This year I was privileged to complete Shas Mishnayos, for my first time. This includes the entire Six Tractates, שישה סידרי משנה, of the Mishna (Zeraim, Moed, Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, and Tohorot). As a study tool I used the ArtScroll Mishna Series and the study calendar found in the דף ליום sefer, which is a program to complete learning all ששה סידרי משנה in one year. The Mishna is written in Hebrew and was written in the Land of Israel by Yehuda HaNasi between the years 536 BCE and 70 CE.
When Are We Supposed To Begin Studying the Mishna?
We are to begin studying the Mishna at age ten. However, it is not clear when we are supposed to complete our study of the Mishna.
הוא (יהודה בן תימא) היה אומר, בן חמש שנים למקרא, בן עשר למשנה, בן שלש עשרה למצות, בן חמש עשרה לתלמוד, בן שמונה עשרה לחופה, בן עשרים לרדוף, בן שלשים לכוח, בן ארבעים לבינה, בן חמישים לעצה, בן ששים לזקנה, בן שבעים לשיבה, בן שמונים לגבורה, בן תשעים לשוח, בן מאה כאילו מת ועבר ובטל מן העולם.
Yehuda ben Teima he would say: At 5 years old begin Chumash, at 10 years old begin learning Mishna, at 13 years old one is obligated in mitzvos, at 15 years old begin learning Gemara, at 18 years old one gets married, at 40 years old one attains understanding בינה, at 50 years old one offers advice, at 60 years old one attains seniority, (זקנה=זה קנה חכמה), at 70 years old one attains a ripe old age, at 80 years old one exhibits strength, at 90 years old one stoops over, at 100 years old one is if he had died and passed on and became irrelevant to the world (Mishna Avos 5:25).
I started with מועד and completed Shas with Seder זרעים . The last Mishna, that I studied in order to complete my siyum of the Mishna, was meseches Bikurim. Ironically it discusses the salient topic of the differences between men and women. In the USA today there is a debate to define what is a man, women, androgene or a transgender. This chachma is discussed in detail in the Mishna and is very relevant to today’s wayward society.
כֵּיצַד אֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה לא לָאֲנָשִׁים וְלא לַנָּשִׁים?…רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר: אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוֹס בְּרִיָּה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ הוּא, וְלא יָכְלוּ חֲכָמִים לְהַכְרִיעַ עָלָיו אִם הוּא אִישׁ אוֹ אִשָּׁה. אֲבָל טֻמְטוּם אֵינוֹ כֵן, פְּעָמִים שֶׁהוּא אִישׁ, פְּעָמִים שֶׁהוּא אִשָּׁה.
How is the androgene not equal to men nor to women?…R Yose says An androgyny is a creature unto itself and the Chachamin could not decide whether he is a man or a woman… (Mishna Bikurim 4:5)
The Last Mishna In Shas
I would like to analyze the last official Mishna in Shas which is Uksin 3:12.
אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי, עָתִיד הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַנְחִיל לְכָל צַדִּיק וְצַדִּיק שְׁלשׁ מֵאוֹת וַעֲשָׂרָה עוֹלָמוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ח) ,”לְהַנְחִיל אֹהֲבַי יֵשׁ וְאֹצְרֹתֵיהֶם אֲמַלֵּא”. אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן חֲלַפְתָּא, לֹא מָצָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כְּלִי מַחֲזִיק בְּרָכָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֶלָּא הַשָּׁלוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים כט), “ה’ עֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן ה’ יְבָרֵךְ אֶת עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם”.
R Yehoshua ben Levi said: The time will come when Hashem will endow each and every Tzadik with 310 worlds, as it is stated: “To endow with substance/Yesh those that love Me, and I shall fulfill their treasuries (Mishlei 8:21)… (Mishna Uksin 3:12).
What Is the Concept of “Yesh”?
