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What We Ask of Life; What Life Asks Of Us

“If it is a clear day on the festival of Shavuos, sow your fields with wheat.” A farming tip, or an insight into the essence of wisdom?

38 min

Class Summary:

What We Ask of Life; What Life Asks Of Us. "If it is a clear day on the festival of Shavuos, sow your fields with wheat,” said Achetofel to his family before taking his own life. A farming tip, or an insight into the essence of wisdom?

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  • Anonymous -2 years ago

    How to justify Midrash's comment on the reason behind Achitofel joining force with Adoniyahu?

    If Achitofel was such a man of caliber, head of Sanhedrin at a young age, someone whose advice is as valuable as if given by Hashem... How could he err to think possibly that he would deserve Malchus? Surely he knew that Malchus of Dovid was bestowed by Hashem?! 

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  • S

    Sam -12 years ago

    Arhitofel at 33
    Achitofel according to the Medrash was 33 when he died? Is this the same Midrash that says Bat Sheva was his granddaughter? According to that he was a grandpa at the age of 25 already or less. But according to Chazal that Rivkah was 3 when she married Yitzchok it is possible even to be a great grandpa at the age of 33....

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    • A

      Anonymous -12 years ago

      Re: Arhitofel at 33
      Yes, I guess so... I once saw a discussion about this in mefarshim. I need to research it.

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    • A

      Avi -1 year ago

      See the Maharsha Bava Batra 147a, he brings the bulk of the idea, to explain how wheat is connected to knowledge. I wonder why the Rebbe Z"L didn't quote this Maharsha in his letter?

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  • Y

    YYJ -13 years ago

    To Mendy
    Right. Based on the deeper explenation in that statement, namely, that anything outside of Etzem has no true "free choice," because it is compelled to certain things based on its identity, it is clear, that by a human there is always some "reason" for the choicesand desires. Unless at this moments when the person gets in touch with his\her own etzem, from where the power of true choice comes, as explained in some sources that our power to choice is unique and comes from atzmus.

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  • M

    Mendy -13 years ago

    Question
    I listened to your Basi Legani Shiurim and enjoyed them very much.
    THANK YOU
    I am unclear about one thing, the phrase “oif a tavaveh fregt men nisht ein kashes” are you suggesting that that is only true by Hashem, but by us there is always a taam kamus to our taavh, and it isn’t anything "atsmiees"?

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  • Y

    Yosef -14 years ago

    3 Things
    bs"d
    Perhaps, we could interpret the 3 things in Achitophel´s recommendation to his sons, as a rule of Klal uPrat uKlal.
    It fits very well.

    Congratulations on the wonderful shiur!

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  • I

    Ilan -14 years ago

    Thanks
    I listened to your shiur last week on the tzava of Achisophel & decided on erev Shavuos to switch the first segment of my night learning with the community to give over the shiur. It was amazing. Thank you so much. Continued hatzlacha,
    Rabbi Ilan Weinberg

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  • J

    Joe -14 years ago

    to Moshe
    1. Who said he was permitted? 2. How did Saul commit suicide? How did Tzedkeyahoo commit suicide?

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  • A

    Avi -14 years ago

    To Moshe
    In Tanach we find a total of four stories of suicide, the most famous of these are Shaul, Shimshon, and Achitofel. (The other one is Shaul's arms bearer)

    Although the commentators debate if Shaul was allowed to do what he did, in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, 345:3 it states that if one commits suicide because of intense pressure and desperation, he is entitled to a full Jewish burial and mourning process. Shaul knew that the battle was lost, and that tha e Plishtim would capture, torture and kill him. However, perhaps Achitofel's situation was different because even if Dovid would not forgive him, though Dovid forgave and mourned Avshalom, it is still incomparable to the Plishtim.

    The simple interpretation is that at this point Achitofel was desperate, and was forbidden to kill himself. The Gemara in Sanhedrin (90b) says that Achitofel does not have a portion in Olam Haba, although I am not sure if it is because of the way he lived or the way he died.

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  • M

    moshe -14 years ago

    suicide
    please explain how was achitofel permited to commit suicide

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  • VS

    Vera Schwarcz -14 years ago

    powerful analysis
    a very useful, inspiring to start Shavuot learning!

