Monday, May 5, 2008

Da Kani Ma Cha'ser

דָּא קָנֵי מַה חָסֵר דָּא לֺא קָנֵי מַה קָּנֵי, זֶה (מַה) מַה שֶׁנֶאֱמַר בְמַעֲרָבָא. דְּדָא בֵּיה כּוּלָא בֵּיהּ, (וּ)דְּלֺא דָּא בֵּיהּ מַה בֵּיהּ

Da kani, ma cha'ser? Da lo kani, ma kani? Ze ma (ma)she'ne'emar be'Mar'ava. Di'da bei, kula bei. (U)de'lo da bei, ma bei?

"If he acquires this, what does he lack? If he does not acquire this, what has he acquired? This is what they said in the West (Eretz Yisrael). He who has this within him, has everything within him. He who does not have this within him, what is within him?" (Nedarim 41a- The order of the words is changed)

This Gemara is talking about the importance of "understanding." Before this it says how understanding is one of a person's most essential possessions, and that there is no truly poor person except one who is impoverished of understanding. But it seems pretty repetitive. "If he acquires this...If he does not acquire this." And then "He who has this within him...He who does not have this within him." What's the deal??
So the Eitz Yosef explains that the two parts are referring to two different types of people: Those who are born with intelligence, and those who are not. It is telling us as follows: Someone who is born without understanding, and he works hard and acquires it, then what does he lack? But if he doesn't work and therefore doesn't get it, then what has he acquired? And for one who is born with understanding, he has it all. But again-if he isn't born with it, and he doesn't work to acquire it, then what is within him?
Understanding distinguishes humans from animals(Rav Nissan Gaon). Without understanding what are we? How can we praise Hashem without understanding His amazing world that He placed us in? One must always be thinking; always questioning; always searching for the emes. Never be afraid to ask a question- "Lo habayshan la'med." "The embarrassed person doesn't learn"(Avos 2:6). We also see this concept in Tehillim 121:1. Dovid Hamelech asks: "I raise my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come?" How can the holy Dovid Hamelech be asking where his help comes from? What kind of question is that?! He doesn't know that all help comes from Hakadosh Baruch Hu?!? Of course he does!(He goes on to say "My help is From Hashem...")- He's simply giving over to us this same message; never hold back from asking a question; you're just depriving yourself of truth.
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