Sunday, March 13, 2011

Da Ma Sha Ta shav La Cha mar

It’s been well nigh 3,300 years since the world has encountered a talking donkey, yet in the Jblogosphere, there roams a beast who carries the burden of defending Torah values.

While many from the Torah world are afraid to enter the Jblog dens of iniquity, this brave soul, with the outside shell of a cowardly donkey, but the innards of a brave lion, battles fearlessly for Kavod HaTorah.

On his resurrected blog, he champions the innate difference between Good and Evil, Jews and non-Jews, Holy and the unHoly.

Whereas one might expect the bray of a donkey to be fundamentally incoherent, I find his good cheer and good humor along with his brilliant command of the English, Hebrew and Yiddish languages to be refreshing.

He is the very antithesis of this witty poem composed by Rabbi Avigdor Miller:

In a lion’s skin, an ass did hide
And no one knew, who was inside
Until himself, he did betray
By opening up his mouth to bray

And so I felt it was my sacred duty to answer a difficult question posed recently on his blog. To paraphrase:

There is a well known Segulah that one who lost something can give Tzedakah to Rav Meir Baal Haness and utter a magic incantation to discover the lost item. A lesser known Segulah for answering difficult questions in “learning” is to recite Parashas HaMenorah. Since there exists a well known the saying in the Talmud (Niddah 30b) that we learn the entire Torah in-Utero,

ואין לך ימים שאדם שרוי בטובה יותר מאותן הימים שנאמר מי יתנני כירחי קדם כימי אלוה ישמרני ואיזהו ימים שיש בהם ירחים ואין בהם שנים הוי אומר אלו ירחי לידה ומלמדין אותו כל התורה כולה שנאמר ויורני ויאמר לי יתמך דברי לבך שמור מצותי וחיה ואומר בסוד אלוה עלי אהלי מאי ואומר וכי תימא נביא הוא דקאמר ת"ש בסוד אלוה עלי אהלי וכיון שבא לאויר העולם בא מלאך וסטרו על פיו ומשכחו כל התורה כולה שנאמר לפתח חטאת רובץ
why can’t we use the first Segulah mentioned above and give charity and utter the incantation when we are stumped in our learning?

A noble question indeed. So I gave Tzedakah, Lained the Parashas HaMenorah, and this is what I came up with:

There is a little known Medrash which poses the following query: Suppose you have a fellow from long ago who is strolling along until he encounters a telephone-pole-like structure 200 feet tall. Perched perfectly on top is a huge diamond. Although ladders had not yet been invented , this man thinks of the concept, builds a ladder and secures the treasure. A similar story finds a second man from long ago, unbeknownst to the first, who peers down a deep 200 foot pit and discovers a diamond at the bottom. He also thinks of the concept of a ladder, builds one, and descends and ascends with the gem. The question is: Which one is the bigger genius?

According to the Medrash, the latter is wiser. For the first person knew that there had to be a method in which the stone was placed atop the pole, hence it was just a matter of figuring out how; whereas the latter person who discovered the gem in the pit wasn’t sure that there even was a way to get it back, as it simply may have fallen there. Even so, without knowing that there EXISTED a solution, he was able to figure it out.

Sometimes someone poses a riddle and asks for the answer. Knowing that there IS an answer, is half the battle. Yet sometimes we seek a solution to a complex question and we are not ever sure that one exists.

So perhaps that can answer our conundrum. If one loses his keys, he knows that he left them somewhere, it is just a matter of time and energy to locate them. Whereas a difficult Ketzos – maybe there is no logical answer. In this case, the only solution is Parashas Hamenorah. Perhaps the light of the Menorah will cast it’s beacon and direct us to places and answers that we’ve never been to, seen of, or thought of before.


  1. I saw your answer to the Menorah question on the Hamavdil blog. If you have such good terutzim, you should be spending your time in collel, not here.

  2. That is a nice Midrash. Does anyone know it's source?

  3. Excellent tsushtel and gorgeous Midrash. There is a solution to everything though some will have to wait for Eliyahu.

    One could also be mekhalek between the seemingly insoluble Torah dilemmas that are too high and those that are too deep.

    I am a Cha-mor not a Cha-mar unlesss you consider me fine wine or Chamar medinah- Co-Cola.

    I am a terrible coward and I don't like that about myself. Why you keep insisting that doing what I do on DovBear requires any courage is beyond me. rashness perhaps but courage?

    My blog is not resurrected, more like a zombie going out for an intermittent stroll.

    Is the Rav Miller poem in the video clip or from another source. If the latter please provide.

    i hope that the posts title is not implying that you consider me a Apikores.

  4. Shkoyakh for the attentiveness and attention and generally positive tone. very flattering indeed.

  5. the wisdom of the latter may be an expression of the Briskian paradigm
    ניט צו זאגען תירוצים נאר א וועק צו מאכען די קשיא

  6. Yes, I know you are a Chamor, but my only vowel that was working when I did the Title was my "a". :-)

    It takes courage to sully oneself in the mundane. Akin to Kiruv Rechokim individuals who must leave the Koslei BhM and it's purity to grovel in the world at large.

    Blog looks resurrected to me.

    I heard this "Rabbi Miller" quote from one of the old timers who used to Daven in his Shul.

    You are not an Apikores. Just playing along. I did not mean to imply otherwise.

    Is the answer satisfactory?

  7. Other possible answers:

    1. Maybe the Rav Meib Baal Haness Sequlah only works with "physical" objects.

    2. The Kol HaTorah Kulah that we are taught in-utero might only include Tenach, Gemara, Sifra, Sifrei...but perhaps at some point there is a cut-off, maybe Rishonim, Acharonim etc. are not included.

  8. Physical aveidos are but a mere metaphor for the ultimate aveida; the Torah that we lost.


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