The Weekly Sedra – Parshas Ki Savo

The Rebbe says:

1. In this week’s Torah portion the punishments for going against Hashem’s commandments are discussed (this is called “the Tochacha”).

2. The Rebbe begins a discussion concerning how we should look at life:

We find that our Sages described our supposed perspective on life in two ways:

1) “Kol D’Avid Rachamana L’Tov Avid – Whatever the Merciful One does, He does it for the best” .

2) “Gam Zu L’Tova – This, too, is for the best” .

The difference between these two descriptions is linguistic; the first description was said in Lashon Kodesh (The Holy Tongue) and the second description was said in Aramaic.

3. The Rebbe now begins to explain the difference between Lashon Kodesh and Aramaic:

Lashon Kodesh is a Holy and clear language. According to this, the description “This, too, is for the best” (which was said in Lashon Kodesh), means that we clearly see how everything is good.

Aramaic was the common language of the people at that time and therefore used by our sages so that the people could understand them. This implies that the description “Whatever the Merciful One does, He does it for the best” (which was said in Aramaic), means that we do not clearly see how everything is good.

4. The Rebbe now quotes the context in which these two descriptions were said in order to fully understand the above mentioned approach to Lashon Kodesh and Aramaic:

The context in which the first description, “Whatever the Merciful One does, He does it for the best”, was said:

The Talmud tells us that Rabbi Akiva was once traveling and along the way he reached a city where no one would provide him with lodgings. With no other choice, Rabbi Akiva went into a field and slept there for the night. Now, Rabbi Akiva was traveling with his donkey to carry his belongings, his lamp with which to learn Torah at night, and his rooster to wake him from his sleep. During the night a wind came and blew out his lamp, a cat came and ate the rooster, and a lion came and ate the donkey. After suffering these losses Rabbi Akiva said “Whatever the Merciful One does, He does for the best”. That very night an army came and captured the city. Upon hearing this, Rabbi Akiva realized that if the wind had not blown out the lamp, or the lion eat the donkey, or the cat eat the rooster, the invading army would have surely noticed Rabbi Akiva from the light of his lamp, the crowing of his rooster or the sounds of his donkey and taken him captive as well. Thereupon Rabbi Akiva said to his colleagues who were accompanying him, “Did I not tell you that whatever the Holy One, Blessed be He, does is all for the good”?

The context in which the second description, “This, too, is for the best”, was said:

The Talmud tells us that the Tanna named “Nochum Ish Gam Zu ” was once traveling to the Caesar on behalf of the Jewish community with a chest full of precious stones and pearls. On his way, he spent a night in a certain residence and during the night the residents stole the precious gems and filled the chest with dirt. The next day, when he saw the chest full of dirt, he said, “This, too, is for the best”. When he arrived in front of the Caesar and the chest was untied the Caesar was enraged to find dirt and wanted to kill all the Jews. At this point Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet) appeared in the form of a Roman official and suggested that maybe this dirt was the same dirt which the Jewish people’s forefather Avraham had used to win a war against four mighty kings . Upon hearing this, the Caesar sent the dirt to be used against one of his undefeatable enemies and was successful. The Caesar was so overjoyed by this that he sent Nochum Ish Gam Zu away with a chest full of precious stones and pearls and with great honor.

5. The Rebbe now explains how these two stories illustrate the difference between Lashon Kodesh and Aramaic:

In the story with Rabbi Akiva, he had losses and discomfort; his rooster and donkey were eaten, he had to spend the night in the dark and slept in a field. However, this pain was there to save from him from greater pain (being captured by the foreign army). In other words, what happened to him was not actually good, it was a means to a good end.

However in the story with Nochum Ish Gam Zu nothing bad happened actually happened to him. On the contrary; who knows if the original present to the Caesar, the precious stones and pearls, would have made him happy? A Caesar has coffers full of gold ! So in this case what actually happened to him was good, it was not just a means to an end.

And this is the difference between the description in Lashon Kodesh and in Aramaic:
We said earlier that Lashon Kodesh is a clear language; whatever is being said is exactly what the words mean to convey. This point is illustrated with the Lashon Kodesh perspective on life: “Gam Zu L’Tova – This, too, is for the best” means that this thing itself is good. The only issue was that there was a veil over our eyes and we could not see how it was actually good, but once the veil was taken off our eyes we see how the thing itself was good.

However the Aramaic language is a translation of Lashon Kodesh, it is a means to an end. This idea is illustrated by the Aramaic perspective on life: ““Kol D’Avid Rachamana L’Tov Avid – Whatever the Merciful One does, He does it for the best” means that everything will turn out for the best in the end, not that right now this thing is good.

6. The Rebbe now explains how the above explanation fits perfectly with the people in the stories:

Nochum Ish Gam Zu was the teacher of Rabbi Akiva , this means that Rabbi Akiva was a generation later then Nochum Ish Gam Zu. Therefore, since the darkness gets stronger with every passing generation, the generation of Rabbi Akiva was not able to see clearly how everything is itself good, the world could not handle that kind of revelation.

Obviously, this can be compared to Lashon Kodesh and Aramaic:
The level of the world during the time of Nochum Ish Gam Zu is like Lashon Kodesh; it is the original thing. However the level of the world during Rabbi Akiva’s time is like Aramaic; it is the next generation, a translation, of the original.

7. The Rebbe now finishes off:

We are now on our way to the time of redemption. The redemption will be a time when the world will be able to see how everything is good, not just that it will turn out good, but, everything is actually good. Amen.

Translated and adapted by Rabbi Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos volume two, third Sicha.

One Comment

  • 1. shlucha wrote:

    thank you.
    may we once again see open and revealed good in our land im malkeinu brosheinu,
    gut shabbos

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