X hide this box (for printing)

Print Options

Choose Commentaries:

Max+ High Med Min None


Choose Language(s):

English Hebrew Both

+ Increase Font Size   |   - Decrease Font Size
<<Back to Pirkei Avot Page
Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers
with a select treasury of commentaries on all levels of Torah interpretation
Chapter 1 Mishna 13
with select commentaries


Abbreviations used in this translation:
RSHI - Rashi Commentary (1040-1105)
RMBM - Rambam (1135-1204)
BRTN - Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura Commentary (1445-1515)
TFRT - Tiferet Yisrael commentary (1782–1860)
YONA - Rabeinu Yonah (1180-1263)
MHRL - Derech Chaim - Maharal of Prague (1525-1609) (from hebrewbooks.org/14193)
VLNA - Biur HaGra of Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna - (1720-1797)

Commentary Legend:
- for basic commentaries as relating to the plain meaning (Pshat).
- elaborates more into the theme.
- deeper in, Maharal of Prague.
- more themes in the text.

Chapter 1 Mishna 13פרק א משנה יג
 
He would also say: one who seeks a name, loses his name. One who does not increase, ceases. One who does not study incurs death. And one who makes [personal] use of the crown (of Torah) perishes. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, נָגֵד שְׁמָא, אָבֵד שְׁמֵהּ. וּדְלֹא מוֹסִיף, יָסֵף. וּדְלֹא יָלֵיף, קְטָלָא חַיָּב. וּדְאִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּתָגָא, חָלֵף.

Bartenura - "one who seeks a name, loses his name" - one whose name extends out far due to dominion and rulership over others (Sherara and Rabbanut) - his name will be lost swiftly, since "Woe to rulership (rabbanut), for it buries its possessor" (Pesachim 87b).
Rabeinu Yonah - "one who seeks a name, loses his name" - i.e. a man who prides himself (adam hamitgaei) and his name becomes famous and goes out to the world through his arrogance and aggrandization and he makes a great name for himself, "like the name of the great ones that are in the earth" (Divrei HaYamim I 17:8), then proportionally to his great name which spread out through his arrogance, so too, his name will be lost a great loss and will not be remembered nor mentioned.
Sforno - "one who seeks a name, loses his name" - one who strives to make his name famous in the world to obtain honor, "loses his name". Honor runs away from him.
Rashi - "one who seeks a name, loses his name" - every person whose name goes out and he ascends to a high position, his death is near, as they said earlier by Yosef (who died before his brothers)...
Translator - from the commentaries, it seems the reason is because of arrogance and "power corrupts". But Rashi says "every person", and brings the example of Yosef who stayed righteous even after becoming viceroy of Egypt (see Rashi on Shemot 1:5). Thus, it is not just because of arrogance, etc. "Woe to rulership (rabbanut), for it buries its possessor" applies even to those who stay righteous.

The Chasdei David explains that one in a position of authority receives "ayin hara" (evil eye) from people and as the Talmud says in Bava Metzia 107b:
"Rav went to the graveyard, did what he did and reported that 99 percent of the dead there died from ayin harah (before his time) while only 1 percent died from natural means (at his time)."
Thus, one who attains a position of authority receives lots of ayin hara and dies quickly. see Maharal for another explanation.
Bartenura - "one who does not increase, ceases" - he who does not add on to his [torah] study will cease (yasuf) from his mouth even what he already learned and he will forget his (torah) learning. some have the text "ye'asef", i.e. he wil be gathered to his people and will die before his time.

"he who does not study incurs death" - this is worse than one who does not increase. Therefore he incurs death, i.e. he deserves to be killed, as they said: "it is permitted to rip apart an 'am haaretz' like a fish" (Pesachim 49b).

