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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Simen L'Bonim (Purim - Maybe)

I am in doubt whether to post this, but here goes. I reserve the right to remove it.

Two weeks ago Wednesday's Daf Yomi (Berachos 9) detailed the way Hashem gave the Yiden riches upon their exit from Egypt. The means of B'nai Yisroel's enrichment has been a source of wonderment to me throughout the years.

Why did the means for fulfilling Hashem's promise that the Yiden would leave Eretz Yisroel with great wealth have to be the device of borrowing from the Egyptians and then having them "split for the coast" ?

We all know about people who default on loans, convert them to grants, and wind up living in another venue.

Moreover, since the spoils of the sea were so much greater, what was the meaning of borrowing and leaving with only a partial payment on Avrahams note and full payment at the Yom Suf?

I have heard answers to these questions year after year, but have not yet heard the answer which satisfies me.

We all know that whatever the 'avos' did is implanted in our soul and psyche as an indicator of the future . I realize maasei avos simen l'bonim is traditionally used for only positive midos and outcomes. Can there also be negative ones?

Did this way of attaining wealth predestine us to living from government programs and loans, qualified or not? Borrowing and not repaying?

Did the departure from mitzrayim inure those who should be giving us musar and direction on honest parnosas to look the other way on financial issues?

Is that why the sufek of falling down on the internet is more important than the vodai of not being able to earn properly and honorably unless one goes into chinuch, has unusual mazel or one's parents or in-laws are well fixed?

Is that the simen l'bonim?

Note: I welcome disagreement and/or enlightenment. But if you give me a standard answer, I'll tell you so.

Footnote: Along the lines of mischannelling funds, is it not a bizoyon for a Rebbe to go to a menuvel like Clinton to beg mercy for his constituents? Look at the effect that this one warped individual (Clinton) had on morals in our country, and consider the Rashi in Noach androlomusia bo l'olom. And the effect continues to spread.
And if this mortifying visit had to be done once, as
pidyon shvuyim, what systemic changes were made in that particular community to avoid a next time?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

couching contemporary Jewish issues in a dvar torah is the touch stone for a doctrinare attitude that smacks of fanaticism. even though every Shul Rabbi does it doesn't make it right. Rav Yisroel Salanter said some thoughts should never be said and some spoken words should never be written and certainly not published. we are living in an age of unbridled freedom of expression the internet is an ananthema for those on the right wing lunatic fringe that sees everything in black and white. a xenophobic us against them syndrome we must be vigilant to be non-ideological. or as someone said so eloquently the truth goes both ways simultaeously and is not a contradiction. we who have chosen to be part of the internet community should not fall prey to the same mind set of manipulating our own agenda clothing it in the The Torah HaKadohsa.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous & said...

Did this way of attaining wealth predestine us to living from government programs and loans, qualified or not?

I don't know; we managed for millennia without doing or advocating that. A large fraction of the Jews on the planet still do. Seems a bit unfair all around to blame the segment that does on a universal spiritual legacy from yetziat Mitzraim.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous & said...

As for why yetziat Mitzraim played out the way it did, maybe the Israelites were owed something by their neighbors, but much more by the Egyptian government, and in the end collected as such.

I think extrapolating from this to our daily affairs is always a mistake, though. It was a very specific circumstance, and the laws of the Torah give rather different guidlines for transacting business in everyday life, in situations where God has not personally issued us instructions to do otherwise, as he did here. I feel the same way about projecting Amalek onto any random enemy, or perceived enemy, of the Jews. We can wonder what God was getting at when He commanded us to blot out their memory, but conceding that he must have had a reason doesn't mean that we can go and start applying the instructions (or fantasizing about applying the instructions) meant for Amalek to any group that seems to us to be analogous or related. To start interpreting God's commands to include things He would have pretty clearly made generally applicable if He had intended them to be generally applicable, seems to me to be a dangerous show of hubris, projecting our own will onto a seemingly convenient text.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Leapa said...

& said I: There is no historic legacy that is applicable to every member of a group, including us.
That not everyone does it is a legit point (B"H!), but not a compelling one.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous & said...

It's not just "not everyone". There are 18 million Jews on the planet, most of whom I suspect do not live on government programs. No one I personally know does, and I doubt most Jews outside of a certain sector of frum culture do. If it's a historic legacy, it should manifest itself across the board.

Through most of Jewish history we also know this wasn't done, because there were no government programs around to live off of, unless you were one of those individuals who went around converting multiple times to get bribes from the Church, and the number there was not that high. If the phenomenon exists only 3000 years ago (in response to divine instruction) and then again today (for no good reason I've heard offered), the problem is probably not with our historical legacy, but with us.

4:25 PM  

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