Shlach Lecha: Chapter 5

"That which befalls the sons of men befalls the beasts"


The rabbis encounter a traveler who they think knows nothing of the Torah, and yet he invites them to place their difficulty before him, which is the verse from Kohelet, "For that which befalls the sons of men befalls the beasts." The traveler tells the rabbis that Solomon was only repeating what the foolish people of the world say, and Solomon was calling those ignorant people beasts. He explains that the following verse tells that the spirit of man goes upwards to a holy place to be sustained by the supernal light, and the spirit of the beast does not go to the place designated for humans. The fools who believe men and beasts go to the same place will remain in Gehenom. The traveler continues talking about the wicked who lack faith, and who will not dwell with God. After the traveler leaves the rabbis discover that he is Rabbi Chagai who has been sent to find out things from Rabbi Shimon and the friends, and Rabbi Chiya says that through his modesty Rabbi Chagai is a faithful messenger. Rabbi Chiya tells about Eliezer who was a faithful messenger to his master Abraham.