"uses the crown (of Torah) perishes (chalaf)" - one who uses the crown of torah like a man who uses his tools, passes (chalaf) over the world.. some render: he who uses the Shem Hameforash (kabalistic Name of G-d) passes over and loses his portion in Olam Haba.
Rashi - "one who does not study (yalef).." - (yalef also means teach), he who does not teach every asker (melamed lekol shoel) - incurs death.

"uses the crown (of Torah) perishes" - he who uses torah scholars.. dies in half his days because he annulled them from delving in love of torah.
Rambam - he who does not study much (marbei b'kria), Hash-em will kill him. But for one who does not learn [torah] at all, it is proper to kill him. He who "uses the crown perishes", i.e. he who receives a livelihood from torah or some benefit.. it is not permitted for a talmid chacham to receive service (shimush) from any human being besides his students.
Rabeinu Yonah - "one who does not increase, ceases" - he who is a chacham (wise man) and does not want to increase wisdom on his wisdom and says to himself: "I have already learned the whole torah and saw its ways and paths. Why should I trouble myself to toil further during my vain days? What should I contemplate further that I do not already know?"
May it be G-d's will that this man die and be gathered to his people. Why should he live further after he has halted from learning further? (translator: since the more he lives, the more he incurs sin for wasting his time).

"One who does not study deserves death" - but he who did not learn altogether is compared to an animal. For why was he created in the world if not to understand and teach torah, "whose ways are ways of pleasantness" (Mishlei 3:17). This person who did not toil in torah all of his days and still holds on to his wickedness, it is not proper for him to live even one day and even one hour. (translator: as before, the more he lives, the more he incurs sin for wasting his time)
Translator - note that this mishna was written in Aramaic. I read once that this is because it is harsh words and curses.

The Tosfot Yom Tov in chapter 5 brings the Midrash Shmuel in the name of Rabbenu Ephraim saying "that because Torah is something that people greatly need, Ben Bag Bag said his dictum in Aramaic, which everyone knew upon their return from Babylon. Hillel did so as well, in the mishna of 'and he who does not learn' (1:13)"
Sforno - "one who does not increase, ceases" - for when one does not strive to increase knowledge (daat), it is not proper for him to have "temporary life" (chayei shaah) of this world. For its matters is only for [obtaining] eternal life, as our sages said: "this world is like a corridor before the World to Come" (Avot 4:16).

"one who does not study (yalef).." - (yalef also means teach) one who does not teach knowledge to the people and withholds grain, "deserves death", as written: "He who keeps back grain (torah) - the nation will curse him" (Mishlei 11:26).

"And one who makes [personal] use of the crown of Torah perishes (chalaf)" - one whose purpose in torah is to obtain honor and benefits in "temporary life" [of this world], "chalaf", deserves to die as one who profanes the holy and uses it for the mundane (kimechalel et hakodeh umishtamesh bo bedivrei chol), as written:

"They shall keep My charge and not bear a sin by [eating] it [while unclean] and thereby die through it since they will have profaned it" (Vayikra 22:9).

Rather, the benefit in "temporary life" (chayei shaah) which comes from torah should be aligned towards allowing oneself to strive to obtain eternal life (chayei olam). Similar to: "[And he commanded the inhabitants of Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites] in order that they be strengthened in the Torah of the L-ord'" (Divrei Hayamim II 31:4)
Tosfot Yom Tov - "uses the crown (taga) [of Torah] perishes" - taga refers to the crown of torah. the reason he said "crown" without specifying "of torah", is because a stam (plain) crown refers to the crown of torah. For all crowns besides it are as nothing.
Mili D'Avot - "crown" (taga) - b'taga , i.e. crown. For just like a flesh and blood king places on his head a gold crown full of saphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and other precious stones for honor and glory, so too the Holy One, blessed be He, His crown is the torah. For "it is more precious than pearls, and all your desirable things cannot be compared to it" (Mishlei 3:15).

And just like anyone who uses the crown of a king is immediately sentenced to death, so too one who uses the crown of torah and makes it into a tool for himself incurs death and deserves to be cut off from the world. This is the meaning of "passes (chalaf)", as in "If He passes (yachalif) and confines and assembles, who can hinder Him?" (Iyov 11:10).
Toldot Yehoshua - incurs death (katla chayiv)" - the term "katla chayiv" implies death by sword. For "katla" is the targum (translation) of "hereg" (death), and stam hereg is death by sword, and we learned: "a sword comes to the world through perversion of justice, and perversion of torah interpretation..", since he did not learn.
Chasid Yaavetz "chalaf" - (another hint) from the term chalipin (exchange), namely, he exchanges what he took in this world with what he should have taken in Olam Haba.
Ben Ish Chai - Birkat Avot - "one who uses the crown (taga) perishes (chalaf)", i.e. with arrogance, as a tag (crown) which is on the head. Namely, he uses and conducts himself with pride and arrogance. This is "chalaf". As the term "chalipin". For you already know what our teacher, Rav Chaim Vital zt'l said, that arrogance is the "root that bears bitterness and wormwood" (Devarim 29:18), the root for all sins of the torah.

Once a person clings to arrogance, he will go out from one evil to another, as explained at length in Shaarei Kedusha. Without a doubt, such a person will eventually stumble in many sins. Then, every mitzvah he has will be exchanged (chalipin) for the sins of his fellow, as our sages said: "if he merits, he will take his portion and his fellow's portion in Gan Eden. But if he is not meritorious, he will take his portion and his fellow's portion in Gehinom.." (Chagigah 15a). This is the meaning of "chalaf", he will exchange his portion of Gan Eden for his fellow's portion in Gehinom.
Rabeinu Yitzchak - one who uses the crown of torah to pride himself or to use it as a tool for work - chalaf (passes) and is lost from the world. We find Belshatzar incurred death [by Heaven] for using the vessels of the temple of G-d. All the more so for one who uses the crown of torah (Nedarim 62a).. Another interpretation, one who uses torah scholars, who are the crown of torah, as written there: "why was Avraham punished that his descendants were slaves in Egypt? Because he made an angaria (armed soldiers) of torah scholars who are the crown of torah (Nedarim 62a). Alternatively, one who uses holy Names..
Tiferet Yisrael - he who wants to expand out and aggrandize his name in the world, that his reputation go out and that he rule in his city over everyone, then this is his punishment: "loses his name". For since he wanted honor that was not befitting him, he will lose even the little honor that he had previously, as our sages said: "whoever chases after honor, honor flees away from him" (Eiruvin 13a)..

The general principle: whoever prides himself becomes disappointed. For he thinks that if he runs after honor, people will honor him and if he conducts himself with humility people will debase him.

But it is really the opposite. One who seeks humility will find honor, while one who seeks honor will find shame. For even at his time of power, those before him will pretend [to flatter him] with their tongues but will scorn him in their hearts. Everyone will laugh at him behind his back and call him a fool and an arrogant imbecile. They will fight him and not let him raise his head. Likewise, "From heaven they fought him; the stars from their courses fought.." (Judges 5:20) to lower and debase him. For the Holy One, blessed be He, and the public hate the arrogant person and see him as an abomination. Even if he possesses all beautiful traits, they will only be as extinguished candles when they don't shine with the light of humility from above. For without humility, they will be viewed by everyone as "a gold ring in a pig's snout" (Mishlei 11:22).

The second characteristic of the arrogant person is that he does not want to learn and increase wisdom. Either because he thinks he knows enough. Or because his teachers are lowly in his eyes or because he fears the teacher will see through his deceptive foolishness. On this he said: "he who does not increase" in his learning, his punishment will be that he is gathered in before his time. For the purpose of life is to increase Shelemut (virtue/perfection). And this person who imagines that he already perfected himself sufficiently, why should he have life?

