Tuesday, April 30, 2013

48 Ways: #24b - The sincerity of sages


Pirkei Avot 6:5 teaches that Torah is acquired in 48 ways, which it lists for us. The twenty-fourth of the 48 is emunas chachamim; yesterday we translated this one way, but today we offer the sincerity of sages.

This is the approach taken by Rabbeinu Bechayye. In order to succeed in Torah study, one must be the same inside and out, as humble and pious and diligent inside as he appears externally. One must not only look like a scholar, one must be a scholar.

Have a great day,


  1. The same ambiguity, but in a very different context. We say in Modeh Ani, "rabba emunasekha". Is that a praise of how much we could count on G-d, or a statement of how much His is willing to trust us (giving us another day despite not having used yesterday as we could have)?

    Commentaries on Eikhah 3:23, the source of the idiom, offer both.

  2. I don't recognize ambiguity here, but rather complementary (not "complimentary") definitions. Yesterday's definition exhorts us to have emunah in our sages. Today's (i.e. Rabbeinu Bechayye's) definition exhorts the sages to not just talk-the-talk, but walk-the-walk, and thus facilitate the student's trust. That "Modeh Ani" contains a reference to HaShem's emunah is interesting, but I don't recognize the connection.

  3. It's the same grammatical ambiguity: does "your emunah" mean the trust you have, or the trustworthiness -- and thus the trust we have in you?

    As I said, very different context. But there too there are multiple meanings because the word can be taken either way.

  4. R' Micha, Anonymous-
    I hear, thanks. And I don't see a machlokes here; it is an ambiguity, indeed, which supports complementary meanings.