THE NUMBER OF MITZVOS TO FOCUS ON
David gave 11 Mitzvos for people to focus on (Ramah - through these, Hash-m will help them guard all the Mitzvos; others explain, these have exceedingly great reward) - "... Holech Tamim..."
Avraham exemplified "Holech Tamim" - "His'halech Lefanai v'Hye Samim";
Aba Chilkiya illustrates "u'Fo'el Tzedek" (he would not even answer 'Shalom' while working);
Rav Safra illustrates "v'Dover Emes bi'Lvavo" (he was offered a certain price for something, and intended to accept. Before he was able to speak, he was offered more. Nevertheless, he sold it for the price he mentally agreed to);
Yakov illustrates "Lo Ragal Al Leshono" - he was reluctant to deceive Yitzchak (to get the blessings), even though Rivka told him to do so based on a prophecy;
"Lo Asah l'Re'ehu Ra" - he did not adopt another's profession (where this would be unfair competition);
"V'Cherpah Lo Nasa Al Kerovo" - he draws his relatives close;
Chizkiyah illustrates "Nivzeh b'Einav Nim'as" - he dragged his father's bones on a bed of ropes (to atone for him). (Rashi (Sanhedrin) - Chizkiyah was lowly in his own eyes, and he was willing to disgrace himself; Rivan - Chizkiyah scorned even his father, because his father was disgraceful to Hash-m).
King Yehoshafat illustrates "'Es Yire'ei Hash-m Yechaved." When he would see a Chacham, he would rise from his throne, kiss him and say 'Avi Avi Rebbi... '
R. Yochanan illustrates "Nishba Lehara v'Lo Yamir" - he would accept to fast until he reached home (merely to evade eating with the Nasi. In any case, he kept his oath);
"Kaspo Lo Nasan b'Neshech" - he would not take interest from a Nochri (lest he come to take from a Yisrael);
R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi illustrates "v'Shochad Al Naki Lo Lakach" (his sharecropper brought R. Yishmael's normal share a day early because he had to come for judgment. R. Yishmael refused to take it, and did not judge his case.)
Raban Gamliel would cry when he read "Ose Eleh Lo Yimot l'Olam." One who does all these will not falter, but one who only does one will fall!
Rabanan: It does not say 'Ose Kol Eleh', rather, "Ose Eleh." One who does even one will not falter!
Support: It says "Al Titam'u b'Chol Aleh", but you cannot say that only one who transgresses all of the Arayos is corrupt!
Rather, one who transgresses any one of them is corrupt. Likewise, one who has any one of the above merits will live.
Yeshayah gave six Mitzvos for people to focus on - "Holech Tzedakos..."
Avraham exemplified "Holech Tzedakos" - "Yetzaveh (Es Banav... La'asos Tzedakah u'Mishpat)";
"V'Dover Meisharim" - no one is pained by his words in public (Maharsha; Aruch l'Ner - if he must rebuke someone, he does so in private).
R. Yishmael ben Elisha illustrates "Mo'es b'Vetza Ma'ashakos" - (he was a Kohen, yet he refused to take Reishis ha'Gez (first shearings) from a party who came for judgment, for this would deprive the Kohen who normally received the man's gifts).
R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi (brought above) illustrates "No'er Kapav mi'Tmoch ba'Shochad";
"Otem Azno mi'Shmo'a Damim" - if he hears a Chacham shamed, he is not silent;
(R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon was normally very careful about this. Once, he was not, and he was punished.)
(R. Chiya bar Aba): "V'Otzem Einav me'R'os b'Ra" - he shuts his eyes to avoid looking at women doing laundry (at the river, for they are barefoot);
It says about one who fulfills these "Hu Meromim Yishkon..."
Michah gave three Mitzvos for people to focus on - "Asos Mishpat..."
"Asos Mishpat" is monetary laws;
"Ahavas Chesed" is bestowing Chesed;
"V'Hatzne'a Leches Im Elokecha" is escorting the dead and bringing a Kalah to Chupah;
Even though these are normally done in public, they should be done modestly. All the more so, things that are normally done covertly should be done modestly!
Yeshayah later gave two primary Mitzvos - "Shimru Mishpat va'Asu Tzedakah."
Amos gave one primary Mitzvah - "Dirshuni vi'Chyu."
Objection (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Perhaps Amos instructs to expound the entire Torah!
Rather, Chabakuk gave one primary Mitzvah - "v'Tzadik be'Emunaso Yichyeh."
EXILE AND REDEMPTION OF YISRAEL
(R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): Moshe made four enactments, and four Nevi'im annulled them:
Moshe said "v'Yishkon Yisrael Betach Badad Ein Yakov" (Rivan - Yisrael will be secure when they are Tzadikim like Yakov; Ramah - only the elite of Yakov will have serenity) but Amos said "Chadal Na Mi Yakum Yakov Ki Katan Hu (we cannot (all) be like Yakov, but still, we should have serenity);
"Nichem Hash-m Al Zos" (Hash-m agreed).
Moshe said "uva'Goyim ha'Hem Lo Sargi'a" (Yisrael will not rest in Galus), but Yeshayah said "Haloch Lehargi'a Yisrael."
Moshe said "Poked Avon Avos Al Banim", but Yechezkeil said "ha'Nefesh ha'Chotas Hi Samus."
Moshe said "va'Avadtem ba'Goyim" (Yisrael will be lost in exile), Yeshayah said "Yitaka b'Shofar u'Va'u ha'Ovdim..."
(Rav): I fear "va'Avadtem ba'Goyim"!
Objection (Rav Papa): Perhaps it means that Yisrael will be like a lost object that the owner is seeking - "Ta'isi k'Seh Oved Bakesh Avdecha"!
Correction: Rather, Rav feared (the end of the verse) "v'Achlah Eschem Eretz Oyveichem."
Objection (Mar Zutra): Perhaps Yisrael will be only partially consumed, like gourds (which are not totally eaten)!
Raban Gamliel, R. Elazar ben Azaryah, R. Yehoshua and R. Akiva were walking. They heard the clamor of Romi from 120 Mil away. (The other) Chachamim cried, and R. Akiva laughed.
Chachamim: Why are you laughing?!
R. Akiva: Why are you crying?
Chachamim: They bow and bring incense to idols, yet they are serene. The footstool of Hash-m (the Mikdash) was burned. How can we not cry?!
R. Akiva: That is why I laugh. If Hash-m gives such reward to those who transgress His will, how much greater will be the reward of those who do His will!
On another occasion, they were alighting to Yerushalayim. When they reached Har ha'Tzofim, they tore their garments. When they reached Har ha'Bayis, they saw a fox emerge from the Kodesh ha'Kodoshim. Chachamim cried, and R. Akiva laughed.
Chachamim: Why are you laughing?!
R. Akiva: Why are you crying?
Chachamim: Regarding the Mikdash it says "veha'Zar ha'Karev Yumas", and now foxes go there. How can we not cry?!
R. Akiva: That is why I laugh - "v'A'ida Li Edim Ne'emanim Es Uriyah ha'Kohen v'Es Zecharyah";
Question: Uriyah was in Bayis Rishon, and Zecharyah was in Bayis Sheni. Why does the verse put them together?
Answer: The Torah connects their prophecies. Uriyah said "Tziyon Sadeh Secharesh", and Zecharyah said "Od Yeshvu Zekenim u'Zkenos bi'Rchovos Yerushalayim";
Uriyah's prophecy must be fulfilled before Zecharyah's. Now that I see the fulfillment of Uriyah's prophecy, I know that Zecharyah's can be fulfilled at any moment! (Anaf Yosef)
Chachamim: You comforted us!