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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld


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QUESTION: The Gemara teaches two differences between the world as it is now and the world as it will be in the future.

First, the Gemara cites the verse, "On that day, Hash-m will be One and His name will be One" (Zecharyah 14:9), and asks is He not One even in this world? The Gemara answers that the World to Come is not like this world. In this world, the blessing "ha'Tov veha'Meitiv" is recited upon good tidings, and "Dayan ha'Emes" upon bad tidings. In the World to Come, only the blessing "ha'Tov veha'Meitiv" will be recited (because there will be no bad tidings, as Rashi explains).

Second, the Gemara continues and asks that the verse says, "And His name will be One" -- is His name not One even in this world? The Gemara answers that the World to Come is not like this world. In this world, Hash-m's name is written one way but pronounced another. In the World to Come, His name will be pronounced the same way that it is written.

RASHI (Devarim 6:4) writes another difference between this world and the next world. Rashi quotes the Sifri on the verse "Shema Yisrael Hash-m Elokeinu Hash-m Echad." He explains that "Hash-m Elokeinu" means that the G-d Who is presently our G-d and not acknowledged as the G-d of the other nations will be in the future "Hash-m Echad," one G-d over all of the nations, as the verse says, "At that time I shall cause all of the nations to call out in the name of Hash-m" (Tzefanyah 3:9). Similarly, the verse states, "On that day Hash-m will be One, and His name will be One" (Zecharyah 14:9).

The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 5) writes that when one utters the name of Hash-m, both meanings -- the meaning of the name as it is pronounced (that Hash-m is the "Master of the world") and the meaning of the name as it is written (that He has always existed and is above time) -- should be borne in mind.

However, the VILNA GA'ON (in BI'UR HA'GRA there) disagrees. He contends, based on numerous sources, that it is necessary to bear in mind only the meaning of the name as it is pronounced, "Master of the world." He adds, however, that the verse of Shema Yisrael is an exception, and when one utters the name in Shema Yisrael he should bear in mind both meanings.

Why is the verse of Shema Yisrael different from all prayers and blessings, according to the Vilna Ga'on?

ANSWER: RAV YITZCHAK HUTNER zt'l (in PACHAD YITZCHAK, Yom Kippur 5, Pesach 60 (and notes to Pesach 5:2), Shavuos 25:9) offers a penetrating insight based on the Gemara here.

Rav Hutner explains that the three differences between this world and the next as described by the Gemara here and by Rashi in Devarim are inherently related to each other. In this world, we do not perceive things the way they really are; reality is blurred, and Hash-m's presence is not clearly recognized by all. If we would be able to see Hash-m's good and perfection clearly, His true essence as One would be obvious. In the World to Come, reality will no longer be blurred, and it will be apparent to all that everything is good. At that time, the nations of the world will proclaim Hash-m's Oneness together with us.

This is alluded to by the difference between the way Hash-m's name is spelled and the way it is pronounced. The pronunciation that we use today connotes a Creator Who is partially hidden from the world. He is like a master who lets his slaves work while he supervises from a distance. In the World to Come, we will pronounce Hash-m's name as it is written, because that name connotes His presence as evident to all and His essence as inseparable from all of existence. (See RAMBAN, beginning of Parshas Va'era, and MESHECH CHOCHMAH, beginning of Parshas Bechukosai.)

Accordingly, all manifestations of Hash-m's attribute as "One" are based on the clarity of Hash-m's presence that will be evident in the World to Come.

The truth is that even in this world it is possible, to a certain degree, to disperse the clouds that blur man's perception and understanding of reality and to feel the omnipresence of the Divine will. This is because even in this world, no true "bad" or "injustice" is ever wrought. Everything that transpires is the Divine design and is intended to be for our ultimate good (see Berachos 60b). Although the ultimate purpose behind what occurs in this world is often hidden from our perception, the reality is that it is the Divine plan. When we strive to recognize the Divine plan and to accept it, we gain a "glimpse" of the Creator.

The moment at which it is most imperative that we experience the clarity of the presence of Hash-m is when we declare, "Shema Yisrael Hash-m Elokeinu Hash-m Echad," and proclaim the Oneness of Hash-m. As Rashi explains, this exclamation expresses our longing for the world in which Hash-m's presence will be fully revealed and He will be recognized as One. When we recite this verse, we attempt to gain clarity of Hash-m's Oneness in this world of confusion by finding the hidden, inherent good that exists in everything that happens and that exists in this world. Accordingly, it is appropriate that we preserve in this verse the meaning of Hash-m's name as it is written, and not only as it is pronounced.

(See also Insights to Pesachim 56:2, Berachos 63:1, and Rosh Hashanah 32:3.)



QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa that teaches that one who works on Erev Shabbos after Minchah time will see no blessing from his labor. The Gemara quotes a second Beraisa that teaches a similar lesson. "There is one who toils and gains, one who toils and loses, one who is lazy and gains, and one who is lazy and loses. The one who toils and gains is the one who works all week except for Erev Shabbos. The one who toils and loses is the one who works all week and on Erev Shabbos. The one who is lazy and gains is the one who does not work all week, and he does not work on Erev Shabbos either. The one who is lazy and loses is the one who does not work all week but he works on Erev Shabbos."

Rava adds that the women of Mechuza are considered like the "one who is lazy and gains." Even though they do not work during the week because they are lazy and indulgent, they also do not work on Erev Shabbos.

What lesson does Rava want to teach that is not included in the Beraisa? (RIF in Ein Yakov)

ANSWER: The RIF explains that the Beraisa teaches that even a Mitzvah she'Lo Lishmah is considered a Mitzvah. That is why one who refrains from work on Erev Shabbos because of his laziness, and not because of the Mitzvah to refrain from work at that time, is considered to have "gained" the Mitzvah nonetheless.

However, we might have thought that he is credited with the Mitzvah she'Lo Lishmah only when he has no motive at all behind his idleness. He does not intend to fulfill the Mitzvah by refraining from work, but he also has no other motive in refraining from work. If, however, he has another motive in refraining from work, perhaps he is not considered to have done any Mitzvah at all.

Therefore, Rava adds that even the women of Mechuza, who refrain from work because they like to indulge in pleasure, are still credited with the Mitzvah. Rava teaches that when the Beraisa says that a Mitzvah done she'Lo Lishmah is considered a Mitzvah, that is true not only when one does the act of the Mitzvah without intention to fulfill the Mitzvah, but even when one does the act of the Mitzvah with specific intention to accomplish something else with the act.


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