The Mishna states that the Righteous will get three hundred and ten worlds as a reward for their service to G-d. We learn this from a verse in Mishlei where G-d says that He will reward His followers with “Yesh” . יש It is important to note that he Gematria of the word yesh יש is the source for the Mishna statement about the three hundred and ten worlds ( = י + ש300 + 10 = 310). It is significant to also note the Hebrew word for gift is שי , which also equals 310.
Where In Tanach Do We Find The Phrase Yesh?
In the passages preceding the story of Dovid defeating Goliat, we find the word יש. Dovid says that he must kill Goliat in order to demonstrate publically that there is a G-d in Israel.
שמואל א יז:מו
הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְסַגֶּרְךָ ה’ בְּיָדִי וְהִכִּיתִךָ, וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת רֹאשְׁךָ מֵעָלֶיךָ, וְנָתַתִּי פֶּגֶר מַחֲנֵה פְלִשְׁתִּים הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, לְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְחַיַּת הָאָרֶץ; וְיֵדְעוּ, כָּל הָאָרֶץ, כִּי יֵשׁ אֱלֹקים, לְיִשְׂרָאֵל.
This day, Hashem will deliver you [Goliat] into my hand, and I shall kill you, and take off your head, and I shall give the carcasses of the camp of the Plishtim this day, to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth, and all the earth shall know that Israel has a G-d (Shmuel I 17:46).
We have and earlier story where the word “yesh” is used. This is when Yakov was returning from Eretz Yisrael and met Esav, who wanted to kill him. Yakov was coming in the name of Hashem and with the zechus of the 613 Mitzvos. He was scared of Esav because he had the zechus of living in Eretz Yisrael all those years.
בראשית לג:ט (פרשת וישלח)
וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו, יֶש לִי רָב; אָחִי, יְהִי לְךָ אֲשֶׁר לָךְ.
But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother; let what you have remain yours.” (Bereishis 33:9)
קַח נָא אֶת בִּרְכָתִי אֲשֶׁר הֻבָאת לָךְ, כִּי חַנַּנִי אֱלֹקים וְכִי יֶשׁ לִי כֹל; וַיִּפְצַר בּוֹ, וַיִּקָּח.
[Yakov said] Now take my gift, which has been brought to you, for G-d has favored me [with it], and [because] I have everything.” He prevailed upon him, and he took [it]. (Bereishis 33:11)
Esav had the zechus of living in Eretz Yisrael, yet he never made a kinyan on it. He did not really believe in G-d, since Esav believed that everything came to him due to his own powerכוחי ועוצם ידי .
Yaakov, on the other hand, is coming from Chutz LaAretz with the desire to fulfill all of the 613 mitzvos, despite living with Lavan. Yaakov, was coming to fulfill his bracha and to make the kinyan on Eretz Yisrael. He got rid of all of his keilim from Chutz LaAretz and gave it to Esav (the small jar was from Eretz Yisrael when he put oil on the rock by Beit El, and it was used again for the Chanuka miracle). Yakov now returned with his new Keilim of the 613 Mitzvos and Talmud Torah. He said, יש לי כל, which means that in Eretz Yisrael “I have everything I need to get close to Hashem”. The Zohar translates the word “kol” as “united in heaven and earth.” This is because in Eretz Yisrael the גשמיות meets the רוחניות ( the physical is elevated by spiritual reality); this can only be achieved through the Torah of Eretz Yisrael – כי מציון תצא תורה.
The Tiferes Yisrael points out that the Mishna mentions לכל צדיק וצדיק , which means that even someone who is not a צדיק גמור , if he studies Mishna, he will receive שכר in Olam Haba. In addition, because of his efforts he also gets שכר in this world.
Prepare for War
I currently proudly serve as a as a Combat Surgeon with the rank of Captain, in the IDF Reserves. We are told that there will be a war with Hezbollah in the near future. It can happen any day now. How does a Jew prepare for war or combat? By getting the zechus of waging the wars of Torah study.
