Attain Spiritual Clarity (Shemini – Parsha Insights, Mussar)

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The Torah states (Vayikra 10:9-11): “Do not drink intoxicating wine, when you come to the Tent of Meeting.” Included in this injunction is the law of not issuing a Torah ruling, after drinking a cup of wine (Eruvin 64a).

However, it would seem that a cup of wine does not significantly alter our ability to render a judgment. If so, why does a cup of wine disqualify a judge from issuing a Torah decision?

If someone finds a few grams missing from a loaf of bread, he will not be too upset with the baker. Whereas if he finds a few grams missing from an amount of gold that he purchased, he will very distressed. How much more so will he be aggrieved if he finds a tiny amount missing from a diamond that he purchased.

Similarly, if we observe a person of excellent character take exception over a small miscalculation, we understand that, notwithstanding, he must have suffered a great loss.

Likewise, if the Torah forbids a person to render a ruling after having consumed a mere cup of wine, it must be that that measure of wine does confuse his judgement. Just as the deviation of a hairbreadth can cause a train to derail, so too, a small deviation in the intellect will cause a person to sway from the path of truth.

The Torah, in its Divine Wisdom, reveals to us that a cup of wine causes the mind to stray from the lines of truth.

May we preserve and maintain the purity and integrity of intellect, so that we make our decisions according the highest standards of truth and goodness (based on Ohr RaShaz, Parshas Shemini)

Today: Keep your mind fresh and clear so that you can make qualitative decisions.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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