Wealth 4 Knowing the Physical World
The Four Wealths are Torah, Money, Social Skills and Knowing the Physical World. Why is Knowing the Physical World an important Wealth?
The Chofetz Chaim’s major disciple, Reb Elchonon Wasserman, began his daily learning in Telzeh Yeshiva by spreading out a Russian newspaper and reading it. The Mashgiach was horrified but the Rosh Yeshiva permitted it. Reb Elchonon maintained that HaShem speaks to the Jewish people through the newspapers. The success of evil is because of Jewish sin. Therefore, when we know what evil there is in the world, HaShem is speaking to us. He tells us the forces of evil arranged against Jews and he indicates to the Jews what sins they did to deserve this.
Of course, not everyone could be like Reb Elchonon, and it was indeed rare for anyone to begin his learning in Yeshiva with a Russian newspaper! A prominent Dayan told me that his father imitated Reb Elchonon in Reb Elchonon’s Yeshiva. I told him I don’t know if today such a thing would be tolerated.
When some students wanted to study German, Reb Elchonon joined their group. But he let everyone know what he was doing, and this was not what they wanted. Reb Elchonon said that we must learn certain things, but we must be open about it, not keep it secret. There were those who felt obligated to read certain things and I strongly doubt that they wanted to advertise it. But Reb Elchonon felt it important to do certain things even things that nobody else did. But he didn’t want it to be a hidden venture. He let people know what he was doing.
The gemora says that Greater is he who works with the toil of his hands than the G-d fearing. Why is this? Isn’t one who fears HaShem greater than one who works with the toil of his hands? But we see from this that one who toils with his hands to earn a living, and participates with the world at its base level, has achieved a spiritual level. Working with one’s hands and working with the physical world is part of HaShem’s plan for Creation. The Creation was made for people to grow crops, raise cattle and sheep, make wine and oil, etc. All of these things connect the Created person to the Creator.
A person who understands basics in carpentry, electrical work, etc., can more readily participate in the world, the Creation and unite with the Creator.Wealth 4 - Wealth of Knowing This Physical World
The gemora in Berochose discusses how much somebody must work and how much somebody should learn Torah. There is a discussion between Rabbi Shimon bar Yochoi and Rabbi Yishmael. It seems that the ruling in the gemora is that people should work. But how much to work and how much to learn is a separate topic. We turn in our next post to that question. How much do we learn and how much to we earn?