Sunday, May 20, 2007
How to Listen to Your Mother's Torah
My rebbe shared an amazing Gemara. The Gemara in Eruvin 53b quotes the following ma'seh that occured involving R' Yossi Haglili and Bruria, the well known wife of Rebbe Meir:
רבי יוסי הגלילי הוה קא אזיל באורחא אשכחה לברוריה אמר לה באיזו דרך נלך ללוד אמרה ליה גלילי שוטה לא כך אמרו חכמים אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה היה לך לומר באיזה ללוד
Rabi Yossi Haglili was walking on the path. He found Bruria. He said to her, "Which path do we take to Lod?" She said to him, "Gallelian Fool! Did the Chachamim not say [in Pirkei Avos 1:5], "Do not have excessive conversation with a woman." You should have said "Which to Lod?"
My rebbe explained this in light of the pasuk in Mishlei 1:8, "שְׁמַע בְּנִי, מוּסַר אָבִיך וְאַל-תִּטֹּשׁ, תּוֹרַת אִמֶּךָ." "Listen, my son, to the teaching of your father, and do not abandon the Torah of your mother." He says this refers to the fact that the father, the male side, is the aspect of giving over of the intellectual concepts of Torah and Chochma, the "musar Avicha." And the "Toras Imecha" refers to the female side, bina, and the application and development of those intellectual concepts into real life.
The problem the Gemara is teaching us, regarding Rabi Yossi Haglili, was not that he didn't know the Mishna in Avos. It was that he wasn't living with its teaching, regarding not conversing too much with a woman in this instance, at every moment. He knew the information, but in that particular instance, perhaps due to being lost in a strange place, he failed to apply the teaching properly. He added in two extra words into his query to Bruria, that were unnecessary, and thus violated the precept of the Chachamim not to speak excessively with a woman.
There is a reason why the Gemara/hashgacha made it that it was a woman, the Tzadekes Bruria, who was the one to teach the holy Tana, R' Yossi Haglili that lesson at that time. This was to teach us that it is the Nukva, the female side, the side of Bina, which is the aspect that knows how to apply what is known into practical life. This is what is being taught in the pasuk of, "Shma Bni." Learn the Torah and all of its knowledge from your father, from whatever your source of chochma is. But imbibe the sense of how to apply the Torah into everyday real life from your source for bina, or the practical application, which is equivalent to the female side, the side of bina.