Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rabbi Chiya's Parable

A story in Talmud (Bava Metzia 85b) tells of Rabbi Chiya who planted seeds of flax, then, from the harvested flax spun a large net, which he used to trap deer, which he then skinned; The meat he delivered to orphans and from the skin he fabricated parchment. He then laboriously wrote out the Torah on scrolls of parchment, packed his scrolls, walked to towns where such literature was absent, and personally taught the children Torah. He then left these scrolls to the children, for them to further disseminate Torah's teachings.

Why did he bother going through all this trouble, when he could have simply purchased written scrolls and then distribute them?

The Maharsha explains that only if children studied Torah from a Chumash made with pure intentions could Rabbi Chiya be sure the Torah he taught children would endure.

In other words, had Rabbi Chiya used the commercial option, he could not have guaranteed that all the money that traded hands in every transaction, was, in fact, earned 100% righteously. Even a shred of doubt that that money was earned wrongfully or improperly, without the purest intentions, would have transformed itself into a negative influence that would rob the children of the full impact he himself could deliver by teaching the children, given his pure intentions from the start and all along this long chain of events.

(I relate this story in response to suggestions I mitigate my Lubavitcher message - that the Rebbe is King Moshiach and we live in the initial period of the Era of Redemption. I blog to deliver a specific message I do not intend to dilute. This Rabbi Chiya story encourages me that my pure intention will yield positive results.)

(My obstinacy reminds me of the Rebbe's explanation of an otherwise incomprehensible Midrash that might interest you - "A Midrash Explained - The Future Foretold".)

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