Tuesday, April 18, 2006

(Daf Yomi) Kohelet 2:14: "And the Fool Walks In Darkness" - One Who Accepts the Stringencies of Both Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai

Since I discussed the first part of the verse in immediately preceding post (about the Wise man who looks to its head -- that is, the head of Kiddush, which is Borei Peri haGafen), I thought it would be nice to give my chiddush about a derasha on the end of that verse. The pasuk, again, is Kohelet 2:14:
יד הֶחָכָם עֵינָיו בְּרֹאשׁוֹ, וְהַכְּסִיל בַּחֹשֶׁךְ הוֹלֵךְ; וְיָדַעְתִּי גַם-אָנִי, שֶׁמִּקְרֶה אֶחָד יִקְרֶה אֶת-כֻּלָּם. 14 The wise man, his eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness. And I also perceived that one event happeneth to them all.
There is an interesting statement in Rosh haShana 14b:

והתניא לעולם הלכה כדברי ב"ה והרוצה לעשות כדברי ב"ש עושה כדברי ב"ה עושה מקולי ב"ש ומקולי ב"ה רשע מחומרי ב"ש ומחומרי ב"ה עליו הכתוב אומר (קוהלת ב) והכסיל בחשך הולך

Thus, one who follows the stringencies of both Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai is the subject of the verse in Kohelet which states "but the fool walketh in darkness."

It is not enough for me to simply cite that pasuk without having a good explanation of why that pasuk applies to one who accepts these unnecessary double-stringencies. Why not apply the beginning of the verse, "the wise man, his eyes are in his head," and call him a wise man rather than a fool?

That is, how do we know that adopting these extra chumrot is considered walking in darkness, or that he should be called a fool?

Just as I explained for Rav Ashi's application of the verse in the previous post, I would put forth that this (like many other drashot) is based on word-play. Do not read the ש in והכסיל בחשך הולך as a shin but rather as the letter sin.

The word חשך, spelled with a sin, means "to spare, withhold, hold back." An example of this in Biblical Hebrew can be found in II Shmuel 18:16:
טו וַיָּסֹבּוּ עֲשָׂרָה נְעָרִים, נֹשְׂאֵי כְּלֵי יוֹאָב; וַיַּכּוּ אֶת-אַבְשָׁלוֹם, וַיְמִתֻהוּ. 15 And ten young men that bore Joab's armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him.
טז וַיִּתְקַע יוֹאָב, בַּשֹּׁפָר, וַיָּשָׁב הָעָם, מִרְדֹף אַחֲרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: כִּי-חָשַׂךְ יוֹאָב, אֶת-הָעָם. 16 And Joab blew the horn, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel; for Joab held back the people.
Thus, there is no leap of logic that one who adopts the strigencies of both Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai is a fool, or walking in darkness, and thus that the verse applies to him.

Rather, with the sin pronunciation, the meaning of the verse is:

"but the fool walks in stringencies," or "but the fool walks, holding himself back."

And thus we derive that (at least in this particular context) unnecessary stringency is not a positive thing but rather the mark of the fool.


Anonymous said...

interesting. reminds me of esav biting yaakov: vayenashkehu/vayenashchehu

Anonymous said...

another example for you: in the akedah: "ki lo hasachta et bincha et yechidcha mimeni"


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