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Kidushin, 39

KIDUSHIN 36-40 - sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


QUESTIONS: Rebbi Yakov maintains that a person is not rewarded for Mitzvos in this world. According to Rebbi Yakov, the life-circumstances that a person experiences would seem to be guided entirely by a person's Mazal, which was determined at the time he was born, rather than by his merits and sins.

The Gemara in Shabbos (156a) cites a Machlokes Amora'im regarding whether "Yesh Mazal l'Yisrael" (does Yisrael have Mazal) or not. Rebbi Yochanan says "Ein Mazal l'Yisrael," because Hashem took Avraham Avinu above the Mazalos. RASHI there explains that even according to this opinion, a Jew can alter his Mazal through Tefilah and through personal merit.

(a) Does Rebbi Yakov argue and maintain that "Yesh Mazal l'Yisrael," and no amount of merit can change a person's Mazal?

(b) How can Rebbi Yakov argue with the verses in the beginning of Parshas Bechukosai and Parshas Ki Savo that describe the blessings that Hashem will send to His people as reward for following His will (such as sending rain in its proper time)? All of these blessings are rewards that are given in this world.

(a) Rebbi Yakov might not mean that it is impossible for a person to receive reward in this world, as is clear from TOSFOS (DH Masnisin) who explains that Rebbi Yakov agrees that a Rasha is given reward in this world so that he will not receive reward in Olam ha'Ba, the World to Come. Rebbi Yakov means, rather, simply that the reward in the World to Come is much more valuable than its manifestation in this world, if it would be given in this world. Therefore, it is not beneficial for Hashem to give the Tzadik reward in this world, and in order to give the Tzadik the best form of reward, Hashem saves it for the World to Come.

The Rabanan, who argue, maintain that it can indeed be more beneficial for a Tzadik to receive reward in this world, because when he has tranquility and comfort he has the ability to perform more Mitzvos and thereby acquire more reward in the World to Come, which he would not have been able to do had he been suffering from Yisurin in this world.

It is possible, then, that Rebbi Yakov and the Rabanan are both correct. Certain Tzadikim can only serve Hashem with all of their potential if they have tranquility and comfort, and for such Tzadikim it is better to receive reward in this world. Other Tzadikim are able to serve Hashem even through suffering and material limitations, and for these Tzadikim it is better to leave the reward for the World to Come. With regard to the first type of Tzadik, all agree that "Ein Mazal l'Yisrael," and that it is possible for them to receive benefits in this world due to their merits.

In addition, it is possible that Rebbi Yakov agrees that if a Tzadik beseeches Hashem through *Tefilah* to receive a certain benefit (because he thinks that it is necessary for his Avodas Hashem), then Hashem will answer his Tefilah and give him what he requests because of his merits. He does not argue with the Beraisa that we recite every morning after Birkos ha'Torah that says that "Iyun Tefilah" and "Hashkamas Beis ha'Midrash" bear rewards in this world.

RASHI (DH Masnisin) seems to disagree with Tosfos and learns that even according to the Rabanan, a Tzadik may suffer in this world in order not to receive punishment in the World to Come, and any reward that a person receives in this world diminishes his reward in the World to Come. (See Tosfos DH Masnisin.) In what way, then, do the Rabanan say that a person *does* receive reward in this world without diminishing his reward in the World to Come?

Perhaps Rashi maintains that Rebbi Yakov and the Rabanan argue only with regard to Mitzvos whose reward is written explicitly in the Torah, like Kibud Av v'Em and Shilu'ach ha'Ken. The Rabanan hold that the reward written in the Torah is in addition to the reward that is reserved for the World to Come, and it in no way affects his future reward, while Rebbi Yakov argues and says that the reward of these Mitzvos, too, is only given in the World to Come.

(b) RAV ELCHANAN WASSERMAN in KOVETZ HE'OROS (Bi'ur Agados Al Derech ha'Peshat 2:4-5) cites the TESHUVAS HA'RASHBA who explains that the blessings in the Torah apply to the nation as a whole, and not to each individual Jew. Rav Elchanan explains that even if there is no reward for Mitzvos in this world, Hashem certainly rewards the people when the nation as a whole observes His Mitzvos, without that reward detracting from their reward in the World to Come, since the community as a whole is not judged in the World to Come. (See also MAHARSHA.) (Concerning the question of "Yesh Mazal l'Yisrael," see Insights to Moed Katan 28:3.)

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