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Stand by Your Word! – On Second Thought

On Second Thought: Delving Into the Sugya with Rabbanit Yafit Clymer


Bava Metzia 48

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בבא מציעא מ״ח א

מִי שֶׁפָּרַע מֵאַנְשֵׁי דּוֹר הַמַּבּוּל וּמֵאַנְשֵׁי דּוֹר הַפְּלַגָּה וּמֵאַנְשֵׁי סְדוֹם וַעֲמוֹרָה וּמִמִּצְרַיִם בַּיָּם –

הוּא עָתִיד לִיפָּרַע מִמִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹמֵד בְּדִיבּוּרוֹ.


Bava Metzia 48a:1-2

He Who exacted payment from the people of the generation of the flood, and from the generation of the dispersion, i.e., that of the Tower of Babel, the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Egyptians at the [Red] Sea, will in the future exact payment from whoever does not stand by his statement.


מדרש בראשית רבה לא ה

“As the earth is filled with injustice because of them.” What is injustice and what is stealing? Rabbi anina said: Injustice involves less than a peruta and robbery involves a peruta.
This is what the members of the generation of the Flood would do: One of them would take out a basket filled with lupin beans [to the marketplace]. One person would come and take less than a peruta worth [of beans] and another one would come and take less than a peruta worth; less than the amount for which one would be able to collect compensation in court. The Holy One blessed be He said to them: ‘You acted improperly; I, too, will act improperly with you.’


Shemot Rabba 30/13

Another matter, “a king upholds the land with justice,” this is Israel, as it is stated: “You shall be for Me a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6). “But a man of donations [terumot] will destroy it,” this is the generation of the flood, which did not implement justice. See what is written in their regard: “They drive the donkey of orphans…. They turn the indigent from the way” (Job 24:3–4).


Sheeta Mekubetset(Rav Betsalel Ashkenazi, Israel16 th centery

He who extracted payment from the generation of the flood, who were full of evil doing and who didn’t stand by their word, 

And the Egyptians did not stand by their word – every time they said to send Israel out of Egypt they reneged.


שמות ד י 

But Moses said to יהוה, “Please, O my lord, I have never been a man of words, either in times past or now that You have spoken to Your servant; I am slow of speech and slow of tongue”.


שמות ד יא-יב

And יהוה said to him, “Who gives humans speech? Who makes them dumb or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, יהוה? 

Now go, and I will be with you as you speak and will instruct you what to say.”


Ha’shla  (rabi Yeshayahu Horowits, 16/17th Cen.)

The prophet Zechariah said, ” Thus said GOD: I have returned to Zion, and I will dwell in Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called the City of Faithfulness”

 And it is difficult for me what is the matter with this name that called the city of truth and not the city of justice or the like…


הרב סולובייציקRedenption, Prayer, Talmud Torah 

Redemption is the same as mutual attachment, with the revelation of the word, that is, with the appearance of speech. When a people abandon a silent world and enters a world of sound, of speech and song, it becomes a redeemed people, a freed people. 

In other words, muted life is the same as slavery! A life endowed with speech is a life of freedom. 

Judaism, in contrast to the mystical orthodoxy that praises tolerance towards pain, desires humans to cry out loudly against any kind of pain, to react with rage towards any injustice and unfairness


Rav Kook

At the meeting point between “and man became a living soul” and the Spirit fills, lies the great question regarding the expression and formulation, which are in fact copies of reality that will be faithful to the original. It is this fundamental difficulty that occupied Moshe who claimed: I am selfish with a heavy mouth and a heavy tongue. Moshe’s difficulties in expressing themselves stemmed from his upper misunderstandings and when an appropriate way was found to formulate them, the stuttering was created.


S’fat Emet

“The Lord shall open my lips and my mouth shall speak of your glory” therefore we must trust redemption to prayer, since upon the exodus from Egypt the mouths of Israel were opened and they set it between redemption and prayer because this is the purpose of redemption to be the opening of the mouths of Israel


Rabbanit Yafit Clymer

Rabbanit Yafit Clymer is a senior lecturer in Jewish Studies at the several Matan learning centers, at 'Emunah' and WebYeshiva. She is a group instructor for various programs. Rabbanit Clymer is part of the steering committee of the 'Beit Hillel' organization and answers halachic questions online as a part of their Meshivat Nefesh project.
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