FedTalks Parshas Acharei-Mos – Rabbi Y HAmer – Transcript
This coming Shabbos Parshas Acharei Mos, we begin in chutz l’oretz to learn pirkei avons between mincha and maariv. I’d like to share with you an insight into a Mishna, it’s not a Mishna which appears in the first perek, but it’s a Mishna which the Tur begins his peirush on Ohr Hachaim with.
The Mishna says: “Rav Yehudah ben Teima oimer: have az kanomer, kal kenesher, ratz ketsvi vegibor k’ari laasos retson ovicho shebashamayim”. Let’s focus on the first few words. A person should have the azus, the audacity, the brazenness, the chutzpah of a nomer, a leppard, a hyena, however it is translated. And the Tur says that it is necessary for Yehudah ben Teima to begin with this particular teaching because at times a person might refrain from doing a mitzvah, doing avodas Hashem because they are scared, scared of those who will mock them, who will deride them, who will make fun of them. And therefore he says: be strong, don’t do it, don’t worry about those people who mock you.
The Mishna goes on to say, but “az ponim legehennom”, someone who has the trait of azus, chas vesholom, will go to gehennom. Asks the Maharal in his peirush Derech Chaim, a peirush in Pirkei Avos: “wouldn’t it have made more sense logically to begin the Mishnah and say “az ponim legehennom? Azus is a terrible middah, as he explains. First tell us how bad it is, how bad azus is and then say afterwards, but “laasos retson ovicho shebashamayim, then there is a heter for azus. Says the maharal in one of his answers: “Had we said that the implication would have been if there is only, it is only correct and befitting for a person to use the trait of azus if you are up against a brick wall, if you have no other way to do the mitzvah other than having that trait of azus, then there is an allowance, then there is a heter for a person to have azus. But if you’re able to dock and dive, if you are able to avoid those people who make fun of you, avoid them, avoid confrontation, because azus is terrible.
Says the Maharal: ‘that is not correct.’ And he says the following: ‘”Yesh lihyos az keneged hamaligim veyohos ponov kenegdom,” you should have azus against those people who mock you. “Ve’af im efshar log laasos mitzvoh shelo bifnei hamaligim”- even if you are able to do the mitzvah not in front of those who mock you, “tsorich sheyihyeh az b’avodas HaMakom”- you should have azus.
Meaning, it is not a bedi’eved, it is a lechatchila. And therefore, a person should not dock and dive, a person should not necessarily avoid, but on the contrary you should try and cultivate within yourself this trait which is necessary for avodas Hashem.
Now, at first glance I thought this goes against something which the Mishnah Berurah at the beginning of siman alef quotes. The Remoh brings: “velo yisbayesh mipnei bnei odom”, don’t be embarrassed in front of those who mock you. On the contrary, you should go and stand up to them. Says the Mishna Berura: ‘however, don’t argue with them “mipnei shemidas ha’azus megunah meod”’. It is a very bad trait. And here is the line: “ve’eino rauy lehishtamesh mimeno klal” – don’t use at all. “Afilu b’avodas Hashem Yisborach”- even when it comes to avodas Hashem. Why? “keyikneh kinyan benafsho lihyos az afilu shebamakom avodaso yisborach”- because you might end up having the trait of azus even not in avodas Hashem.
This seems to be not like the Maharal. Could be, maybe it is a machlokes. But if you look at the Beis Yosef inside we will see that the Mishna Berura left out a very important word. The Beis Yosef says: “middas ha’azus megunah meod, ve’ein rouy lehishtamesh mimeno klal”- don’t use it at all. “afilu b’avodas Hashem Yisborach ledaber divrei azus keneged hamaligim”- don’t speak words of azus.
So it comes out the following: a person should have azus. It is a lechatchila, don’t dock and dive, don’t avoid confrontation. But to go in and speak words of brazenness, words of chutzpah, there is no merit in a person speaking words of azus. That is not becoming, that is something which is unessential for a person to do in their Yiddishkeit, in their avodas Hashem.