The third characteristic of the arrogant person is that he refuses to teach others what he knows more than them. For he thinks that if he teaches others his knowledge, with what will he have an upper hand over them? Sometimes it is because the student is too lowly in his eyes to bother dealing with him. On this he said: "one who does not study/teach deserves death". As our sages said on the verse: "many has she slayed" (Proverbs 7:26) - this refers to one who reached the level of teaching (torah) but does not. He is like one who removes the nipple from the babies, causing their death. Therefore, his punishment is death.

This is not just for torah. But rather whoever knows something that is beneficial to the world must publicize it unless he needs this (secret) for his livelihood. This is as Rabbi Yochanan who expended much effort to learn refuah tzafidna (special healing), and when he knew it, he immediately taught it to the public (Yomah 84a). Likewise for Ben Kamtzar and his friends who did not want to make their knowledge known, it was said on them: "but the name of the wicked shall rot" (Yomah 38b).

The fourth characteristic of the arrogant person is that all deeds and acts of righteousness and kindness he does are in order to pride himself (lehitgaot) in the eyes of the public. His intent is not to serve Hash-em. But rather to serve himself like idolatry.

Therefore his punishment is "chalaf" (pass over), i.e. one who uses the holy crown to support the bucket of his foul arrogance, will also have his honor profaned. It will chalaf and pass like the shadow of a bird flying overhead and he will not reach the paths to life.
Ruach Chaim - even though at first one is forced to learn even for ulterior motives (shelo lishma). For a man cannot possibly climb up to the highest rungs in the ladder unless he first places his foot on the lowest rung.

Thus, the servant who was commanded by his master to climb the ladder does not transgress by stepping on the lowest rung. But afterwards, if he does not budge from his place and does not strive to climb further up and he just goes up and down, up and down, from the ground to the lowest rung continuously - he is rebelling against his master. This is the meaning of "one who does not increase", to ascend up, "ceases".

Perhaps a man will say: "since it is impossible for the beginning of my learning to be lishma (with proper intent), and learning shelo lishma incurs great punishment, therefore, I will sit idle and won't learn at all".

On this he said: "One who does not study deserves death". One must learn even though it will sometimes be not l'Shem Shamayim (not for the sake of Heaven). Only that he should see that from this he will come afterwards to lishma (properly), as our sages said: "a person should always toil in torah.. even not lishma. For from not lishma, he will come to lishma" (Pesachim 50b), i.e. that one learns even not lishma. However, in the manner and intent (ofen v'kaana) that through this he will come to the level of lishma.

He said "one who does not increase, ceases", i.e. if he does not add on to his learning, he will forget even what he learned already.

We will explain further according to the verse: "to the intelligent person, the path of life is above, in order that he turn away from the Sheol (grave) below" (Mishlei 15:24). For a man tells himself sometimes: "I will not strive for great levels. It is enough for me if I stand guard at my place, holding on to my innocence and fear of G-d. I will not try to increase further".

But in truth it is not so. For it is impossible for a man to stand in one place. If he does not go up, perforce he will fall down. Therefore, it is written: "To the intelligent person, the path of life is above". For if he does not ascend perforce he descends to the Sheol (grave, Gehinom). This is the meaning of "one who does not increase, ceases".
Rabbi Avraham Azoulai - Ahava b'Taanugim - after he said last mishna: "and draws them closer torah", he came to clarify how one's learning should be and one's intent in torah study.

There are many types of torah students.

One type learns torah properly and increases to understand (deduce) one thing from another (umosif l'havin davar mitoch davar), but his intent in his learning is in order to make a name for himself in the world.

Corresponding to this, he said: "one who seeks a name, loses his name", i.e. the man who draws out his name, namely, his aspiration (megamato) and goal is for the good name itself, then, not only will he not find the name he seeks to draw out, but even whatever good name he had previously will be lost. This is the meaning of "loses his name", and he will be left bald from here and here (yishaer kerach mikan u'mikan).

