“Indeed, this is no empty matter 2 for you” (Dt.32:47)—
you find no shallowness3 in the Torah which,
if you delve deeply into it,
will not yield its rewards in this eon,
while the principal accumulates
for the coming eon.4
You can confirm that this is so!
For, indeed, they taught:
Why is this written in Scripture?
“And the sister of Lothan was Timna” (Gn.36:22),
“And Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz b. Esau” (Gn.36:12).
Because she said:
If I’m unworthy of being his wife,
then I will be his concubine.
Now, what’s this [concern for Timna] all about?
To inform you that Father Abraham
was so beloved that there were those
who rejected 5kingship and lordship,
running instead to cling to him.
Now, isn’t this a matter of logic?
Just as Esau, who had to his credit
but a single commandment
—that he revered his father—
yet, kings and lords would
run to cling to him,
all the more so were they likely
to run to cling to Righteous Jacob,
who had fulfilled the entire Torah!
As it is said:
“For in this matter you will extend your days” (Dt.32:47)—
this is one of those matters of which it is said:
One who performs them enjoys the fruits in this eon,
while length of days awaits him in the coming eon.8
Now, clearly, this refers to Torah-study.
How do I know that it applies
as well to reverence for father and mother?
The Teaching states:
“Revere your father and mother,
so that you may extend your days upon the soil” (Ex.20:12).
Regarding “sending off the nester”
It is written:
“You must definitely send off the dam,
but the offspring you may take for yourself,
so that it may go well with you,
and so that you extend your days” (Dt.22:7).
Regarding the “bringing of peace (shalom)9 [between a person and his companion,]”
it is written:
“And My covenant of peace shall not waver . . .
May all your children be disciples of HASHEM,
and may the wholeness (shalom) of your children be ample (Is.54:10-13).
- H:346; JN2:388-389.
- Heb: davar reiq; i.e., “a vain or meaningless thing, a pursuit yielding no knowledge.”
- Heb: reiqam; as a character trait, “ignorant” (Jastrow, p. 1477).
- Cf. M.Peah1:1; T.Peah1:1-2. See also the version cited at 336.3.
- Heb: lo’ rotzim;literally, “do not want.” In apposition to: ratzim, “run toward.”
- “Perfected” by study of Torah and observance of commandments. Cf. Pisqa’ 312.1
- Literally, “in tents” (‘ohalim). “Shelters” better conveys the common midrashic theme that Jacob’s tent was his place of Torah-study.
- Cf. M. Peah 1:1, T. Peah 1:1, as well as the citation at 336.1.The remaining citations in bold-face in 336.3 are fragments of two lists forming the opening pericope of M. Peah 1:1. In Sifre, they have been woven into a companion to the Mishnah, supplying biblical citations as well as an addition (“sending off the nester”) to the mishnaic list of actions rewarded by long life.
- See Pisqa’ 325.1 for another word-play involving the root, sh-l-m.