The Jewish Eye
Vilna Gaon on Yonah: Part 10 - The Men Deal With Yonah
1:10 Then the men became exceedingly afraid, and they said to him: 'What is this that you have done to us?' For the men knew that he fled from the presence of Hashem, because he had told them.
What is this that you have done to us? Why did you do things like this until now if you were created for these thing and your level is so exalted (to waste your life chasing after vanities of this world).
For the men knew that he fled from the presence of Hashem, because he had told them. He fled all his days (i.e. fled from awareness of Him in order to justify chasing after pleasures of the world), therefore they feared so much and asked him why he did this. And how did they know that he fled? Because he told them. (he fled) all his days, that all his mind and desire was to this always. (i.e. totally pre-occupied with the vanities of this world, such as money and honor).
1:11 Then said they to him: 'What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm unto us?' for the sea grew more and more tempestuous.
What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm unto us - and what can we find a rectification for you so that we could heal and to quiet the heavenly decree.
for the sea grew more and more tempestuous- Because the sickness is constantly getting worse.
1:12 And he said to them: 'lift me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you; for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.'
lift me up, and cast me forth into the sea As in the verse (Bereishis 40:13) "Paraoh will lift your head from you", because (before death) the neshama is in the feet, and it needs to rise to the throat. And they should cast him from the boat which refers to the body, to the sea which refers to this world, and the body will remain without him.
so shall the sea be calm upon you Then you will no longer bear any suffering of this world.
for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you - Because all prosecution of the trait of justice is only during the lifetime of a man, as written in the Zohar...
1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not; for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them.
the men rowed - They are all the powers mentioned above.
to bring it to the land They wanted to go in the good way, the way of the tree of life (i.e. the afterlife, the way of torah).
but they could not; for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them Now repentance does not help since the decree has already been made, as written (Shmuel I 2:25) "because Hashem wanted to kill them", this is after the end of the judgment.
1:14 And they cried unto Hashem, and said: 'Please Hashem, let us not perish on account of this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; because You are Hashem, as You have wished, You have done.'
They screamed to Hashem not to perish with the neshama.
and lay not upon us innocent blood - As is written that he is destined to give an accounting on causing him to shorten his life. (i.e. for accelerating death)
because You are Hashem, as You have wished, You have done. - It's understandable that the neshama which is rooted in a holy place, from above (should receive punishment) but the physical (i.e. us, the body) tends to evil. What are we guilty of? You made the physical as you wished, from a foul place. And here is also hinted the blessing women make "that He made me as His wish" which refers to the physical as above. And likewise they expounded in the Midrash Tanchuma (which likens the body and the neshama to a blind watchman and a lame one who join forces to steal some figs, the lame man riding on the blind man's shoulders and guiding him. When the owner catches them, the blind man claims that he could not have stolen the figs, because he can't see; the lame man claims he is obviously innocent because he could not climb to pick them. The wise owner puts the lame man back on his friend's shoulders and judges them together.)
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