The Jewish Eye

Vilna Gaon on Yonah: Part 5 - Down, Down, Down, To Tarshish

Home | What's Nu? | Bookstore | Reviews | Resources | About

Vilna Gaon on Yonah: Part 5 - Down, Down, Down, To Tarshish
Provided by Revach L'Neshama (

Revach L'Neshama

Unto Tarshish - The body found physicality like itself, ready for the lusts of this world. And on this King Shlomo composed the song "Aishes Chayil" (a woman of valor) regarding a body prepared for the service of Hashem (i.e. a body with a physical makeup which tends towards good traits, such as slow to anger, humility, etc.), saying "one who found a woman has found good". And likewise he disdains an "evil woman" which refers to a body which is physicality prepared in its nature for evil (i.e. tends towards bad traits).

So he paid the fare - He channeled his intellect with his powers and disdainful lusts towards developing the body (while neglecting his neshama). These are the "wages" of the body for doing sins, because it derives pleasure from it, and on this Chazal have said "consider the Schar (wages) of a sin compared to its loss." (Pirkei Avos). And this is what our sages referred to when saying that Yonah gave the wage of the entire boat (midrash), because all the organs of the body derive pleasure from the sin. Therefore Shlomo HaMelech wrote (Koheles 9:16) "a poor man's wisdom is despised and his words go unheeded", which means the body's organs do not listen to the yetzer tov, because the yetzer hara says to him "Rejoice young man in your childhood" (Koheles 11:9), which means "right now". The yetzer tov answers (end of same verse) "but be aware that for all these things Hashem will call you to account"...

And descended into it - He descended to the body. This is a great descent, "from the greatest heights until the lowest depths"(i.e. for the lofty neshama to be dragged by the body's lusts).

To go with them unto Tarshish - The body which is the "small city" has few men, which are the powers of the body such as growth, desire, awareness, and the other powers of the body and all the organs in it, all of them went to Tarshish (after physical desires) as above.

From the presence of Hashem - All of the organs fled and don't want to stand before Him.

Revach L'Neshama
A Different Kind of News
Back to top

Questions or Comments? Send an email to:

Copyright The Jewish Eye 2008 All Rights Reserved