BAVA BASRA 164 - A week of learning has been dedicated towards meriting a Refu'ah Sheleimah for Eliezer Lipa ben Yetta, by Mr. and Mrs. Kornfeld of Yerushalayim.



QUESTION: Rav Amram said in the name of Rav that there are three Aveiros "from which no person is saved every day: Hirhur Aveirah, Iyun Tefilah, and Lashon ha'Ra." The Gemara explains that "Lashon ha'Ra" refers to Avak Lashon ha'Ra (see Background to the Daf).

What does the Gemara mean when it says that "no man is saved" from these Aveiros? Certainly there are great Tzadikim and Talmidei Chachamim who -- even if not entirely free of sin (see Koheles 7:20) -- do not transgress all of these Aveiros every day! Why does the Gemara say that no person is saved from these three Aveiros every day?

Moreover, if no one is saved from these three Aveiros, why are they Aveiros? Hash-m certainly would not give commandments that are impossible to observe.


(a) The IYUN YAKOV explains that the Gemara means that because the temptation for these three Aveiros is so great, no person is saved from these three Aveiros without putting forth tremendous effort. One who puts forth the effort to protect himself from these Aveiros will succeed and will not succumb.

The TORAS CHAIM, however, seems to disagree with this explanation. He asks why the Gemara says that "no person is saved" from these three Aveiros when it should say simply that "there are three Aveiros which a person transgresses every day." He answers that the Gemara is teaching that even one who attempts to avoid these Aveiros will not be saved from transgressing them inadvertently, since the frequency of the challenge of these Aveiros is so great. How, then, does the Toras Chaim explain that there are Tzadikim who are able to avoid these Aveiros?

(b) The MAHARSHA explains that when the Gemara says that "no person is saved" -- "Ein Adam Nitzol" -- from these three Aveiros, it refers to an ordinary person, but not to Tzadikim who indeed are saved from these Aveiros. He explains that while only a Yisrael, and not a Nochri, is called "Adam" (Yevamos 61a), there is still a much higher level that a person can reach. The verse in Zecharyah (3:7) says that when a person follows the ways of Hash-m, then "I will give you strides among these [Mal'achim] standing here." Similarly, the Gemara in Chagigah (15b) explains that the verse, "The lips of the Kohen shall safeguard knowledge, and they shall seek Torah from his mouth, because he is an agent (Mal'ach) of Hash-m..." (Malachi 2:7), teaches that when a Torah teacher is similar to a Mal'ach, then one should seek to learn Torah from him. This teaches that a person should strive to reach a level of absolute submission to Hash-m, like the level of the Mal'achim.

When the Gemara here says that "no person (Adam) is saved" from these three Aveiros, it refers to a person who has not yet reached this level of perfection in his Avodas Hash-m. The Maharsha explains that the word "Adam" is an acronym for the words, "Efer" (ashes or dust), "Dam" (blood), and "Marah" (bile), as the Gemara in Sotah (5a) says. An ordinary person, whose physical composition dominates his actions, is not able to prevent himself from transgressing these three Aveiros. The fact that he is comprised of "Efer" negates his ability to activate his spiritual strengths in order to pray properly, and thus he sins with the Aveirah of Iyun Tefilah. The heat of the "Dam" within him causes him to lust for immoral pleasure, and thus he is not saved from Hirhur Aveirah. His element of "Marah," bile, creates in him the bitterness that causes him to have bad Midos and leads him to speak Lashon ha'Ra.

A person who conquers the lusts created by his physical composition overcomes the pull of those elements and rises above the status of "Adam" ("Efer, Dam, Marah") and becomes comparable to a Mal'ach. Such a person certainly is able to avoid transgressing these Aveiros.