Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Gemara describes an Esrog as 'darko legadel al kol mayim' it grows from all water. There is a well known idea that the four species represent four different types of Jews that we take and bring together. The Esrog has taste and smell, wisdom and good deeds, the Lulav just taste, the Hadasim just smell, and the Aravos neither. Where did the Esrog get to have both taste and smell? The answer is because the Esrog knows what is the proper way to grow, from all water. The Mishna in Avos teaches us "aizehu chacham, halomed mikol adam' Who is a wise man? One who learns from everyone. Water is compared to Torah and the Esrog is willing to grow from all water, wherever the Esrog can find something to grow from he will take it in and use it for personal growth. We too should strive to be like an Esrog and look for possibilities for growth from everyone we encounter.
The Gemara tells us that the word 'derech' way can be both masculine or feminine depending on what it's referring to. Therefore in the Pasuk 'vihodatam lahem es haderech yailchu bah' the use of the word derech is feminine since it refers to the Torah which is feminine as we see in the verse 'Toras Hashem temimah mishivas nafesh'. The question is why is the Torah a feminine word and not a masculine word. Perhaps the answer is that the Torah requires our effort to attain it. Just like a man has the role to seek out a woman, so too, a man has to seek out the Torah. People expect to wake up one day knowing all there is to know. The Torah needs to be acquired as delineated by Rabbi Meir in Pirkei Avos. There are forty eight ways one must utilize in acquiring Torah it doesn't happen by itself!