תלמוד בבלי סנהדרין מב עמוד א
(משלי כד, ו) “כי בתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה”. א”ר אחא בר חנינא א”ר אסי א”ר יוחנן, במי אתה מוצא מלחמתה של תורה? במי שיש בידו חבילות של משנה.
In Mishlei states, “For by wise counsel you shall wage your war”. Rav Acha bar Chanina said in the name of Rav Assi, who said in the name of Rav Yochanan: With whom do you find the battle of Torah? With one who has in his hand bundles of Mishnah.
What keeps us alive and gives sustenance to our נשמה is the learning of משנה. As we say in our Tefilos כי הם חיינו ואורך ימינו.
The Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael
We are living here today, because there is a Mitzvah to live in Eretz Yisrael. In addition, we want to have “dveikus” with G-d. We learn this concept in Parashas KiSavo:
אֲנִי ה’ אֱלֹקיכֶם אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם לָתֵת לָכֶם אֶת אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן להְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵֽאלֹקֽים:
I am the Hashem your G-d, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be a G-d to you (Vayikra 25:38).
Rashi explains the pshat of this pasuk:
שכל הדר בארץ ישראל אני לו לאלקים…
Whoever lives in the Land of Israel, and am his G-d (Rashi).
We want to fulfill this daily mitzvah in Eretz Yisrael, so we need to have it in mind. Mitzvos require kavanah (intent).
שו”ע או”ח ס:ד
יש אומרים שאין מצות צריכות כוונה, ויש אומרים שצריכות כוונה לצאת בעשיית אותה מצוה, וכן הלכה.
A former patient of mine in Ramat Beit Shemesh A was the local Bostoner, Rav Chaim Avraham Halevi Horowitz. He asked me the following question, “When do we actually make the קנין on Eretz Yisrael?” It is given נתן with יסורין, but when to we get it to say is ours יש לי?
תלמוד בבלי ברכות ה עמוד א
תניא רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אומר: שלש מתנות טובות נתן הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל וכולן לא נתנן אלא על ידי יסורין אלו הן: תורה, וארץ ישראל, והעולם הבא.
The Tannah Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai says: Three good gifts are given by G-d to Yisrael [the Jewish People], and all of them are only given through suffering (yissurin). These are the [gifts]: Torah, Eretz Yisrael, and Olam Habah. (Talmud Bavli, Berachos 5a)
Torah is given as a present,מתנה ; Eretz Yisrael is given as a מתנה , and Olam Habah is given as a מתנה . A present or a treasure in Hebrew can also be called a שיwhich is the gematria of 310 (as alluded to in the last Mishana)! The order of these מתנות is significant. First we are given Torah, then Eretz Yisrael and then Olam Haba.
It seems to me, that every time we have a painful event here in Israel, we are making the קנין! We will not know if we acquired Olam Haba until after 120 years of life. However, we know that all who live in Eretz Yisrael are considered a בן עולם הבא. How do we make the קינין on Torah? By making a סיום . But not just any סיום , but by doing it here in Eretz Yisrael, which is the source of our Torah knowledge, כי מציון תצא תורה. Just like Yaakov Avinu, our kinyan on Torah is the כלי or spiritual tool for us to accept the gift of Eretz Yisrael, which is given to us by G-d Himself.
Rav Dessler in Michtav MiEliyahu (vol. 3 pg. 192, כילים) states that the Torah we learned in Chutz LaAretz does not help us here. Here, in the Holy Land, we need to acquire new spiritual tools or theכלים של ארץ ישראל . We learn this idea from Yaakov when he met Esav. Yaakov told Esav that he does not want the benefits or נכסים of Chutz LaAretz, Yakov said:
מדרש, פרשת ויחי
אין נכסי חוץ לארץ כדאי לי .
The assets of Chutz LaAretz, are not worthwhile to me (Midrash, Parshas VaYechi).
