Terumah 5784: The Purpose of American Wealth and Prosperity

L’zchus HaBachur Mordechai ben R’ Eliezer

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Shiur presented in 5781

The Discovery of America Was For Torah

In this week’s parshah the subject is Hashem telling Moshe to tell Klal Yisrael about the Yidden donating money and goods to the Mishkan. One of the keilim in the Mishkan was the Aron. It says regarding the Aron ועשית בדי עצי שטים, “you should make poles” (in Yiddish it’s called shtangen), that you put in the Aron (Shemos 25:13). Chazal say (Midrash Lekach Tov, Shemos 25:13), אלו המסייעין את עוסקי התורה, that refers to those who assist those who are involved in eisek haTorah. וציפית אותם זהב, “you should cover them with gold,” the pasuk continues. The Midrash (ibid)says vaiter:שבמקום שעתיד הקב”ה לעשות צל לעוסקי התורה, just like in the future Hashem will make a special tzel, a special place for those who are osek beTorah, so too עתיד לעשות למחזיקים בה,Hashem will also make a special place for those people who are machzik the Torah.[i]

Now, whether you realize it or not, every Jew has a chelek in Torah. Every Jew has a chiyuv mideoreisa ללמוד תורה ביום ובלילה. If you can’t be a lomed Torah,you have an opportunity to be a facilitator of Torah.

If someone were to ask Rav Chaim Kanievsky for what purpose was the land of America discovered by Columbus, what would he say? To get rid of the Indians? No. What do you think the answer would be?

Rav Chaim said there was once a talmid chacham who went to America to collect money for kollelim. When he came back, he told Rav Chaim, “Yesterday I came from America and I’m pashut nespael. I am amazed. There are business people, many business people who go to work early in the morning. They come back at night, tired and even so they have hours at night where they accept all types of shluchei mitzvah and they treat them all beseiver panim yafos.”Rav Chaim told him that was the reason that America was discovered by Columbus. That was its tafkid – to be machzik lomdei Torah.

When you learned history they didn’t teach you that. Now you learned an important history lesson.

This is called a Torah perspective. When you go to Manhattan, you see all these big, tall buildings. Once upon a time, there used to be a lot of people running around there, a busy place. Corporate headquarters of the major corporations of the world. Hundreds of millions and billions of dollars passed hands. For what purpose? To support Torah in the world.

Be Osek BaTorah For Life And Hatzlachah

Another time a fellow came to Rav Chaim and he told him that pashut there are people who work from day to night and then after that they go and have a shiur in gemara. They chap arein some supper in between. Then they sit the rest of the evening and they’re mekabel meshulachim from Eretz Yisrael and they’re mekabel them nicely. You know what Rav Chaim said? “From that conduct they’re matzliach and they live. That’s what gives them life and that’s what brings them hatzlachah.”

People don’t understand the chashivus, the importance of being a supporter of Torah. Do you want to be a supporter of Torah? A lot of kids dream about becoming rich. I’ve heard from many young people, “Someday I’m going to be wealthy.” I told them, “I’ve got some news for you. I don’t want to rain on your party, but the probabilities of that happening are not great.” A number of them asked me, “How do you know that?” I said, “Well, there’s a concept in the Torah that’s called  אחרי רבים להטות (Shemos 23:2)from which we learn the din of הולכין אחר הרב. Are rov, the majority of people wealthy? No. Rov people are dreamers. They’re dreamy children. They’re dreaming of becoming rich. That’s the American dream. And they die with their dreams.”

You have to know that the reason for wealth is to be machzik Torah. I’ll tell you a peledike chiddush. Rav Shach said it. Rav Chaim Kanievsky said it. Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman said it. The fact is that after World War II, there were such chiddushim in the olam haTorah that never existed beforehand. The fact that ashirim should give money to Torah in such a form and fashion?! That never existed before the churban Europe. A yam, a sea of money is being given to support Torah all over the world, and especially in America.

Hashem’s Chessed to Help us Rebuild

Rav Chaim said, “Do you know why it’s like that? Because after the churban haTorah,Hashem gave the possibility to build the Torah anew and this is happening through granting these people money.”

The Ponevezher Rav also said thatthe increase of Torah after World War II was much greater than before the war.

I once told this to a talmid chacham from the old country. He got all angry at me arguing about the unsurpassed quality of Torah that existed in those days. I told him, “What world did you live in?” He said, “You never saw Telz.” I said, “Okay, I’m not saying there wasn’t quality, but the quantity of Torah, the fact that there are so many sefarim today. It used to be it was very little and now it’s unbelievable.”

