310 Worlds

Uktzin (3:12) | Yisrael Bankier | 11 years ago

The last Mishnah includes two statements. In this article we will study the first and leave the second for your own Siyum HaShas. The Mishnah (3:12) teaches:

R’ Yehoshua ben Levi says, in the future HaKadosh Baruch Hu will bestow on each and every tzaddik 310 worlds as it states (Mishlei 8:21): “I have what (yesh) to bequeath to those who love me, and I shall fill their store houses.”

The derivation is based on the word yesh (spelled yud-shin) which has the numerical value of 310. What is R’ Yehoshua ben Levi trying to teach us and why is this Mishnah brought now?

The Bartenura explains, having reached the end of the six volumes, the Mishnah teaches us about the great reward waiting for those who learn and keep all that is contained within it. The Tifferet Yisrael explains that this reward is 310 times all the benefits of this world which they had to forgo for the toil in Torah.

The Rambam adds that this “measure” of the reward is really only hit’orerut – an attention grabbing motion of encouragement – for there is no comparison between the reward in this world and the next one. Indeed this is hinted to in the word yesh, meaning existence. For the tzadikim will inherit the great reward of eternal true existence. But what then is the significance of the 310? The Rashbatz explains we know that Shabbat is referred to as me’ein olam ha’bah – a hint of the world come. If we then subtract from the solar year the Shabbatot and Regalim we are left with the 310 days of toil. The tzadikim will therefore be rewarded with the promise of a time that is entirely Shabbat (see Rosh Hashanah 31a).

Is there however more to the figure of 310? The Tifferet Yisrael explains that there are a total of 620 mitzvot – 613 biblical and 7 rabbinic. However since Hashem assists one in fulfilling the mitzvot, it is only fitting that that the tzaddik receive half of the work. The Torat Chayim however explains that the tzaddik receives half the reward as it is shared with the tzaddik’s eizer k’negdo. It is noteworthy that at a time that one might bask in the glory of making a Siyum HaShas, we are humbled by the recognition of our dependence on Hashem and others for our success in learning.

Another point that gets attention is the R’ Yehoshua ben Levi’s reference to each and every tzaddik – “kol tzaddik ve’tzaddik”. The Tosfot Yom Tov explains that the Mishnah is referring to both the tzaddik that ruled assur (forbidden) and the tzaddik that ruled mutar (permitted). He adds that this is indeed an appropriate close to the Mishnayot that appear to be full of debates. Since their sole intention was for the sake of heaven, both are considered loved. Indeed the Baal Shem Tov explains that this is the reference to “those that love Me” for a debate between the Tana’im, a machloket le’shem shamayim, is characterised by each parties pursuit of truth in their love of Hashem and their counterpart, but not of themselves.

The Emet L’Yaakov asks that if the Mishnah was referring to the Tana’im of the Mishnah the term Chacham would have been more appropriate. Tzaddik usually refers to one that performs acts kindness for people. Yet we find that tzaddik is used in the Torah when dealing with false witnesses: “...and you shall vindicate the tzaddik and find the wicked one guilty.” The Emet L’Yaakov explains that in this context the tzaddik refers to the party with which the truth is found. Consequently this is an appropriate term given to Tana’im and an encouraging end to the Mishnah. The unique thing about the debates of the Tana’im is that the truth can be found in both the one that is oser and the one that is matir – “elu v’elu divrei Elokim chayim”.

Perhaps an appropriate close to this cycle is the explanation of the Tifferet Yisrael for “each and every tzaddik.” He explains that the Mishnah teaches that even a tzaddik that is not a complete one, if he goes over and over Mishnayot again, he is considered a yirei Hashem and his reward will be with him in the next world.

Mazal Tov and Hatzlacha for the next cycle.

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