Yaakov then gave all of his possessions to Esav. Here, in Eretz Yisrael we get cleansed of our Chutz LaAretz possessions and mindset only if we are willing to make the kinyan with Hashem. We acquire this land by living here as Torah observant Jews, despite all the odds and obstacles. Here we know there is only One G-d שמע ישראל ה’ .אלקינו ה’ אחד We know that both the good and the seemingly bad, all comes from one loving source. Words are cheap. The only action for a Jew that counts is living here in Israel, and this demonstrates our true belief in One and only Powerful G-d.
How Do We Get These Keilim?
To get the proper kli here to serve Hashem, we must do actions that awaken the world down here אתערותא דלתתא. In this manner we will get סיוע לעלות יותר.
The avoda here in Eretz Yisrael is unique עבודת ארץ ישראל שונה לגמרי. We need to relearn all of our Torah from the beginning, here in Eretz Yisrael. There is a direct connection to all three gifts listed by RaShbY in Meseches Berachos: We are supposed to live in Eretz Yisrael, then acquire the Torah by learning it to completion, and then keep reviewing it (הדרן). In this manner we make the kinyan and can say יש לי , on the שי or present that G-d gave us. In this manner we can be a Ben Olam Habah. Here we have a סייעתא דשמיא חדש and get רוחניות חדשיות.
What Is The Advantage of Acquiring Torah in Eretz Yisrael?
We learn about the local Torah advantage from the יש concept. The Rambam explains that the number 310 of yesh, represents permanence, eternal existence and devikus to Hashem. We know that Eretz Yisrael is the one place where we can achieve shlemus and Dvekus to Hashem.
The Tosafos Yom Tov teaches that when we got Eretz Yisrael we conquered 31 kings and 7 nations. In the time of Moshiach, all of the 70 nations will be subservient to us or 7×10 , a tenfold increase of our influence on the world. In addition, we will have dominion over 10 more fold number of kings or 31 x10 = 310. This is implied by the word להנחיל אהבי יש, in Mishlei, this means to inherit. Eretz Yisrael with Torah is our nachala, inheritance.
In addition, the Birkas Yitzchak points out the 310 is 2×155. The word acquire קנה is the gematria of 155, and this word is repeated twice in one posuk in Mishlei. We learn from Mishlei (Chapter 4) that whoever acquires Chochma also acquires Bina.
משלי ד: ב,ה
כִּי לֶקַח טוֹב, נָתַתִּי לָכֶם; תּוֹרָתִי, אַל תַּעֲזֹבוּ… קְנֵה חָכְמָה, קְנֵה בִינָה; אַל תִּשְׁכַּח וְאַל תֵּט, מֵאִמְרֵי פִי.
For I gave you good teaching; do not forsake My Torah…Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth (Mishlei 4: 2,5).
With Chochma and Bina, 155×2 = 310, we can make a kinyan (acquire wisdom and understanding) via Torah study and performing the Mitzvos.
The Toras Chaim points out that there are 613 mitzvos for Jews + 7 mitzvos for Binei Noach, for a total of 620 mitzvos. With each mitzvah that we fulfill we create an actual world. However, we cannot acquire all 620 worlds, since we are called Adam. G-d created Adam as zachar and nikeiva (male and female, ONLY). Therefore, we need to divide the 620 worlds into 2, which is 310. This needs to be shared equally by the male and his wife, as stated in the mishana לכל צדיק וצדיק. We know from Rav Avraham Azulai in his Chesed L’Avraham, that whoever lives in Eretz Yisrael is called a Tzadik.
כל הדר באר”י נקרא צדיק, הגם שהוא אנו צדיק כפי הנראה לעיניים. כי אם לא היה צדיק, היתה הארץ מקיאתו, כמו שהכתוב אומר, “ותקיא הארץ את יושביה”. וכיון שהארץ אינה מקיאתו – בהכרח הוא שנקרא צדיק ואף שהוא בחזקת רשע.
