Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha
"He put the Table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of the Tabernacle...." (40:22)In Tractate Bava Basra 25b, it states the following: " One who desires wealth should face northward (while praying Shemonah Esrei), for the (Shulchan) Table was located in the north. However, one who desires wisdom should face southward, for the Menorah (Candelabra) was located in the south." A question can be asked, its understandable for the Sages to recommend a path towards wisdom, but why are they also recommending a path towards wealth? We all know that wealth can lead a person in the pursuit of luxuries. This has the tendency to dull a person's spiritual sensibilities ! A person with wealth can usually become arrogant, yet a person with wisdom has more of a tendency towards lofty goals and pursuits. I would like to propose, Bezrat Hashem, the following original answer: I would like to perhaps interpret the statement in Bava Basra 25b differently. A person often finds himself or herself confused in not knowing in what the direction they are actually going in. There is a way to determine if the direction is towards wealth, or wisdom. But how? When a person prays (Shemonah Esrei) , alot of personal contemplation occurs. We often pray for what we actually desire.Therefore, prayer becomes our spiritual compass, namely is it pointing towards the north (wealth) or south (wisdom).
Its a strong indication to us the actual direction we are navigating our lives towards. In Bava Basra 25b , the Sages are not giving us advise on how to achieve wealth ,or wisdom. They are actually giving us the means by which we can understand the direction we are heading by realizing what we truly desire can be discovered , namely through prayer. If its wealth and unnecessary luxuries, then changes have to be made. If its wisdom that we are pursuing, then we are going in the right direction. Have a good Shabbos
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