This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi (Hareini Kaparas Mishkavah), my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and other tragedies.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Anything inaccurate that is added, omitted, or lost in translation should be attributed to me alone.)
Regarding Machlokes SheLo L’Sheim Shamayim
[Yimei Temimim, Pirkei Avos 5, pg. 129]
“V’SheEino L’Sheim Shamayim, Ein Sofo L’Hiskayeim”
(“…and that which is not for the sake of Heaven is not destined to endure”)
In Pirkei Avos (5:20), the Mishnah differentiates between a Machlokes (dispute) that is L’Sheim Shamayim (for heaven’s sake), and one that is not, and gives a model for each. Of course, the model of a Machlokes SheLo L’Sheim Shamayim is that of Korach Va’Adaso (Korach and his assembly). Such a Machlokes, says the Mishnah, is not destined to endure; it will not breed a lasting, positive end result.
“Kashah HaMachlokes”-“Harsh is Dispute”
In this vein, the Midrash Tanchuma (cited in Rashi, Bamidbar 16:27) comments on the fact that not only did Dasan and Aviram perish due to their active participation in Korach’s rebellion against Moshe and Aharon, but so did their wives and children perish:
“Come and see how harsh Machlokes is, for the terrestrial court does not penalize anyone who has not yet produced two (adult) hairs, nor does the heavenly court for anyone under the age of twenty years; and yet here, even the nursing babies perished.”
Why exactly is it that even suckling children perish amid Machlokes? What did they do wrong?
R’ Chaim Shmulewitz (Sichos Mussar, Korach 5732) explained based on that which the Gemara states in Sanhedrin (107A) regarding the juxtaposition between the Parshiyos of Ben Soreir U’Moreh and Tefas To’ar, that one who marries a Yefas To’ar is destined to produce a Ben Soreir U’Moreh from that union.
He elaborates based on the comments of the Ramban in Parshas Netzavim on the Pasuk (Devarim 29:17), “.פֶּן יֵשׁ בָּכֶם שֹׁרֶשׁ פֹּרֶה רֹאשׁ וְלַעֲנָה…” (lit., “…perhaps there is among you a root that produces hemlock and wormwood”). What does this mean? That maybe, writes the Ramban, “there is an evil root embedded in the father that will one day blossom and produce evil flowers…, for the father is the root and the son is the product.”
Thus here as well, the father is a root who travels in accordance with the leanings of his heart, and this root is most certainly going to blossom in his child, like Ben Soreir U’Moreh who is destined to deplete all of his father’s assets and will eventually stand on the roadside robbing others. Similarly, those who engage in Machlokes will bear children who will themselves become Ba’alei Machlokes like them. Thus, the children perish as well, for “Mutav Yamusu Zaka’im V’Al Yamusu Chayavim”-“better that they shall die as innocent ones, than to die as condemned ones.”
“Gadol HaShalom”-“Great is Peace”
On the flipside, R’ Chaim continues, citing the Midrash (Yalkut Nasso, Remez 711) in the name of R’ Eliezer B’no Shel R’ Elazar HaKapar:
“Great is peace for even when Yisrael is worshipping Avodah Zarah, and yet there us peace among them, Hashem says, K’Vayachol (as it were), ‘the Satan cannot touch them’ … Thus, great is peace and despised is dispute.”
Machlokes vs. Shalom
And just how toxic is Machlokes? It brings destruction even to Tzaddikim and innocent people; as R’ Chaim references from the Yerushalmi in Peah (1:1), that despite the fact that the generation of Dovid HaMelech was a generation of Tzaddikim, because there were “דילטורים” (informers) among them, they fell in war.
On the other hand, despite the fact that the generation of Achav was filled with Ovdei Avodah Zarah, nonetheless, seeing as there were no “דילטורים” among them, they were victorious in war. (Indeed, no one divulged the fact that Ovadiah was hiding one hundred Nevi’im in a cave to the wicked queen Izevel who sought to annihilate them.)
Where the Satan Resides
R’ Chaim explains this phenomenon as follows: The place of residence of the Satan is amid Machlokes and Pirud (tension). Wherever Shalom reigns supreme, the Satan cannot reside.
In this vein, the Gemara in Gittin (52A) relates that there were two people who, incited by Satan, would argue with each other every Erev Shabbos at Bein HaSh’mashos (twilight). Rebbi Meir intervened on three Friday afternoons at twilight until he finally made peace between them. At that point, he heard Satan say: “Woe, Rebbi Meir has removed that man, Satan, from his house,” a clear indication that the Satan lives among those who have discord.
Why Erev Shabbos at Twilight?
Further evidence to this phenomenon can be found in the timing of the Satan. Why in fact did the Satan incite these individuals on Erev Shabbos at Bein HaSh’mashos? Because that is prime time, the last opportunity for the Satan, as R’ Chaim explains further: Shabbos is (as we refer to it in the Shmoneh Esreih of Shabbos Mincha) a “Yom… Menuchas Shalom”-“Day of… Contentment of Peace.”
Thus, it is cited in Zohar that when the Torah cautions one, “Lo S’va’aru B’Chol Moshvoseichem B’Yom HaShabbos”-“Do not kindle a fire in all of your dwelling places on the Shabbos day” (Shemos 35:3), the deeper intention is a prohibition against kindling the fire of Machlokes. Therefore, the Satan gathers up all of his strength on Erev Shabbos to kindle that very fire of Machlokes.
Big Aveiros vs. Bad Midos
Meshech Chochmah cites several more Ra’ayos (points of evidence) to demonstrate the gravity of the interpersonal sins that underly Pirud and Machlokes.
Consider the worst Aveiros, i.e. Avodah Zarah, Arayos, among other sins which incur Kareis (excision), Misah (death penalty), or Malkos (lashes). They are all active sins, unlike Machlokes or Lashon HaRa / Rechilus, for example, which are not punishable by even lashes because they lack a physical action. Even Gezel (robbery) doesn’t incur lashes as it can be rectified by returning the stolen object. But, that is only for an individual who engages in these sins. However, when a collective commits these societal crimes, or even manifests evil Midos or manners, the group is condemned to destruction, as we cited from the Yerushalmi in Peah, the difference between the generations of Dovid and Achav.
Consider also how, although it was the three cardinal sins that caused the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash, it was Sinas Chinam (gainless hatred) alone that destroyed the second one.
Continues Meshech Chochmah, this element of infighting was what brought destruction to the Dor HaMabul. Moreover, this same element was the difference between the Cheit HaEigel which Hashem pardoned and the Cheit HaMiraglim for which Hashem condemned an entire generation to years of exile and wandering. The former bordered on idolatry (terrible!). And yet, the latter was a display of Lashon HaRa!
Kehunah, Brachah & Shalom
And yet, on the opposite extreme, Rashbatz (Pirkei Avos 1:18) cites several instances where Shalom is situated at the end of sequence, demonstrating not just the ultimate and enduring nature of Shalom.
For example, the first Perek of Pirkei Avos concludes with the topic of Shalom. Birchas Kohanim concludes with Shalom. The summary list of Korbanos in Tzav veers from its original order so that it concludes with the Shelamim (peace offering). The final Mishnah in Shas teaches that the only vessel that could contain our blessings is none other than Shalom.
Indeed, this would also explain why our three-time daily Shmoneh Esreih as well concludes with Sim Shalom. We can derive from Rashbatz that Shalom is the very pipeline that allows the Brachos to take effect on us. And perhaps, it is for this reason that Kohanim aren’t permitted to turn away from the congregation post-Birchas Kohanim until after the Chazan’s recitation of Sim Shalom (Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 128:16). Only with Shalom can their blessings take effect.
So intertwined are Birchas Kohanim and Shalom that Zohar cautions that a Kohein who is lacking even the smallest measure of love and good will for the recipients of his Brachos should in fact not ascend the platform to deliver the blessings (Nasso, 123).
(*Ironically, Korach only proved himself to be wholly unfit for Kehunah when he discarded Shalom and seized upon Machlokes.)
We should be Zocheh to avoid unnecessary Machlokes, certainly those that are Lo L’Sheim Shamayim, fully embrace Shalom, and Hashem should bless us with Shalom and the coming of the Geulah, Bimheirah Biyomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!