Midot Hayom: Day 46: Netzach in Malchut
When the five disciples left Rabbi Yochanan, Rabbi Elazar ben Arach said, “I will go to Diumsis, a resort with wonderful and healthful water. He assumed his colleagues would follow him, but they said, “We will go to Yavneh where there are a great number of Torah scholars who love the Torah.” Because he went to the luxurious spa of Diumsis, his standard in Torah learning diminished. From being the greatest of the five disciples, he declined, with his name occurring only a few times in the entire Talmud, whereas his colleagues’ names are mentioned on almost every page. Their names are prevalent in the Talmud because they went to Yavneh where there was an abundance of scholars who love the Torah. Avot of Rabbi Nathan 14:6
Rabbi Elazar ben Arach had mastered all of Torah, and, in his established position as the greatest of Rabbi Yochanan’s disciples assumed that his friends would follow him. They chose a community of people who loved Torah, meaning, not resorts. They wanted to be in a community, a world that was focused on the eternal nature of the Torah without the distraction of an environment focused on mundane pleasures.
Have we carefully chosen to be part of a community that is focused on eternal values and accomplishments?