A Serious Investment

Now, many people give tzedakah, but most people don’t take their tzedakah seriously. They really don’t. They don’t understand that tzedakah is a real true investment.

When Lakewood Yeshivah made their 50th year dinner, some people came to Rav Chaim Kanievsky and they asked him, “Is any special sechar going to be meted out for people who donate to Lakewood? What’s going to be the middah keneged middah?” Rav Chaim said, “They’re going to sit in Gan Eden together with many talmidei chachamim.” You hear this? So they asked, “Will they sit together with Rav Aharon, zichrono levrachah?” Hesaid, “Lefi the medrash, mestama,yes.”

A person has to know that someday you’re going to have to ask yourself, “Do I have any investments in Lakewood Yeshivah?” And when you give that donation, you have to think to yourself, what are you giving it for? Lakewood is a huge empire today. When you’re giving it, you have to have in mind what you’re giving it for.

You want a chelek in the Mir in Yerushalayim? You want a chelek in the big institutions of Torah? It would be very wise if you’d get yourself a ‘piece of the rock.’ You’ll come to the next world, you’re going to have a chelek. Otherwise, you’ll come there and you’ll have zero.

What is the Hierarchy of Torah Support?

A group of talmidei chachamim sat down with Rav Chaim and they asked him, “Could you tell us clearly what’s the order of the hierarchy when we give our tzedakah? How do we give it?” Today, many people come with letters. Everybody has a heartbreaking story about how they are the cause of all causes. One guy can’t pay his rent. The other person had a business, the business went down. Yesterday, there was a guy who looked like a rosh yeshivah who came here. He said his business plotzed twice. Now he’s trying to open it a third time. Could you help me? Here is a guy that works, a guy who comes every year. He’s a contractor. He’s a builder. He realized that shnorring gelt was a much better business than a contractor’s. He once told me, “I’ll be very straight with you. I’m going to keep on shnorring. It makes me be a put together guy.” You could see he’s a besser mentsch. “How come you don’t feel bad?” I asked him. He said, “What should I feel bad about? I don’t feel bad about it. Nu, now that I told you the truth…” I said, “I’m going to give you a donation kefi what you’re shaveh.”He just called recently, somebody from here, “Remember me? I’m the contractor. Send me $100.”

Torah is Number 1

As Rav Chaim said, the highest, first precedent your money should go for is for Torah, Torah, Torah. Now, should it be for a building or should it go for ongoing support? Rav Chaim said whatever is more necessary. If right now they desperately need a building and it’s minimizing the Torah growth, then you give for that. If it’s more needed for the upkeep of the yeshivah, then give money for that. Even if they’d like to put up a nice beautiful building, but it’s not exactly needed, then it’s not as important.

A Regular Yeshivah

What’s more important: a regular yeshivah or a yeshivah for ba’alei teshuvah?Absolutely a regular yeshivah. That’s also something that a lot of people don’t know. I remember working many years ago in a ba’al teshuvah yeshivain Eretz Yisrael and thinking it’s the most important cause. I remember, I met a very famous American wealthy gvir who came to the yeshivah when I was teaching there. He came there and he said, “I only help ba’alei teshuvah yeshivos.” I was thinking to myself, “You’re a wise businessman. You know how to corner the market.” Then I asked my grandfather (Rav Avigdor Miller, zt”l) afterwards: “What takes precedence?” He said, “A regular yeshivah – any time of the day.” And Rav Chaim said that and Rav Shach said the same thing. I said, “Boy, I’m a poor businessman, and so is that guy too, because he doesn’t know how to invest.” Now, I’m happy for the mosad that he helped by giving them millions of dollars, but it doesn’t mean it was the best investment.

A Yeshivah And Kollel are Above a Cheder

Now, he said, “What takes precedence, you have a cheider for children, a talmud Torah, versus a yeshivah or a kollel?” Rav Chaim said, once again a yeshivah and a kollel take precedence. He explained the reason why, but that’s the rule of what’s more important.

Hachnasas Kallah

Let’s say you have hachnasas kallah or you have support of yesomim. What takes precedence over there? A kallah who is not a yesomah but doesn’t have money to get married. What takes precedence? Rav Chaim said, “In Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah (249:15)it says clearly there’s no mitzvah as great as hachnasas kallah besulah, to marry off a girl who was never married.”[ii] I would never have thought so. That’s because we work on emotions. You can’t pasken on emotions.

