The Talmud (Nedarim 38A) says:

אמר ר' יוחנן אין הקב"ה משרה שכינתו אלא על גבור ועשיר וחכם ועניו וכולן ממשה‏

R' Yochanan said, G-d only rests his presence on one who is strong, rich, wise, and humble. We learn [these traits are a prerequisite] all from Moshe.

The Talmud proves that Moshe was wealthy because G-d told him to keep the leftover sapphire from the second tablets, which he was commanded to carve.

However, G-d had rested his presence on Moshe long before he carved the second tablets, while Moshe was still in Midyan. If so, being wealthy was not a prerequisite for Moshe (The Talmud - Sotah 13A - Tells us that Moshe did not gather wealth when the rest of the Jews did).

If that's the case, how can R' Yochanan learn from Moshe that wealth is a prerequisite?

  • There are many cases where G-d's presence rests on those who are not wealthy - David is a prominent example, but so are Shaul and Shmuel. – Charles Koppelman Jul 16 '12 at 20:15
  • @CharlesKoppelman: I don't disagree. see here for a discussion of this: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/12751/… - I'm asking a question on R' Yochanan. – Menachem Jul 16 '12 at 20:21
  • i understand what you're asking. I'm just shocked that R' Yochanan can learn that from Torah. – Charles Koppelman Jul 16 '12 at 20:44
  • R. Yohanan himself doesn't learn that from the verses; rather that is the Gemara's understanding of his opinion. Rambam understands R. Yohanan's view totally differently (see judaism.stackexchange.com/a/77481/8775), evidently disagreeing with the Gemara in how to understand an earlier view, as he sometimes does. (This wouldnt answer for those who did bring the verses as proof). Alternatively, and this would answer your question as well, Rambam understood the entire passage as being merely an aggadic discussion, from which he extracted what he felt was the intent. – mevaqesh Nov 9 '16 at 1:16

Rabbi Yaakov Emden asks your question as well. He answers that the "wealth" referred to here is wealth of wisdom ("de'ah"), which is the true wealth. Although you need knowledge ("chachmah") even not counting the wealth, the "chachmah" refers to knowledge (I guess he means secular knowledge). [*] And the reason the gemara brings the proof as him having gotten the sapphire, this is because he merited to get the sapphire because of the de'ah that he had.

[*] "De'ah" on the other hand, refers to satisfaction. He feels as if he has all the money in the world, and doesn't desire any more. This is true wealth, and one who has this satisfaction will merit to be truly wealthy, even monetarily.

  • +1 for the source, though I still hear the kashya better than the terutz... – Dov F Aug 24 '12 at 23:32
  • @DovF I myself am not sure why he chose to say that de'ah is the wealth instead of being happy with what you have, since we have an explicit mishnah (Avos 4:1) to support that – b a Aug 24 '12 at 23:40
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    I started to think along those lines but stopped when I realized that if that were the correct pshat then one would לכאורה have to logically conclude that the mighty person is also, as the mishna says, not physically mighty, and that would make things really complicated in the Gemara. – Dov F Aug 26 '12 at 0:13
  • "contentment" might be a better translation than "satisfaction" – Menachem Aug 31 '12 at 8:13
  • Im going to say Ashir means also B'Gashmiyus, poshut Peshat from the saphires. As indeed Chazal teach us to respect one with money as it is a sign that Hashem has blessed him in particulal with this extreme wealth, showing on a very deep speciality in G-d' eyes. Not saying that we are to lust wealth, but rather that one who has it is blessed and the wealth is the proof - as all utlimately comes from G-d - hences the reasonw hy we are obligated to srespect and Ashir... – user2481 Mar 7 '13 at 20:08

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