Proper Use of Strength, Ethics of the Fathers
Batya MedadNew York-born Batya Medad made aliyah with her husband just weeks after...
In order for this to happen, we must stand up strong, fearless and daring, like a mother lion protecting her cubs, to defend our Land and our People and our rights.
Chodesh Tov! I want to get this posted before going to pray at Tel Shiloh with my women's group. As usual, you can find more of my articles on Shiloh Musings and me-ander. Have a wonderful month, Shabbat and week to come.
One Wednesday evening, after an inspiring morning in Matan, I traveled with neighbors to nearby Eli for a shiur by Miram Wolf, which was in memory of a friend's mother. When Miriam had lived in Eli, she gave us classes in TaNaCh, Bible, and we were very excited to have the opportunity to hear her again.
This time she took a mishne from Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, V, 20.
כ. יהודה בן תימא אומר: הוי עז כנמר; וקל כנשר; ורץ כצבי; וגבור כארילעשות רצון אביך שבשמים. הוא היה אומר: עז פנים לגיהנם; ובושת פנים לגן עדן. יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך. 20. Judah the son of Teima would say: Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, fleeting as a deer and mighty as a lion to do the will of your Father in Heaven. He would also say: The brazen--to purgatory; the bashful*--to paradise. May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days; and grant us our portion in Your Torah.
We spent the evening trying to define the terms. The question concerned the word עז, oz, strength/daring which is used in contrasting positive and negative instructions.
We are told to be as עז, oz, strength/daring as a leopard, but the phrase עז פנים oz-pannim, brazen is negative, leading to hell. The opposite is ובושת פנים boshet-pannim which they translate as "bashful," which we translated/explained as "humble before G-d."
And that is supposed to be the way to Heaven. What is this עז oz? What is the message here? I'm a political commentator, observer of people and events. I also believe very strongly in G-d and the Jewish religion.
I think that this mishne, law, summarizes very well what I've been trying to say on Shiloh Musings for a long time. In order for us to be redeemed:
יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך. May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days; and grant us our portion in Your Torah.
In order for this to happen, we must stand up strong, fearless and daring, like a mother lion protecting her cubs, to defend our Land and our People and our rights. But at the same time we must be humble before G-d and not rewrite His Laws, nor may we adopt foreign and perverse moralities and ideologies.
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!