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Accepting Rebuke

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May 29, 2019
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לרפואת ר' מרדכי בן שרה בתוך שח"י



We know that the beginning of the transmission [sounds more like a "car" word than a Torah word] of the Torah was from Moshe to Yehoshua. How is Torah transmitted from Rebbe to Talmid?



Chazal say that the Sefer Devarim was tailor made for Yehoshua. What is the special relationship between Yehoshua and Sefer Devarim?



We learned in Parshas Lech Lecha that Sara afflicted Hagar and compelled her to flee. Why did Sara act in this way? Much ink has been spilled in an attempt to explain her behavior. One explanation offered is based on a gemara in Brachos [דף ח] that one should only live near his Rebbe if he is able to accept rebuke, otherwise he should distance himself. The gemara's language is כייף ליה - subordinate himself. A student must be willing to subordinate himself and accept rebuke from his Rebbe. Hagar wasn't willing to subordinate herself to Sara so Sara had to separate her from the aveira of not being receptive to her teacher and afflicted her until she fled [but see the explanation of the Ramban].



The explanation is as follows: The Mishna says that one must make sure that his deeds are greater than his wisdom. This law is extended to a Talmid-Rebbe relationship. There must be a complete willingness to accept rebuke from one's Rebbe in order that his good deeds should exceed his wisdom. If he is primarily interested in receiving his Rebbe's wisdom but not his rebuke he will be ignoring the teaching of the Mishna that one's deeds must exceed his wisdom. Such a person is interested in wisdom but not good deeds [which are a result of rebuke]. In such an instance there is a serious defect in the student's Kabbalas Hatorah.



We can find a source for this in the gemara in Brachos ['דף ה] that teaches that part of the Torah that Moshe gave us is the words of the Neviim. Rashi [towards the end of the first perek of Megilla] teaches that the purpose of the Neviim was to give the Jews rebuke. So we see that part and parcel of Kabbalas Hatorah was the concept of giving and receiving rebuke as illustrated by the giving of neviim which is essentially rebuke.



Now we can understand what is special about Sefer Devarim. The Sefer begins אלה הדברים אשר דיבר משה and Rashi says that Sefer Devarim is a book of rebuke given by Moshe to the Jewish people.



That explains the special relationship of Yehoshua to Sefer Devarim. He is the first in the link of the chain passing the Torah from Rebbe to Talmid. Therefore it was critical that he receive words of rebuke which really defines the way in which Torah is passed on. Without it there is no true Kabbalas Hatorah.




[Maran ztz"l Pachad Yitzchak Shvuos Maamar 45]




In our generation it is very hard for people to receive rebuke. Usually people get defensive and deflect it. A favorite pasuk of mine [Mishlei 15-31]:




אֹ֗זֶן שֹׁ֖מַעַת תּוֹכַ֣חַת חַיִּ֑ים בְּקֶ֖רֶב חֲכָמִ֣ים תָּלִֽין:




The ear that listens to reproof of life shall lodge among the wise.




And then:



פּוֹרֵ֣עַ מ֖וּסָר מוֹאֵ֣ס נַפְשׁ֑וֹ וְשׁוֹמֵ֥עַ תּ֜וֹכַ֗חַת ק֣וֹנֶה לֵּֽב:




He who rejects discipline despises his life, but he who hearkens to reproof acquires sense.




Rebuke hurts - but it's worth it!!😊😊



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שלש הערות בדברי מרן




א - רש"י כותב שאם לא כייף לרבו לא ידור במקומו לפי שעדיף שיהיו שוגגין ולא יהיו מזידין. לפי מרן זצ"ל אולי יש דרך אחרת בהסברת דברי הגמרא, דאם לא כייף לרבו לא ידור במקומו כי כל עצמו של קבלתו ממנו לקויה ופגומה ומעוותת. וכדי למנוע זאת עדיף שיתרחק ממנו. עי' בס' טוב רואי על מסכת ברכות כאן שהגראי"ה קוק מציע אף הוא פירוש חילופי בגמרא מתוך קושי שמצא בדברי רש"י.




ב - הגמרא נקטה דוגמה של שלמה שכל עוד שחי רבו, שמעי בן גרא, לא נשא את בת פרעה. הדוגמה של שלמה מלמדנו שאין המדובר כאן בקבלת חכמה כי שלמה היה חכם מכל אדם ומן הסתם לא היה זקוק לשמעי כדי לקבל את חכמתו אלא שעדיין היה זקוק לו לקבל תוכחתו.




ג- הרמב"ם והשו"ע לא הביאו חילוק זה של הגמרא בין כייף ליה ללא כייף ליה וצ"ע למה. עי' שו"ת דברי יציב או"ח סי' רכח.

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Learning on the Marcos and Adina Katz YUTorah site is sponsored today by Mordechai and Meira Schiffman in honor of Rabbi Rob Shur and in memory of Elaine Bienenfeld Silver z”l by her children and grandchildren