ROSH HASHANAH 26 (5 Sivan) - Dedicated l'Zecher Nishmas Reb Chaim Aryeh ben Aharon Stern Z'L by Shmuel Gut of Brooklyn, N.Y.


QUESTION: The Gemara relates that the Rabanan did not know the meaning of the word "Yehavcha" in the verse, "Cast upon Hash-m Yehavcha" (Tehilim 55:23), until an Arab merchant told Rabah bar bar Chana, "Take your Yehav and cast it upon my camel." At that moment they learned that "Yehavcha" means "your burden."
How was it possible that an Arab merchant was more familiar with the meaning of the words of Tehilim than the Amora'im of his time? (VILNA GA'ON, cited by Rav Mendel of Shklov in his commentary to Mishlei 3:5)
ANSWER: The VILNA GA'ON answers that the Rabanan knew the meaning of the word "Yehavcha." Their uncertainty involved the meaning of the verse and arose from their doubt about a basic concept in Avodas Hash-m. The Rabanan were not sure how far the trait of "Bitachon," trust in Hash-m, must be taken. Perhaps one is supposed to make an effort to provide a livelihood for himself and then trust that Hash-m will cause his efforts to bear fruit. On the other hand, perhaps the optimal expression of Bitachon is when a person makes no physical effort to provide for himself, but rather he focuses entirely on serving Hash-m and trusting that Hash-m will provide him with all of his material needs.
The word "Yehav" in the verse comes from the word "Yahav," the Aramaic word for "Nasan," to give. The Rabanan initially understood that that the former type of Bitachon is the proper approach, and thus they did not understand why this word is used in the verse. The verse should not say, "Cast upon Hash-m what you give," but rather, "Cast upon Hash-m what you need (Tzorchecha)."
The incident of Rabah bar bar Chana and the Arab merchant demonstrated that the latter approach to Bitachon is the correct one. Rabah should have had to pay the Arab to carry his burden for him, but instead the Arab voluntarily suggested that Rabah cast his burden upon the Arab's camel. The use of the word "Yehav" in this incident demonstrates that the word "Yehavcha" is used in the verse to teach that Hash-m provides all the needs of the person who trusts in Him and He does not demand that the person invest his own effort into providing for his needs. Even though it was Rabah who should have asked and even paid the Arab to carry his burden, nevertheless the Arab asked Rabah to allow him to carry the burden. The Rabanan understood from that incident that when the verse uses the word "Yehavcha," it means, "Cast upon Hash-m even those things which you should rightfully be required to give (money or effort) in order to gain." (See also DIVREI ELIYAHU, Tehilim 131:2.)
Incidentally, the question of the Rabanan seems to correspond to the debate among the Tana'im in Berachos (36b) about the extent to which one must develop his trait of Bitachon. The Vilna Ga'on's explanation here follows the opinion of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai, who maintains that Hash-m will send provisions to the person who commits all of his time and energy to learning Torah. (Apparently, even Rebbi Yishmael -- who apparently argues with Rebbi Shimon there -- agrees that one on the spiritual level of Rebbi Shimon must develop this degree of Bitachon.)
The Vilna Ga'on there explains the verse in Mishlei (3:5), "Trust in Hash-m with all your heart (b'Chol Libecha)." He explains that one should change the order of the letters in the word "Libecha" and transform "your heart" ("Libecha" -- Lamed, Beis, Kaf) so that it is "entirely" ("ba'Kol" -- Beis, Kaf, Lamed) dedicated to the service of Hash-m. When one does so, Hash-m will bless him in return with "ba'Kol" -- all that he could possibly need.
Perhaps this is also the implication of the end of the verse quoted by the Gemara here: "Cast upon Hash-m your burden (Yehavcha) and He will provide for you (Yechalkelecha)." "Yechalkel" comes from the word "Kol" -- He will provide you with all of your needs, "ba'Kol," because you placed all of your trust in Him.
This may be the meaning of the verse which says that Hash-m blessed Avraham "ba'Kol" (Bereishis 24:1). The Midrash says, "Avraham had a daughter (i.e., a trait) named ba'Kol." That is, Avraham Avinu placed his full, unwavering trust in Hash-m and acknowledged that there is no need to put any effort into providing sustenance for oneself because Hash-m will provide for him. In return, Hash-m indeed provided Avraham with all of his needs. That verse introduces the Torah's account of how Eliezer sought a wife for Yitzchak at Avraham's behest. Why did Avraham send Eliezer to find a wife for his son, and he did not have Yitzchak himself go to find a wife for himself? How could Avraham be confident that Eliezer would succeed in finding a fitting match for Yitzchak? The answer is that Avraham knew that Hash-m provided him with all of his needs and that his own efforts were superfluous. It was from Avraham's expression of Bitachon that Eliezer, Avraham's servant, learned that the way to find a wife for Yitzchak was to ask Hash-m to help him and show him the proper bride in a miraculous manner, rather than to research various families and interview multiple candidates. (M. Kornfeld)