|The Torah Connection-Behar-North, South, East, West|
|Written by Rabbi Yaakov Shlomo Weinberg|
Being that we’re holding in Parshas Behar Sinai which refers to the giving of the Torah, and it’s a week before Shavuos, I thought I would put in the following moshol. We learn a piece of Gemara (Talmud) and the Gemara differentiates that this opinion is talking in one given situation and the other opinion in a different situation. Actually we find similar scenarios in the world around us.
The Moshol (Allegory)
Rav “A” states that “the farther south you go the warmer it gets and the farther north, the colder.” Rav “B” says the opposite – “The farther north one goes, the warmer and the farther south the colder.” It would seem that we have here a full blown difference of opinion. Says Rav “C” there is no difference of opinion – Rav “A” is talking about the northern hemisphere and Rav “B” the southern hemisphere.
Says Rav “D” this is not a valid answer since England and Seattle are both farther north than New York yet are both warmer in the winter than New York. We, therefore, see that the “halachah” is like Rav “B” that even in the northern hemisphere the farther north one goes the warmer it gets.
Rav “E” answers, “This is not a question. England is warmed by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico which stay together, as ‘The Gulf Stream,’ for thousands of miles and warm up the sea around England.”
Rav “F” asks, “This is an answer for England. But what are you going to answer regarding Seattle which lies on a different ocean and has no connection to the Gulf Stream?”
Says Rav “G,” “Seattle also. It gets warmed by the ‘Japanese current’ and is therefore also warmer.”
Says the “Gemara” but then both Rav “A” and Rav “B” will agree that the hottest place is the equator. But if so, how could Rav “H” say, “I was once at the equator and it was full of ice and snow?” Answers Rav “I” that is no question. Rav “H” was in the Ruwenzori Mountains (the mountains of the moon) which because of their height (16,000 feet) are full of ice and snow. [See the commentaries there that the higher you are the colder it gets.]
A side issue. Rav “L” said, “When I went from Seattle to New York (by plane – non-stop) it took four hours, yet when I went from New York to Seattle it took five hours.” This is no question. In the northern hemisphere the wind currents go from west to east. From Seattle to New York the plane was going with the wind. From New York to Seattle it was going against the wind.
Not a Spoof
The above is, chas v’sholom, not a spoof. It attempts to show that the give and take of the Gemara is a very natural way of learning and can be used to understand many things in the world around us. In fact, when a yeshiva person answers questions easily we say he has a Gemara kop (a Talmudic mind). Differentiations are made. Issues are clarified. In fact I just recently read that there is no comparison regarding the development of one’s mind after having gone through college to that of one who has learned in yeshiva. The yeshiva learning is much more rigorous, demanding and discerning. Besides which, as we mentioned earlier, the college studies are only beneficial for seventy years while the yeshiva bochur has benefit from his studies forever.