Friday, December 2, 2016

Toldot - Means And Ends - Luke Skywalker - A Higher Truth

A HUUUGEE mazel tov to R' Moti and Esti Yagelnik on their marriage. May they merit to build a beautiful bayis bi-yisrael!!! A special mazel tov to Esti's beloved parents Rav Yisrael Yaakov and Rebbetzin Ahava [whose wedding I remember like yesterday]. And of course to Mr. Fred and Suzan Ehrman on their granddaughter's simcha!!!

[As I go to more weddings of couples where I remember their parents weddings very vividly - I realize I am getting older and closer to death. So I better do teshuva or at least take vitamins and exercise!!!]

A HUUUUUGGEEE mazel tov to R' Moshe and Rivka Gold on their recent wedding. May they have only sweetness and joy in their lives!!!

This dvar Torah is dedicated li-zchus all of my skype chavrausas, and to R' Moshe Yehuda ben Pesha Dina, R' Yehuda Yaakov Ben Dina Chasha, R' Shmuel Binyamin ben Tishna Rochel Leah, R' Yosef Ezra ben Esther, R' Yisrael Tzadok ben Shulamit, R' Eytan ben Noach, R' Moshe Gavriel ben Yehudis, R' Ephraim Abba ben Miriam Shoshana, R' Doniel Yaakov ben Sara Leba, R' Daniel Simcha ben Chava Raizel, R' Shmuel Eliezer ben Shoshana Raizel, Leah Esther bas Frimet, Elana Simone bas Miriam and .... you!!!!:-)

And for a bracha of complete health for Mori Vi-rabi Shlita, R' Yehoshua Meir ben Rochel Sara, Rav Avraham Yosef ben R' Moshe Chaim, R' Noach ben Chaya Leba R' Yitzchak ben Bracha, Sara Leah bas Rivka, Chaya Reizal bas Dina

"Sometimes the ends justify the means. But when you build an argument on based on a whole series of such times you may have constructed an entire philosophy of evil."

Luke Skywalker

Do the means justify the ends? I wouldn't know because I am not a man of means. [ואין שום יאוש בעולם כלל as the band played at Esti's wedding this week!!! There is always hope. Anyway - who says that it is a good thing. Gahndi already said that golden shackles are worse than iron ones].

But we can attempt to answer this question. 

Here is the typical Jewish answer - yes and no. 

Usually - not!!! We don't steal in order to give tzedaka [unless we are like those who steal and give tzedaka. But we shouldn't be!!]. We are not allowed to kill one person to save another's life. We don't eat a Big Mac to give us the strength to learn a daf gemara. No matter how important the ends - we must make sure that the means are kosher. 

But there are exceptions. Sometimes the means DO justify the ends. When is that?

When we have SPECIAL permission from above. We have a halachic rule עשה דוחה לא תעשה - a positive commandment overrides a negative one. We can do what may seem like a sin in order to fulfill a mitzva. An example of this is wearing tzitizis that are shatnez. A bris must be done on Shabbos even though it involves chilul Shabbos. [There is actually an entire book dedicated to the topic of whether the end justifies the means - מטרה מקדשת האמצעים by Prof. Nachum Rakover].

Yaakov was a man of truth. תתן אמת ליעקב. If you read the story in the Torah it seems that he was less than honest. Yes, there was a greater good to be achieved, namely the brachos for Klal Yisrael for all generations. Since Rivka told him with prophecy [as Targum Onkelos explains] that he must take the brachos with guile - he had to do it [even though as the meforshim point out, he had reservations]. In this instance the ends justified the means. 

The absolute truth is that the brachos were his and that justified taking them in a sneaky way. It would have been false if Eisav had received the brachos. We see that even after Yitzchak realized that he had been deceived he didn't retract the brachos or express regret. He understood the higher truth.

The lesson is that things are not so simple. We have to scrutinize every situation and decide what is the expression of the higher, Divine truth. The Sfas Emes points out that our entire lives are sheker for the sake of truth - for this world is completely sheker and we have to discover the deeper hidden emes of Hashem. 

May we always make the correct decisions in life. 

Bi-ahava rabba and wishes for a blissful Shabbos,