web analytics
June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part IV)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

 

* * *

Let us now address how to appropriately react to our fellow man in whom we perceive a weakness or possible wrongdoing. The Gemara (Sotah 47a) relates that Elisha the prophet suffered three illnesses in the course of his life. One was a direct punishment for having incited bears to attack the youths who mocked him (II Kings 2:23-24). (He received this punishment even though Rashi notes that Elisha was able to see that no descendant of worth was destined to come from these children.) The second illness was due to his having pushed away Gechazi, his trusted aide, with “two hands” (ibid., 5:27), i.e., Elisha totally rejected Gechazi. The third was the final illness from which Elisha died (ibid., 13:14).

The Gemara discusses in detail why Elisha’s treatment of Gechazi was improper, citing a baraisa that “l’olam tehe semol docheh v’yemin mekareves – the left hand should always ‘push away’ but the right hand should ‘draw close,’” – not like Elisha who pushed away Gechazi with both hands.

In II Kings (5:23) we learn, “Vayomer Na’aman ho’ail kach kikarim – And Na’aman [the general of the king of Aram’s army] said, ‘Please take two talents [of silver].’” Elisha had previously cured Na’aman of his tzora’as disease and had rejected any compensation for having done so. Gechazi, however, dismissed Elisha’s rejection of payment and went back to Na’aman and requested compensation.

Gechazi subsequently returned to Elisha and denied meeting with Na’aman. Elisha, however, knew the truth: “Vayomer eilav lo libi halach ka’asher hafach ish me’al merkavto likrasecha ha’et lakachat et hakesef velakachat begadim vezeitim u’keramim vetzon u’bakar va’avadim u’shephachot – And [Elisha] said to [Gechazi], ‘Did not my spirit accompany you when [Na’aman] turned from upon his chariot toward you? Is now the time to take money and buy clothes, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, slaves and maidservants?’”

The Gemara (Sotah 47a) states that Elisha then cursed him: “Wicked One! The time has come for you take the reward for studying Shemonah Sheratzim [a chapter of Mesechet Shabbat that Gechazi had apparently studied with Elisha]. May Na’aman’s tzara’as cleave to you and your children forever.” Indeed, this terrible curse took effect.

The Gemara, however, also relates how Elisha then regretted his action and sought to bring Gechazi back as the verse states (ibid., 8:7), “Vayavo Elisha Damesek – And Elisha came to Damascus.” Why did he go there? R. Yochanan explains that Elisha sought to convince Gechazi to repent but Gechazi did not do so. Indeed, he responded, “Did I not receive a tradition from you that whoever sins and whoever sins and causes others to sins is not given the opportunity to repent?”

The Gemara lists a few possibilities as to how Gechazi caused others to sin. One possibility is that he hung a calf and suspended it between heaven and earth (this alludes to his seeking to seduce the people who would see this wonder and attribute supernatural powers to this idol worship). Another possibility is that he engraved the Divine Name in the calf’s mouth, causing the calf to declare, “I am Hashem your god.” Others say that he caused the sages to depart from Elisha’s presence, as the verse (ibid., 6:1) states, “Vayomru bnei henevi’im el Elisha hina na hamakom asher anachnu yoshvim sham l’fanecha tzar – The disciples of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘Behold the place where we are staying before you is too cramped for us.’” The verse implies that until Gechazi left Elisha, there was sufficient room.

What we can learn from this story is the importance of the sages’ rule that “the left hand should push away but the right hand should draw close.” The left is the weaker of the two hands (in most people) and, thus, pushing away will be more difficult; the right hand, meanwhile, draws close. Consequently, a rebuke by a teacher or parent, even when warranted, will be tempered and easier to handle.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part IV)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
A "rifle-holding" lesson at a Palestinian Authority summer camp.
Palestinian Authority Incites Summer Camp Kids with AK-47 Rifles
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Of Chukkim “Satan and the nations of the world made fun.” They may appear irrational & superstitious

I realized from this story that I was sent as a messenger from above. Hashem has many helpers in this world to help do his work.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Israel’s complaining frustrated Moshe, making it increasingly hard for him to lead effectively

Dovid’s musical Torah teachings were designed to penetrate the soul and the emotions.

It occurred to me, as my brain rattled in my skull on a two-hundred mile ride through rural Virginia, that our souls work in much the same way.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-incongruous-and-unbecoming-part-iv/2011/11/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: