103. פָּתַח וְאָמַר, (ישעיה מ) כָּל הַגּוֹיִם כְּאַיִן נֶגְדּוֹ מֵאֶפֶס וָתֹהוּ נֶחְשְׁבוּ לוֹ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמַר כָּל הַגּוֹיִם כְּאַיִן נֶגְדּוֹ, לָמָּה כָּתוּב מֵאֶפֶס וָתֹהוּ נֶחְשְׁבוּ לוֹ? אֶלָּא לָמַדְנוּ, דַּעְתָּם שֶׁל כָּל עַמֵּי הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁאֱמוּנָתָם הִיא כְּאַיִן, שֶׁלֹּא נִדְבְּקוּ עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים [בְּתַחְתּוֹנִים], וְשָׁוִים כְּנֶגְדָּם אֱמוּנָה שֶׁל שְׁטוּת. אֲבָל מֵאֶפֶס וָתֹהוּ נֶחְשְׁבוּ לוֹ, כְּמוֹ הַמּוֹץ שֶׁסּוֹבֵב (שֶׁעָף) בָּרוּחַ וּמִתְגַּלְגֵּל בַּקַּיִץ בְּרֵיקָנוּת, זֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב (דניאל ד) וְכָל דַּיָּרֵי הָאָרֶץ כִּכְלוּם חֲשׁוּבִים.
104. עוֹד פָּתַח וְאָמַר, בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ. אֵת – זֶה יָמִין שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא. וְאֵת – זֶה הַשְּׂמֹאל. לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁנָּטָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יְמִינוֹ וּבָרָא אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְנָטָה שְׂמֹאלוֹ וּבָרָא אֶת הָאָרֶץ. זֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב (ישעיה מח) אַף יָדִי יָסְדָה אֶרֶץ וִימִינִי טִפְּחָה שָׁמָיִם קֹרֵא אֲנִי אֲלֵיהֶם יַעַמְדוּ יַחְדָּו.
Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Yossi were happy to learn that Rabbi Shimon is purifying the markets of Tiberias. They were joyful for that merit to visit him and waited until daybreak. Then they got up and went to see him. When they arrived at his place they saw him with a book in his hands, studying.
“כָּל הַגּוֹיִם כְּאַיִן נֶגְדּוֹ מֵאֶפֶס וָתֹהוּ נֶחְשְׁבוּ לוֹ.”
“All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.”
He asks why after saying ‘All nations before him are as nothing’, it also says ‘they are counted less than nothing’. And he continues to explain that the faith of the other nations is like nothing because they can not reach any spiritual levels above or below. They follow a faith of foolishness that is considered to him as chaffs that roll in the wind during the summer and have no content. This is the meaning of what is written in Daniel 4:32
“וְכָל-דארי (דָּיְרֵי) אַרְעָא, כְּלָה חֲשִׁיבִין”
“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing”
“בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ”
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The ‘the heavens’ is the Right of the Holy One Blessed be He and ‘and the earth’ is his Left.
We learned that The Holy One Blessed Be He stretched his right hand that is Chessed and created the heavens. He stretched his left, that is judgment, and created the earth. This is as written in Isaiah 48:13
“אַף יָדִי יָסְדָה אֶרֶץ וִימִינִי טִפְּחָה שָׁמָיִם קֹרֵא אֲנִי אֲלֵיהֶם יַעַמְדוּ יַחְדָּו.”
“Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, And My right hand has stretched out the heavens; When I call to them, They stand up together.”
The great rabbis were happy to learn that Rabbi Shimon is nearby so they could go and see him. Just being next to a Tzadik elevates the soul of a person.
Rabbi Shimon taught them the verse from Isaiah that compares our faith to the faith of the other nations. The Torah and its deeper studies through the Zohar give us higher spiritual connections. The Zohar is our ‘Tzadik’ that elevates us to spiritual levels that no other faith or spiritual systems can.
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