Rather, the just way is to only seek to attain wholeness in and of its own good because it is the good (shelemut mitzad atzmo bema shehu tov), and the good name and honor wil come on its own, as written: "a good name is better than good oil" (Kohelet 7:1).

A second type of learner is the opposite of this. He does not at all want to add on what he learned with his Rav and does not want to understand (deduce) one thing from another. This is the meaning of "One who does not increase, ceases".

For one who does not try to increase on what he learned from his Rav "ceases", i.e. he will be cut off quickly from that shelemut (perfection) and learning. For this shows that his goal is not the shelemut itself. Only that the public should think he is a wise man. In hearing that from others, he is satisfied.

A third type does not want to learn at all - "incurs death", he will not succeed.

Another type learns in order to derive benefit from his learning. He makes his learning secondary (tafel) to the [material] benefit he receives to his body, but not to make a name for himself.

This person will be cut off from the world. For the purpose of all [material] good things is to attain the ultimate good, namely, torah study. This person who did the opposite will be cut off from the world, for it would have been better for him had he not been created... (see there for other explanations).
Maharal - "one who seeks a name (na'ged shema), loses his name (avad shemei)" - "sherara" (rulership) is called "na'ged" as in "ruler (nagid) over His people" (Shmuel I 13). Thus, he said "na'ged shema" (seeks a name) on "sherara" (rulership), which is a term connoting continuance and permanence. But this name is not befitting to "Sherara". Rather, it should be called by the name "avad" (lost/destruction), as we explained earlier. For it causes destruction to its possessor, as they said: "woe to Rabbanut (dominion) for it buries its possessor" (Pesachim 87b).

Thus he did not use the same term "neged shema aved shema" (shin-mem-aleph both times) or neged shemeih aved shemeih (shin-mem-yud-heh both times, rather he switched terms. First one, then the other).

That is to say: "the name of sherara is "na'ged" (ruler). But this is not the appropriate name that is befitting it completely. Rather it should be called 'aved' (lost/destruction), since the baal sherara is lost through it".

We can also explain this as going on the baal sherara (person of authority) himself: "it is not proper for sherara to be called "na'ged", which connotes permanence. For, the name of the baal sherara (person of authority) is 'aved' (lost/destruction), and since the name of the baal sherara is 'aved' (lost), it is not proper for sherera to be called "na'ged" which connotes permanence...

You should know further, that which Rabanut (dominion) buries its possessor is because man receives life and existence (chiyut v'kiyum) from Hash-em, blessed be He, who is the living G-d and who bestows life and existence to all that is exists.

Thus, whoever lowers himself and makes himself into a receiver, such a person is fit to receive life from Hash-em, blessed be He. But the baal sherera who rules over others and does not make himself into a "receiver", but instead acts and rules (poel u'moshel) over others, he does not receive the continuance and the life (kiyum v'chaim).

For to receive life one needs to be a receiver of the life which Hash-em bestows constantly to man. For man exists only through Him, blessed be He, and the essence of the life itself is the receiving, that one receives the life. Thus, Hash-em is called the "source of life" (mekor haChaim). For a source always bestows. So too, Hash-em bestows life continuously to human beings like this source. Thus, whoever lowers himself receives continuance (kiyum) from Hash-em on Whom everything depends upon. But the Rabanut and Sherera (dominion) does not make itself into a receiver. It only makes itself into a ruler over others. Therefore, it is not fit for the Chiyut (life) as we explained. We will explain further soon.

On what he said "One who does not increase, ceases" - for torah is the opposite of Sherera. Through the torah, man clings to Him, blessed be He, as we explained elsewhere at length. Therefore, on the torah, it is written: "for it is your life and the length of your days" (Devarim 30:20). Due to this, torah is the complete opposite of Sherera. For torah is the essence of life (etzem hachaim). Thus, "one who does not increase, ceases. One who does not study incurs death".

The explanation is that if one does not increase to be toiling in torah, he will "cease", i.e. he will die before his time.