A Kallah Yesomah

Now, sometimes you get both. Somebody called me this Sunday with a heartbreaking story of a 39 year old woman who just died from cancer after suffering for a few years. She left a family of yesomim. Her first child, a daughter, is getting married this coming Monday. They’re getting up from shivah on Thursday and going to the chasunah on Monday. They have no money. Could you help them? I said, “I definitely want to. I would like to get a piece of that investment. That’s hachnasas kallah – a great mitzvah – and a yesomah.”That’s what they call a dual mitzvah, two for the price of one.

Aniyim in Eretz Yisrael or Local Ones?

Another thing. Let’s say you have עניי עירך versus עניי ארץ ישראל, so aniyim from your city come first. (Yoreh Deah 251:3).[iii] But if you have aniyim of Eretz Yisrael versus aniyim of chutz la’aretz – let’s say we live in Cleveland and there are aniyim in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, in Lakewood and you also have aniyim in Eretz Yisrael – in that case, the aniyim in Eretz Yisrael take precedence (ibid).

But that’s all when all matters are equal. If you have an ani in Eretz Yisrael who is just missing some money and an ani in New York who is on the street, then that guy in New York takes precedence.

Avos Ubanim or a Kollel

Rav Chaim was asked about a wonderful fellow who came up with the idea of avos ubanim, to establish on Motzei Shabbos in shuls – a most beautiful thing! Swarms of fathers and children come to learn after havdalah in the shul. It’s a beautiful idea! They give out prizes. They collect money. It’s a beautiful zach. “What’s more important, to support a kollel or to support avos ubanim?” He said, once again, supporting a kollel wins hands down.

Now, he says how could it be? Lechorah children’s Torah is תינוקות של בית רבן. The gemara (Shabbos 119b)[iv] says they keep the world in existence, so doesn’t that give them precedence? Rav Chaim said no, because a yeshivah or a kollel both already contain established talmidei chachamim and the world stands upon the yeshivos also, besides just the learning of the children.

Yeshivas Bein Hazemanim for Avreichim

Who gets first? Let’s say you have yungeleit in a kollel. Somebody comes up with an idea of a yeshivas bein hazmanim. Great idea! What takes precedence? Once again the avreichim, the yungeleit take precedence.

An Individual or a Kollel or Yeshivah?

Next question: what if you have a kollel or a yeshivah and a private person who is desperately in need. Who should you give money to first? Here, it depends on the degree of the need and it depends on the amount of talmidim in the kollel or yeshivah. If they’re the same, then you have to know what’s better, a yeshivah with bachurim or a kollel with avreichim. But a private nitzrach doesn’t take precedence over a kollel or a yeshivah.

Zechus from Kollel, Yeshivah or Avos Ubanim?

Now, someone has a sick person in his family and he wants to give money to tzedakah as a zechus for the choleh. Should he give it to a kollel? Should he give it to a yeshivah? Or should he give it to avos ubanim? Rav Chaim said, “A yeshivah goes before a kollel and a kollel goes before avos ubanim.”The reason a yeshivah goes before a kollel is because the yungeleit in the kollel will learn Torah even if they don’t get money. But bachurim, if there is no money in the yeshivah to feed them, they won’t learn anything. But Rav Chaim said that if the yungeleit won’t be able to learn if they don’t get money, then the yungeleit take precedence.  A yeshivah or kollel both come before avos ubanim.

A talmid chacham remarked regarding this, “But avos ubanim is a big zach.”Rav Chaim said, “Avada it’s a big zach, but it’s a mitzvah of chessed.” He said, “For avos ubanim, every father has his mitzvah to learn with his kid.” He said, “My father learned with me until he died. He taught me shas, Yerushalmi, Tosefta, medrashim over the years. That was his mitzvah.”

There was a rich man that came forward and he said he wants to donate money for buildings. He likes to have real estate.. He doesn’t want to support Torah. Rav Chaim was asked, “What’s the hashkafah on this?” He said, “Whatever is more important is better, but someone who is not a ben Torah will never understand this. And he feels when he’s giving towards a building, he feels like he’s giving something. But when he thinks about supplying food, he thinks that tomorrow it will be forgotten like last year’s snow, so he doesn’t see that as valuable. That’s not true.”

A Yerushah: Torah, Unique Torah, or a Building?

