Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
A Closer Look at Torah vs. Mivater - Leveling The Playing Field
One of the hardest things in the life, and something we don't achieve often enough, is to be Mivater, to give in when we know we are right and the other party is wrong. The completion of this great act is holding our tongue, and keeping our righteousness to ourselves. We may do it often for small things, but how many times in our lives can we say that when push comes to shove we act with true nobility, crushing our overwhelming emotions, and letting the other side win?

This is one of the great acts that a person can do in this world. In fact Chazal say that the world hangs on such moments. Toleh Eretz Al Blima, which Chazal interpret to mean the world hangs on the merit of the person who puts the brakes on his mouth during an argument.

Yet at the same time Chazal tell us that Talmud Torah Kneged Kulan, Torah is the greatest mitzva of them all. This means each and every word of Torah.  So how is it that a person can learn for many hours each day as part of his daily routine and each word he learns is greater than this rare event that requires such a tremendous amount of courage?

Maybe the question is based on faulty assumptions but let's try to answer it on its face. Where does the courage to stifle oneself come from? It comes from a belief that there is more to this world than meets the eye, for if one didn't believe that they would never give in. We would need to win every point in life since nothing is to be gained from losing. This all comes from true belief in Hashem which comes from learning Torah. So in essence, being mivater is the fruit of Torah learning. For if one were to learn Torah and never be mivater it would show that the Torah is merely an intellectual exercise and not what Hashem had in mind. Being Mivater a single time is the product of hundreds or thousands of hours of Torah study. It is what gives each word that we learned its life.  Being Mivater is an act that validates our Torah and is not separate from it.  Only now does our Torah outweigh everything else.

Another possible approach is that while each mitzva carries its own weight, not every time we do the mitzva is it the same. There are many factors that go into the type of mitzva that comes out, mainly how much effort was put in. So you can have words of Torah that are worth more than others. The same applies to all mitzvos. In order to make a fair comparison between two mitzvos one would have to make sure all other variables remain the same. In our case by definition being mivater is done with incredible Mesiras Nefesh. One is nullifying himself completely at the moment of Vitur, which take remarkable character. Surely every word of Torah learned with the same dedication is worth more, but maybe not so the ones learned casually.