This is as we explained elsewhere that man is called "Adam" due to his being from the ground (adama), which is of physicality (baalat chomer). Therefore man needs to increase in the intellectual torah (torah sichlit) which is the opposite of physicality (chomer) and which is the life (chiyut) of man.

And also though torah, man has clinging (deveikut) with Him, blessed be He, as we explained in several places. For if not for the torah, man who is of physicality (baal chomer) would not have any clinging (deveikut) to Him, blessed be He. Therefore, in the torah is the life. This is the meaning of "he who does not increase, ceases".

The explanation of: "one who does not increase" is that he is not exerting and toiling (yaga v'amel) in torah. Even though he learns torah, only that he does not toil in the matter (amal b'davar) and does not strengthen the intellect over the physical on which clings inexistence (eino magbir hasechel al hachomer shedavek bo hahe'eder). Therefore, "ceases".

"but one who does not study" - i.e. he does not learn at all, by justice he incurs death (chayiv b'din katla).

For he distances himself from the torah. Such a man is against (mitnaged) to the torah and brings death on himself, since he distances himself from it.

Likewise they said "why are the words of the Torah compared to a ruler (Nagid)? To tell you: just as a Nagid has power of life and death, so have the words of the Torah [powers] of life and death; [On this Raba said; To those who go to the right hand thereof it is an elixir of life; to those who go to the left hand thereof it is a deadly poison]." (Shab.88b).

The nagid executes through the judicial power. Therefore, he said "incurs death (katla chayiv)", i.e. by justice, because he distanced from the torah.

... through the torah, man clings to G-d, blessed be He. It is as an intermediary between the Holy One, blessed be He, and man, until through the torah man receives the life (hachaim). And when man distances from the torah through which is the clinging to G-d, blessed be He, he shortens his days and years...

"one who makes use of the crown (of Torah) chalaf (passes)" the explanation is that he passes from the world because the torah has divine holiness (kedusha Elokit), just like everything holy whereby the Name of Heaven is upon it (Shem Shamayim chal alav). And one who derives benefit from something which the Name of Heaven is upon it, his judgment is as one who takes benefit from Kodashim (temple offerings), namely, he incurs death.

The reason he incurs death is as follows. A man is a possessor of a body and of physicality (adam hu baal guf v'chomer). And [thus] it is not proper for him to join to something which is holy and separated (nivdal) from man, and which is a portion of Heaven (chelek Shamayim).

As you will find, when man joins with the upper things (elyonim) which do not have a [physical] body, death will come to him. For example: "We shall surely die, because we have seen G-d" (Shoftim 13).

For physical man does not have existence (metziut) with the transcendental (nivdalim). Thus when man joins to derive benefit from that which is a portion of Heaven, he incurs death.

Thus he said: "he who uses the crown (of Torah) passes". For the torah is transcendental intellect and separate (sichlit v'nivdelet) from man, who is of physicality, and who thus has no existence (metziut) with the torah.

Thus he said: "crown (of Torah) passes" for through the crown of majesty (malchut) which is on the king's head, he is separated from the people, as is known regarding a [human] king..

So too for the torah. It is the transcendent intellect (sechel) in man's head. It is the separated intellect (sechel nivdal).

Therefore, torah scholars are called "kings", as written: "Whence do you learn that the Rabbis are called kings? He replied; Because it is written (Mishlei 8:15): 'by me [the torah] kings reign'" (Gitin 62b).

This matter (mentioned above) causes that one who derives benefit from the torah which is the transcendent intellect (sechel nivdal) incurs death.

In tractate Nedarim (60a):
Rebbi Tarfon was found by a man eating [of the figs] when most of the knives had been folded, [whereupon] he threw him into a sack and carried him, to cast him in the river. 'Woe to Tarfon,' he cried out, 'whom this man is about to murder!' When the man heard this, he abandoned him and fled.