Reichman’s children from Toronto came to Rav Chaim after their father’s petirah and they said after their father passed away everybody is giving them ideas of how they should invest their money le’iluy nishmas the father. They know their father was a ba’al tzedakah gadol. He would always ask rabbanim, da’as Torah what to do, so they’re asking what’s the derech? They want to know, should they give to gemilus chessed, צדקתו עומדת לעד. Maybe almonos veyesomim. Maybe hachzakas Torah or maybe for a building. Maybe yeshivos. Maybe kollelim. They asked, “Is there a ma’alah if there’s a kollel that learns mishnayos Taharos or something that’s unusual.” Rav Chaim said, “The ikar is to give for Torah. תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם. And also, to give for matters of mitzvos. I can’t tell you the details – how much percent for this, how much percent for that.” But he said תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם. For other things, somebody said, “How much should I give?” He said, “You could be yotzei with a shaveh prutah.”That’s what Rav Chaim said. A shaveh prutah you could be yotzei. If you see there’s a special need, then you can give more.

Support of Torah definitely takes precedence before a building of Torah. Yeshivos and kollelim are equal. Is there a ma’alah for a kollel that learns Taharos or something unique? Definitely, because they’re learning something for Hashem that not many people learn, so it’s bringing kavod to the Torah.

A Yeshivah and Kollel Together, a Night Kollel

That’s why I tell people, “We offer you the opportunity to support a yeshivah and a kollel together. That’s number one. Number two, we offer you the opportunity to support a night kollel. That night kollel is comprised of about 25 top level, major talmidei chachamim, all over the age of 40, ten children at least each one, all finished Bavli and Yerushalmi at least once. They’re be’emes prushim, tzaddikim, lomdei Torah mitoch hadechak. That’s one of the best golden parachutes that you can find in this world. And they learn Torah at a very unusual time. They learn Torah a whole day plus they learn at night, gemara b’iyun, continuously, six days a week. That’s tremendous!”

Learning Shas or a Gemach?

A fellow comes to Rav Chaim. His father died. He now wants to donate $100,000 le’iluy nishmas his father. Part of it he’s giving for a gemach. The other chelek he’s giving to yungeleit that they should learn shas for his father. But he has two options. Either they should learn shas with Tosfos and that’s going to cost him $70,000and remaining $30,000 will go to the gemach or he can hire a group to learn shas without Tosfos and that will only cost him $50,000 and the other $50,000 will go to the gemach. Rav Chaim said, “Ah, Torah is besser.  No matter what. Un mit Tosfos, Torah is besser.” So the person asked, “Should we not give anything for the gemach?” He said nachamol,“Torah is besser.”Torah is better. He didn’t say, don’t give. You asked me a question. I’m telling you Torah is better. Then the fellow said, “What if the gemach is for bnei Torah?” “Ah! Then it’s shaveh beshaveh. Then it’s equal. If the gemach is takeh for bnei Torah,then it’s equal to supporting Torah because you’re being machzik bnei Torah. Then you don’t have to give 70/30. You can give 50/50, however you want.”

A Marbitz Torah

They asked Rav Chaim an interesting shaylah:Does supporting a talmid chacham who is marbitz Torah lerabim take precedence over supporting a talmid chacham who is not a marbitz Torah? Rav Chaim replied that it doesn’t say anywhere that he takes precedence. They asked him a kasha from what the Chafetz Chaim writes in his sefer Ahavas Chessed (פרק ו ס”ק ב ד”ה ולענין), that when a person gives tzedakah, all the good that results from the donor’s tzedakah is added to his cheshbon of zechuyos. So, seemingly, the marbitz Torah lerabim should take precedence. On that, R’ Chaim answered, “The Chafetz Chaim just says he will have more zechuyos,but that doesn’t necessarily mean giving that person takes precedence.”

Le’iluy Nishmas or Dental Care?

There was a man who had 40,000 shekel to donate. He had three ideas. One was to donate a Sefer Torah le’iluy nishmas, the second possibility was giving tzedakah for gemilus chassadim, and third was halvaos, giving loans. He wanted to know what the best investment was. Now, at the same time there was a family where a young lady died and left over a bunch of yesomim.They set up a keren to help marry off the yesomim but the keren wasn’t going to cover all the costs.  One of the children in the family also had a problem with their teeth, which required a costly procedure. The question was what should he give the money to? Should he put it for a sefer Torah for the nifteres? Or should he perhaps put in the fund for the kids? So Rav Chaim said,  חסד עם החיים takes precedence. “Invest it in the teeth. Give it to that child who has the tooth problem. And regarding the keren, you can tell him about it, but if he asks which is more important – the keren (for the yesomim who were not yet of marriageable age) or dental care for the teeth? Mestama the teeth come first.”

