Vertluch: Parshas Mishpatim


‘…and flesh in the field that has been torn you shall not eat; you shall throw it to the dog.’ (22; 30).
Rashi comments on the above pasuk ‘this is coming to teach us that Hashem does not deprive any creature of its reward.’ Since the dogs did not bark when we left Mitzrayim, Hashem said ‘give them their reward.’
The gemarah in Bava Basra (8a) recalls how rebbi opened up his private storage house, in the time of hunger, to give people food. He made an announcement, and specified, anyone who learns mishnayos, chumash, gemarah or hagaddah can come and eat from his food; however, no simple people (am ha’aratzim) were welcome. R’ Yonasan ben Amram pushed his way through the door and said ‘rebbi, please feed me!’ He answered him by asking, ‘did you learn any of which I mentioned?’ R’ Yonasan answered, ‘no’. Rebbi then responded and asked ‘with what shall I feed you with?’ With what zechus should I sustain you, if you’re not learning? R’ Yonasan answered and said ‘feed me like a dog and like a raven.’
The Chasam Sofer offers a novel p’shat into the conversation. First we have to understand; why did rebbi do this? Why did he open up his private storage house and announce that he’s only feeding talmidei Chachamim? The reason must be because he felt that the only people that earned such reward were those who learned Torah, the talmidei chachamim. As opposed to someone who did not learn, he did not yet earn his food. However, R’ Yonasan came along and teaches us us something new. He was telling us that there are two ways that people may partake in the zechus (reward) of Torah, even if they themselves aren’t actually learning. One is by supporting Torah and the other is by appreciating, respecting and not talking derogatory remarks about talmidei chachamim.
When Eliyahu Hanavi was in hiding, the ravens came every day-once in the morning and once in the evening. They dropped off bread for him, sustaining him as long as he was hiding. We also know that as we left Mitzrayim the dogs did not bark. Says the Chasam Sofer, it was in the zechus of these two animals that R’ Yonasan was asking rebbi to feed him. The ravens respected Eliyahu Hanavi and didn’t speak derogatory about him and the dogs kept their mouths closed and didn’t talk back to klal Yisroel. R’ Yonasan was saying ‘I’m no different than these two animals; I may not be a learned person but feed me in the zechus of the raven and dog’. Although I’m not a talmid chochom I’ve earned my reward through other ways. The zechus of my not talking derogatory should allow me to be sustained through you.
I once heard from a rebbi of mine, that he remembers his grandfather telling him that when he was a young child, in Lita, there were yeshiva bochurim that would eat by his house every week. As a nine year old boy, he remembers his mother (the rav’s great-grandmother) taking the food off his plate to give the bochurim to eat! He would repeat this story over and over and each time he said it, a bigger smile would be found on his face. He would say it with such pride; his parents understood, and instilled in him, the importance of supporting Torah and future generations. He was then able to pass this middah down to his children and his children’s children.
We, as a nation, have to understand that although we may not all be talmidei chachamim, we must appreciate and respect those who are. We must never talk derogatory about them, whether we agree with them or not. Behaving this way will enable them and allow them to continue learning Torah-which in essence is holding us and the entire world up. It’s through these two ways that will also allow us to benefit from the reward set aside for talmidei chachamim.  
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