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  • A

    anonymous -14 years ago

    amazing
    you are doing great

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  • J

    Joe -14 years ago

    Bat sheva
    see sanhedrin 69

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  • M

    Me -14 years ago

    Transcript
    Achitofel instructed his children in three things [before his death]: Do not enter into quarrels. Do not rebel against the sovereignty of the house of David. If it is a clear day on the festival of Shavuot, sow wheat.

    Talmud, Bava Batra 147a

    The Ethics of the Fathers tells us that “there are three crowns: the crown of Torah, the crown of kehunah (priesthood) and the crown of sovereignty. But the crown of good name supersedes them all.”[23]

    Sovereignty, priesthood and Torah constitute the three primary objects of human striving: power, spirituality and wisdom. There are two basic approaches to the attainment of these goals: the approach of one “whose wisdom comes before his piety”[24]—who relies on his own understanding to guide him in his quest; and the approach of one “whose piety comes before his wisdom”[25]—whose commitment to G-d takes precedence over his understanding. As the above-quoted mishnah concludes, the “crown of good name”—of good works and obedience to the divine will[26]—must supersede all other “crowns.”

    Achitofel was one of the greatest sages of his generation (King David called him “my master and teacher”[27]). Yet all his life he followed the route of giving precedence to his reason over his piety[28]—a path which brought him much grief. Therein lies the deeper significance of the three pieces of advice he offers to his children before his passing: he is warning them not to repeat his error of placing wisdom before piety, as this pertains to the three “crowns” of human aspiration.

    The first thing he tells them is: “Do not enter into quarrels.” This is a reference to the folly of Korach, whom the Torah considers the father of all disunity and strife.[29] Korach contested the legitimacy of the kehunah, arguing that spirituality should not be defined by a hierarchical priesthood but by every individual in the community, regardless of his vocation and calling in life.[30] Korach had many logical arguments in support of his view.[31] But because he did not accept that it is G-d, not man, who defines the nature of spirituality and the means of its attainment, his aspirations ended up destroying him and all who joined him in his campaign.[32]

    The second piece of advice that Achitofel had for his children concerns the second crown, the “crown of sovereignty”: “Do not rebel against the sovereignty of the house of David.” Achitofel had been among the leaders of Absalom’s ill-fated rebellion against David[33]—and he had many sound arguments on which to base his claim that David had forfeited his right to the throne.[34] Here, too, the root of Achitofel’s error was his failure to set his obedience to the will of G-d above all else, including the deductions of the most brilliant of minds.

    Finally, Achitofel addresses the attainment of the “crown of Torah,” telling his children: “If it is a clear day on the festival of Shavuot, sow your fields with wheat.” In the writings of our sages, “wheat” is a metaphor for wisdom. The “tree of knowledge,” says the Midrash, “was wheat.”[35] The Talmud states that “A child does not learn to say ‘Father,’ until he has tasted grain.”[36] If you want your “wheat” to turn out right—Achitofel is saying—you must recognize that the source of all wisdom is the festival of Shavuot, which is the day we entered into a covenant with G-d and received the Torah from Him. Only when you have a clear vision of Shavuot—only when you achieve an unclouded view of the commitment to G-d that must precede all human understanding—will your crop of reason grow straight and true and beneficially nourish your life.

    Based on an letter by the Rebbe dated Erev Shavuot, 5709 (June 2, 1949)[37]

    Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber

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    • M

      mls -12 years ago

      Re: Transcript
      wow, thanks, I needed that piece of advice

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  • T

    Tal -14 years ago

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  • MR

    M R -14 years ago

    really beautiful. Thank you.
    Refua Shlaima
    Good Yom Tov

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  • MS

    Mendel Schwartz -14 years ago

    Great Class
    May Levi get well now.

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  • B

    Ber -14 years ago

    Achitofel
    Q. if Achitofel was 33 years old, how was it that his granddaughter Bat sheva married King Dovid in a second marriage?

    beautiful class, hope this is a start to having two classes each week.

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  • J

    Jonothan -14 years ago

    I am listening
    May he be well soon.

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  • I

    izzy -14 years ago

    great shiur
    keep up your great work of inspiring thousands!!!

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  • HP

    Hana Pressman -14 years ago

    Thank You
    Ira and I thank you and Este for your wonderful hospitality last Shabbat!
    Everything was wonderful in all ways!
    All the best for you and your family for Shavuot!
    love and blessings
    hana and Ira

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Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • May 27, 2009
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  • 4 Sivan 5769
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  • 3181 views

Dedicated in the memory of Levi Yitzchak ben Zalman Yuda Deitsch

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