כִּֽי־תֵצֵ֨א אֵ֜שׁ וּמָצְאָ֤ה קֹצִים֙ וְנֶאֱכַ֣ל גָּדִ֔ישׁ א֥וֹ הַקָּמָ֖ה א֣וֹ הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה שַׁלֵּ֣ם יְשַׁלֵּ֔ם הַמַּבְעִ֖ר אֶת־הַבְּעֵרָֽה – שמות כב/ה
Rav Ami and Rav Asi sat before R‘ Yitzchak Naffcha. One of them said to him (to R‘ Yitzchak Naffcha): Let the Master say (words of) halacha. The other one said to him (to R‘ UYizchak Naffcha): Let the Master say (words of) agadda. (R‘ Yitzchak Naffcha) began to say (words of) agadda but one of them stopped him. He began to say words of halacha (the other) one stopped him ... (R‘ Yitzchak Naffcha) said to them, “If so, I will say to you (plural) a “vort” (dvar Torah) that is appropriate to both of you.“
It is written in the Torah (Shemos 22/5), “If a fire breaks out and catches thorns, the one who kindled the fire shall pay compensation”. “IF A FIRE BREAKS OUT” (indicates) by itself (meaning the one that kindled that fire had no intent for it to spread). THE ONE WHO KINDLED THE FIRE WILL PAY COMPENSATION HaKodesh Baruch Hue said, “I will pay for the fire that I kindled. (Meaning,) I, (Hashem) kindled a fire in Tzion as it is written, “and He (Hashem) had kindled a fire in Tzion which has devoured its foundations(Aicha 4/11). And I will build it in the future as it is written, “For I, will be for her a wall of fire round about, and I’ll be the glory in her midst“ (Zechariah 2/9). (In other words Hashem consoled Clal Yisroel that even though tht He burned down and destroyed the Bais HaMikdash, He will also rebuild it.)
(This was a “vort” in agadda)
A (“vort“ in) Halacha.
The possuk begins with damage caused by one’s belongs (if a fire breaks out) and concludes with damage caused by one’s body (“The one who kindled the fire will pay compensation“). This comes to teach us that the liability for a fire that breaks out is as if he shot an arrow (aisho meshoom chitzav) (Babba Kama 60b)
Zera Shimshon asks that R‘ Yitzchak Naffcha’s statement that he will say a “vort“ that is appropriate to both of you” seems to indicate that he will say one statement that contains both halacha and agadda. However, in actuality he didn’t do that. Rather it seems that he said two different things, an agaddaic explanation -that the possuk teaches us that Hashem will rebuild Yerushaliyam as if He burnt it, and a “vort” in halacha –that the liability for the damage done by a fire is as if he shot an arrow!
Zera Shimshon answers that in truth his agaddaic explanation also contains a halacha. And his halachic explanation also contains an agaddaic insight.
How is this?
First another question. Why should Hashem compensate for the fire? It was our sins that caused the Bais HaMikdash to be burnt and destroyed so why should Hashem pay as if He is the one responsible?
The answer to this question is found in the Mishna in Babba Kamma (59b) that teaches that if one person brings wood and another person comes along and sets it afire, then the second person is responsible and not the first person who only brought the wood.
This is exactly what happened at the time of the destruction of the Holy Temple. Our sins were like wood and Hashem brought fire and kindled that wood. He (Hashem) is therefore responsible to compensate for the damage done!
According to this we can see how the first “vort” that he said didn’t only contain agadda but it taught also a halacha.
How though does the halachic “vort“ also contain an insight in agadda?
Zera Shimshon explains that Hashem’s consolation that He will rebuild the Bais HaMikdash wasn’t really complete. Even though that Hashem promised to rebuilt the Holy Temple with fire, still why did He have to burn it in the first place? We can not learn from the halacha that the one who brings the fire is responsible, that he has permission to bring the fire. The halacha is only that if he does bring the fire then he is responsible to pay.
The answer to this question lies in the halacha that “the liability for a fire that breaks out is as if he shot an arrow.” Our sins were not like wood but they are like kindling a fire and fire is like a shot arrow that has in it the power to burn the Bais HaMikdash. The only reason that it didn’t was because the holiness of its walls prevented the fire from entering. However, this was the situation only until the time of the destruction. However, at that time, since we didn’t do teshuva for our sins, our sins caused that the kedusha left the Bais HaMikdash and the fire of our sins entered and destroyed the Bais HaMikdash.
We therefore we can have no complaints why Hashem destroyed the Bais HaMikdash because we were the ones that caused it.
(The reason why Hashem still compensated for the destruction as if He made the fire is because even though aisho meshoom chitzav the fire that burnt the Bais HaMikdash was Hashem’s like it is written in Yechezkil 10/2 “and fill your hands with glowing coals from among the charuvim, and scatter them over the city.” and in such a case it is also as if His possession damaged (aisho meshoom memono)
We can now understand how the halachic “vort“ also gave us a new way to understand an agaddaic “vort“
HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.
The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about “ practical kabbolo“ but asked that all of his sefarim be buried after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.
He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name “Zera Shimshon“) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies “... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things... and wealth and honor......”
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