Whoever lives in Eretz Yisrael is called a Tzadik, even if he is not a Tzadik as it would seem to our perspective. For if he was not a Tzadik, the Land would vomit him out, as the Pasuk says, “And the Land vomited out its inhabitants”. And since [we see] that The Land has not vomited him out – this proves that he is called a Tzadik even though he [maybe] considered a rasha (Chessd L’Avraham).
I thank my wife for being my Tzadekes and sharing with me, this zechus of completing Shas. This is what Rav Akiva meant when he said to his wife, “What is mine and yours is really hers” שלי ושלכם שלה הוא (Kesubos 62b, Nedarim 50a).
Aliyah, Progress, Spritual Growth – Is Difficult.
Aliyah is hard because we are attached to our possessions, ideas and our Torah learning from Chutz LaAretz. What do we really have and possess? מה יש לי? Remember Yaakov was making Aliyah when he met Esav,.
We learn in Parshas Ki Savo, that G-d will elevate us over the goyim through the Chachma of the Torah.
וְהָיָה אִם שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַֽעֲשׂוֹת אֶת כָּל מִצְוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָֽנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם וּנְתָנְךָ ה’ אֱלֹקיךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל־גּוֹיֵי הָאָֽרֶץ:
And it will be if you obey Hashem, your G-d, to observe to fulfill all His commandments which I command you this day, Hashem, your G-d, will place you supreme above all the nations of the earth (Vayikra 28:1).
When do the goyim recognize the Chochma of Yisrael? When we are living and studying the Torah of Eretz Yisrael, such as the Mishnayos.
דברים ד:ו פרשת ואתחנן
וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם וַֽעֲשִׂיתֶם כִּי הִוא חָכְמַתְכֶם וּבִינַתְכֶם לְעֵינֵי הָֽעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמְעוּן אֵת כָּל־הַֽחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה וְאָֽמְרוּ רַק עַם חָכָם וְנָבוֹן הַגּוֹי הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּֽה:
And you shall keep [them] and do [them], for that is your Chochma and your Bina in the eyes of the nations, who will hear all these statutes and say, “Only this great nation is a wise and understanding people. ” ) Devarim 4:6)
In the Birkas Hamazon, we begin the second blessing by thanking Hashem for his gifts to us: נוֹדֶה לְּךָ ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה… וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ; then we conclude with אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב בַּכֹּל מִכֹּל כֹּל . We say the blessing of כל not רב , because we demonstrate that we are connected to our source. As the Sefas Emes explains, the meaning of כל – “”…מי שדבוק בשורש עליון מה שיש לו – הוא בחינת כל. Whoever connects to the Holy root with what he has “yesh” – he is the facet of kol. We, the Bnei Yisrael who are from Eretz Yisrael, are learning the Torah of Eretz Yisrael and are actually connecting to our שורשים (our Holy roots).
There are only three things that we have in this world that we can truly say are ours, יש לי, because G-d gave them to us as gift, שי : Eretz Yisrael, Torah, and Olam Habah. However, we need to accept these gifts and make a kinyan in order to acquire them and thus make them ours. Then we can say – יש לי.
I completed Shas Mishna during the month of Cheshvan, which is also known as the month of the mabul מבול (Noach’s flood). One reason for this name is because the word “bul” means an official seal. During this month after all the major Holidays, we have the opportunity to put our spiritual “seal” on the following year. My “bul” for this year is this Siyum of Shas. The Siyum completion ceremony is like typing up a project on a computer and then clicking on the save button.
Eretz Yisrael is given with yisurin, Torah is given only after a lot of effort. However, by living in Eretz Yisrael and making the kinyan daily we have a “יש”. By make a siyum, we demonstrate that the learning of the Torah of Eretz Yisrael is Yisurin of Ahava (love); and this will get us b’sayatiya dishmaya, to our Olam Haba.
We publicize siyumin in order to create Jealousy of Torah learning. I hope all Jews will aspira to continue the spritual chain, and for each one to make a siyum of Shas Mishna in Eretz Yisrael; where it all began.