Rebbi Abbahu said in the name of Rebbi Hananiah ben Gamliel: "All his lifetime that pious man grieved over this, saying. 'Woe is me that I made [profane] use of the crown of the Torah!' For Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Yohanan's name: "Whoever puts the crown of the Torah to [profane] use, is uprooted from the world".

This follows by logical inference (kal v'chomer): If Belshazzar, who used the holy vessels which had become profaned, as it is written: "For the robbers shall enter into it, and profane it" (Yechezkel 7:22) [teaching], since they had broken in, they were profaned; yet he was uprooted from the world, as it is written: "in that night was Belshazzar slain" (Daniel 5:30). How much more so he who makes [profane] use of the crown of the Torah, which endures forever!". end quote.

Thus, one who uses for himself that which is transcendent and holy is pushed off (nidche) and uprooted (ne'ekar) from the world. For when two things with no connection come together, the lesser one is pushed off since it has no existence (metziut) with the transcendent (nivdal) one...

He said this here because he said earlier: "one who seeks a name, loses his name". The opposite of this is the torah "One who does not increase, ceases".

He further comes to say that the primary Sherara (rulership) is not one who conducts himself in Rabbanut. Rather, the primary rulership is the crown of torah. This thing (of increasing torah) is called rulership and not any other rulership [is true rulership]. For one who uses for himself the crown of torah "chalaf" (passes) from the world...

After Hillel said these things, he said that a man should not consider himself a possessor of high levels and a possessor of torah (baal maala u'baal torah). Thus, he should strive to acquire torah. For through torah he will be considered a possessor of high levels (baal maala). This is what he continues "If I am not for myself, who will be for me", i.e. if a man does not perfect (mashlim) himself with torah and mitzvot, "who will be for me". For the torah and mitzvot others do are not going to help and perfect him... (continued next mishna)
Ben Ish Chai - Birkat Avot - (kabalistic) "one who seeks (neged) a name (Shema), loses his name" - this hints to the shin-mem (340) nitzutzot (sparks) that need to be separated out (levarer), and when all of them are separated out the name of the Sitra Achra wil be annulled and only the letters of the holy Name - El (Aleph-Lamed) will remain. Thus, "neged shema", hinting to the Shin-Mem nitzutzot which are gematria Shema (with kolel). And "neged" means to draw out, as in: "A river of fire was flowing and emerging (neged) from before Him" Daniel 7:10. The intent is when the shin-Mem nitzutzot will be drawn out completely, then Aved Shemei (the name will be lost) of the Sitra Achra.

Another interpretation, neged also means separation, as in "Cut down the tree" (gudo ilana)" (Daniel 4:11). The intent is he who blemishes and separates Yud-Heh from Vav-Heh, this is "neged shema", measure for measure, his name wil be lost. For it is known that the letters of a man's name are his life channels (tzinurot hahiyut), as the Rav Arvei Nachal writes on the verse "each living thing, that was its name" (Gen.2:19), see there.

"one who does not increase, ceases" - i.e. a man needs to join and combine (leshalev) the Shem Havaya with the Shem Adnut. This is "one who does not increase (udlo mosif)", namely, if he does not add (holiness), then "yosif" (cease, the word "yosif" can also be rendered as "adds"), i.e. he will at least "add" to the Sitra Achra. Alternatively, if he does not add on the holiness by separating out the nitzutzot of holiness, yasif (he will die).

And if you ask: "but what can he do? He did not learn properly and does not know on the Sod Hash-em, to combine and join (leshalev u'lechaber) the Shem Ha'vaya with the Shem A-donai, and he also does not know how to separate out (levarer) the sparks of holinesss properly and raise them to the holiness?"

On this he said: "one who does not study incurs death". Who told him not to learn? Is not the torah open to all? Let him come and learn. And even one who did not learn in his youth, nevertheless, he can learn afterwards. He should at least learn the seder avodah, as we were taught by the righteous teacher.