem will bless His nation) have the same numerical value as the combined numerical value of the two Names of Hashem - "Havayah" and "Adnut," thus symbolizing the unity of the different Names of Hashem. The final letters of the words, "Hashem yevarech et" equals that of the phrase, "Mashiah ben David," for when true peace prevails among Am Yisrael, we will merit the unity of the two Names of Hashem and the arrival of Mashiah.


Rabbi Yihyeh Bedihi zs"l

In the Bet Midrash "Bet Salah" in the city of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, a city filled with scholars and scribes, God-fearing men, there was a central yeshivah that attracted the highest caliber of students. Rabbi Yihyeh Bedihi zs"l led the yeshivah, and he was remarkably proficient in all fields of Torah study. The imam who ruled at that time despised the Jews and constantly issued new decrees against them. He also sought to destroy the Jewish leader, and imprisoned Rabbi Yihyeh. He broke out of prison in miraculous fashion and fled to the town of Kvakban, where he taught Torah and built a generation of outstanding Torah scholars before returning to his town, after the death of the hostile imam.

He guided his students not only in Torah, but also with regard to pious conduct and purity. He once spoke to his students about the passage in the mishnah, "This is the way of Torah: you eat bread with salt, and you drink water in rations… if you do this, then fortunate are you in this world and it will be good for you in the world to come." He added emphasis to his comments by relating that the imam once called a gathering of the Jewish community and said, "I heard that you Jews are particularly talented merchants. I have a deal for you: purchase all the ashes in my possession!"

"Forgive us," the community spokesmen said, "but what will we do with all this ash?"

"That's your business," the imam replied, shrugging his shoulders indifferently. "I need the money."

Needless to say, a helpless negotiation ensued, as the Jews sought to lower the amount they would be required to pay. No matter what, they will have nothing to do with the "merchandise," but the more they could lower the price, they will have gained a profit.

"Similarly," Rav Yihyeh concluded, "the body has a wicked imam. We experience hunger and have large appetites, which bid us to sit and eat everything, to finish off everything on the plate. But the wise man knows to insist on lowering the amount as much as possible… "

Eliyahu Ben Masudah and Yis'hak Shaul Ben Leah

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