Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Din V'Cheshbon

Din vecheshbon (Avos third perek.): how is din different from cheshbon? Cheshbon is the accounting, the audit, of the person’s life. Why is ‘din’ mentioned separately?

A. Gaon— What you failed to accomplish. Din is the judgment for the mitzvos and aveiros. Cheshbon is the accounting of what good the person could have been doing if he hadn’t wasted the time doing the aveiros. This is based on the Gaon that says that a person who does any aveiro is judged not only on the aveiro but also on the time he was doing the aveiro for bitul torah. The Gaon is brought down in Reb Meir Simcha in Devorim 32:51 on "al asher me’altem bi/al asher lo kidashtem." He brings this ‘dual sin’ idea from Rashi in Bamidbar 20:12, but I don’t see it any more than from this passuk. And RMS also discusses this at greater length, and with attribution to the Gaon, in Breishis 18:28.

B. Evidence from your behavior that you had the ability to do better. At Chaim Twerski of Chicago's son’s bar mitzvah in Ellul ‘63/Sept ‘03, R’ Dovid Zucker of the Lakewood Kollel said that someone asked R’ Shach, what does Cheshbon mean? Not learning has nothing to do with the aveira, it’s a general aveirah, and it should say "din vodin?" He answered that if a person does nothing and doesn’t learn, he could claim that he had no koach. But if he spent the time doing an aveirah, Hashem proves that he had koach from his own behavior, and that is called cheshbon. It’s like the word "tocho’cho used regarding Yoseph’s rebuke to his brothers when they said they were worried about Yaakov’s health.

Or: Evidence from your behavior that you knew that what you were doing was wrong. Mordechai Eisenberg of Marlboro, NJ, says that he thinks that Reb Dovid Soloveichik may have shtelled tzu the Beis Halevi’s vort on "oy lonu miyom hatochocho" by "ha’od ovi chai", that the "tochocho" is the cheshbon.

C. Rav Rudderman— the effect on other people. Din is his personal aveiros. Cheshbon is the effect his behavior had on other people, and if it had influence on them, that influence ripples throughout history, because if a person who is respected does a bad thing, and an observer says that he, too, can do such things, or he loses his respect for Torah, then when he raises his own children he will not instill in them a love for Torah and Mitzvos, and the children will be less then they could have been. All this is on the head of the person who did the aveiro. (Remember, though, that the proper reaction when you see a chushuveh person doing an aveirah is not "if he can do it, the whole thing is a fake," but rather "even great people are not perfect, all humans are frail."

(Rabbi Binyomin Neuman of Telz Yeshiva Chicago said a Tanchuma on Rosh Hashanna 63 (Sept 02) in Parshas Ha’azinu toward end of Ohs Aleph, that says that "kapeir le’amcho Yisroel" is for the living, and "asher podiso" is the meisim, and the Tanchuma brings this idea that meisim need a kaporo, and can be niskaper by the maisei tzedoko of the living, from a Toras Kohanim. The Gemora in Horyos 6a indicates that if some of the tzibbur are alive and getting a kapporo, then the meisim also get a kapporo, and it’s not called a chattos for a meis, but this is only in the context of a korbon chattos.)

D. (Don’t remember)— Judgment according to what you specifically knew. People are judged according to what they know in Torah. Knows more— judged more strictly. This is a pshat in "techilas dino shel odom al haTorah," (although the Gemora that says this in Sanhedrin 7a means for not bothering to learn Torah.) So first there is a cheshbon of what the person knows. Then he is judged in accordance with that level. Not explained— why is din first. (Rav Rudderman says this as pshat in "Atta yodei’a es kol hamif’ol, vegam kol yetzur lo nikchad mimeko, that this is what gam kol yetzur means.)

This, by the way, is also the pshat in the tefilla "Ma’asei ish ufekudoso." Pekudoso refers to his purpose in this world, and the talents he was given to accomplish some specific work in life. Each person is judged by a general standard, and also by the standard of what he would have and should have accomplished if he had used his abilities as Hashem intended them to be used. In a similar vein, Pekudoso can also refer to the pikodon he was given, the wealth that Hashem gave him— it is given to be used for avodas Hashem in this world.

E. R Meir Simcha in Nitzovim– failure to do teshuvoh when you realized you had sinned. Sort of like the Gaon, that cheshbon is for the failure to do tshuvoh, which can be worse than the underlying aveiroh.

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