Air Conditioners or Cash to Kollel Yungeleit?

A person wanted to donate a whole air conditioning system for a kollel. The cost was $20,000. He wanted to know, should he give them air conditioners, or should he give cash to support the kollel? Rav Chaim said, “Once upon a time, I would have told you support for the yungeleit because air conditioning was just a luxury. You didn’t need it. But now we live in a world of spoiled children. They can’t learn Torah without air conditioning. Since it disturbs the learning, it’s better to give air conditioners. It’s going to have a much longer toeles.

A Beis Medrash And Children Learning Torah

Here is a talmid chacham who’s going to America to help somebody from Eretz Yisrael who purchased a building for a yeshivah and became a big ba’al chov. He needs assistance. This talmid chacham came to Rav Chaim and asked him: “What should I tell the people in America?” “Tell them that in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah,(סימן רמט סעיף טז) it says, יש מי שאומר that mitzvas beis hakenesses is bigger than mitzvas tzedakah. וכל שכן בית המדרש is greater than the beis hakenesses. That’s what you should tell them. And tell them the mitzvah of tzedakah for children to learn Torah is greater than a beis hakenesses.”So here you have two things. You have a beis hamedrash and you have children learning Torah. That takes precedence over other tzedakos.

Torah and Chessed Together

Here is a very interesting shaylah. There’s a gvir who came to Rav Chaim with the following question: “In Mir they have two thousand yungeleit and a lot of them have shaylos and they have to go ask shaylos to people and it takes them time, buses back and forth. It wastes a lot of time. So one of the talmidei chachamim there arranged for a certain major posek to come to the Mir Yeshivah for one hour a day to be available for everybody to ask shaylos,to avoid the bitul Torah and the agmas nefesh.”So this gvir wanted to know whether paying for the talmid chacham‘s taxi rides to and from the Mir is considered hachzakas haTorah or is that just chessed. Rav Chaim said, “Of course. It’s both. It’s Torah and chessed together.”

Just as an aside, somebody came to Rav Chaim saying that he wants to give $50,000 to a kollel that they should name it after his father. He wants to know if that’s the right cheshbon or he should find a place where it’s more needed and give it there. Rav Chaim said these words: “To name something al shem your father, zeh shtuyot.”He explained, “In relation to the mitzvah of tzedakah, the main thing is how much the money helps others. If you want to give to needy people tzedakah for the zechus of your father, that’s going to do a lot more than calling something after his name.”

Real Estate and Shares or…Real Tzedakah and an Equal Share

Rabosai, you have to plan your own investment portfolio. If you’ve ever had a few pennies in your pocket, I’m sure you went to speak to a financial advisor to advise you on the portfolio that you have to set up. People think that tzedakah is a joke. They don’t chap the chashivus of it, how to be matzil yourself from maves (death). I tell people, you know what צדקה תציל ממות is? (Mishley 10:2). It doesn’t mean if you give tzedakah and help the cat foundation. It doesn’t say if you knock in nails on a shul wall for people to hang up their hats. Tzedakah means emese tzedakah and eino domeh zechus zeh lezechus zeh.

A person has to realize, you want to invest your money to have a share in the Torah, to have an equal share in the Torah. And if you do that, you’ll be matzliach throughout your life. You’ll come to the next world and you’ll discover that you don’t have some penny stocks. You’ll have some bitcoin and you’ll see the bitcoin that went up huge amounts. Everybody is crying now that they didn’t invest in bitcoin when it was $6. A number of people called me back in the day when it was $40. I said, “You want to join bitcoin, cryptocurrency?” I said, “You have $40, $80, $160 to spare? Buy yourself three bitcoins and go to sleep.” It went up one day to $45,000 each. That’s nice money. But a lot of people put money in and lost their hoisen. A lot of people are thinking now to put their money in. Now is not a good time. If it goes down to $10 or $50 buy a few shares.

But you want to know what’s going to really work? Invest your money into tzedakah. Look at your portfolio. Do you have a piece of the biggest mosdos haTorah in the world? You should. In every big mosad haTorah you want to have a chelek. You want to have a chelek in quality zechus haTorah. That’s what’s going to assist you.

The Bottom Line

Chazal tell us that the עצי שטים in the Aron HaKodesh represent supporters of Torah, the machzikei haTorah, and just as Hashem will apportion a special place for those who learn Torah, so, too, will the supporters of Torah be given a special tzel, a special place in the next world as well. The purpose of a person’s wealth is to be machzik the Torah and those who learn it. Rav Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l, said that the source of life and the hatzlacha of balabatim in the U.S., stems from their unwavering support of the needy Yidden who come to them from all corners of the world and whom they warmly receive in their homes, while juggling their busy family and learning schedules. What’s more is that Rav Chaim said that the discovery of America by Columbus – a momentous historical event, and seemingly unrelated to the financial backing of Torah learning – was, in fact, directly related to supporting Torah study. This coming week, I will, bli neder, review the various insights and anecdotes from Rav Chaim, and especially the hierarchy of priorities of who to give tzedakah to as outlined by Rav Chaim, to reassess my own Torah investment portfolio, and make sure that I have allocated a meaningful share for local yeshivos, kollelim and other Torah mosdos.  

[i] ועשית בדי עצי שטים. אלו המסייעין את עוסקי התורה .וצפית אותם זהב. שבמקום שעתיד הקב״ה לעשות צל לעוסקי התורה עתיד לעשות למחזיקיה, שנאמר כי בצל החכמה בצל הכסף (קהלת ז יב), ואומר עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה (משלי ג יח).

[ii] גבאי צדקה שיש בידם מעות צדקה ישיאו בהם בתולות עניות שאין צדקה גדולה מזו

[iii] הנותן לבניו ובנותיו הגדולים שאינו חייב במזונותיהם כדי ללמד את הבנים תורה ולהנהיג הבנות בדרך ישרה וכן הנותן מתנות לאביו והם צריכים להם הרי זה בכלל צדקה ולא עוד אלא שצריך להקדימו לאחרים ואפילו אינו בנו ולא אביו אלא קרובו צריך להקדימו לכל אדם ואחיו מאביו קודם לאחיו מאמו ועניי ביתו קודמין לעניי עירו ועניי עירו קודמין לעניי עיר אחרת [באר היטב ד”ה “אחרת”: משמע אפילו עיר אחרת של ארץ ישראל. ש”ך וכ”כ הב”ח] (כ”מ בסמ”ג וסמ”ק וטור) : הגה והקבועים בעיר קרויים עניי העיר והם קודמין לעניים אחרים הבאים לשם ממקומות אחרים (טור דלא כר”י בר ברוך) ויושבי ארץ ישראל קודמין ליושבי חוצה לארץ: הגה פרנסת עצמו קודמת לכל אדם ואינו חייב לתת צדקה עד שיהיה לו פרנסתו ואח”כ יקדים פרנסת אביו ואמו אם הם עניים והם קודמים לפרנסת בניו ואח”כ בניו והם קודמים לאחיו והם קודמין לשאר קרובים והקרובים קודמים לשכיניו ושכיניו לאנשי עירו ואנשי עירו לעיר אחרת והוא הדין אם היו שבוים וצריך לפדותן (הכל בטור):

[iv] אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב: מַאי דִּכְתִיב ״אַל תִּגְּעוּ בִּמְשִׁיחָי וּבִנְבִיאַי אַל תָּרֵעוּ״, ״אַל תִּגְעוּ בִּמְשִׁיחָי״ – אֵלּוּ תִּינוֹקוֹת שֶׁל בֵּית רַבָּן, ״וּבִנְבִיאַי אַל תָּרֵעוּ״ – אֵלּוּ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים. אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה נְשִׂיאָה: אֵין הָעוֹלָם מִתְקַיֵּים אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל הֶבֶל תִּינוֹקוֹת שֶׁל בֵּית רַבָּן. אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב פָּפָּא לְאַבָּיֵי: דִּידִי וְדִידָךְ מַאי? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה הֶבֶל שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ חֵטְא לְהֶבֶל שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ חֵטְא. וְאָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה נְשִׂיאָה: אֵין מְבַטְּלִין תִּינוֹקוֹת שֶׁל בֵּית רַבָּן אֲפִילּוּ לְבִנְיַן בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ. וְאָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ לְרַבִּי יְהוּדָה נְשִׂיאָה: כָּךְ מְקּוּבְּלַנִי מֵאֲבוֹתַי, וְאָמְרִי לַהּ מֵאֲבוֹתֶיךָ: כׇּל עִיר שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ תִּינוֹקוֹת שֶׁל בֵּית רַבָּן מַחֲרִיבִין אוֹתָהּ, רָבִינָא אָמַר: מַחְרִימִין אוֹתָהּ.

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