Rav Avigdor Miller on African Coins and Babylonian Tractates (March 1991)

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Q:
The Rav said during the shiur last week that people should buy a Shas for their homes, even if they won’t use it. Can you explain the reason for that? And does it apply to an unmarried bochur as well? 

A:
A Shas is really an ornament. It’s a most beautiful ornament for the Jewish people. And that’s why it sometimes comes beautifully bound, and it’s printed on nice, strong paper. It’s our pride and joy, the Shas. Especially if you won’t use it, it will remain handsome always. And you should be proud of your Shas. When visitors come in, you show it to them, and they say, “What are these big volumes?” And you can tell them that the Shas is the pride and joy of the Jewish nation.

I was once in a man’s house, and he took me into his room where he had his coin collection. He was so proud! He was showing me his African coins, and his Chinese coins. What is there to be proud of?! I don’t see anything in it. But when a man is proud of something, he shows it off.

The Talmud Bavli, now that’s a collection. It’s the masterpiece of our nation. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s a beautiful ornament to have on your shelf. Even if you don’t read it, it’s a masterpiece, and it’s something to talk about. It’s a showpiece for your visitors. Take out the volumes and show them, “Look at this, and look at this one. Isn’t it beautiful?!” The wise man is proud of the things that are worthy of pride. And the fool is proud of his African coin collection.

The only question is: Suppose you are an unmarried young man, and you hope to get married eventually; so should you buy one right now, or should you wait for your future father-in-law to buy a set for you? I would answer as follows: Would you buy a bedroom set right now? No, you wait until you are married. So when you buy all your furniture, then you buy a Shas as well. A bochur has to keep moving; sometimes he has to go from one yeshiva to another. So you can’t have a Shas around your neck and anchor yourself down. So wait until your father-in-law comes along and buys you a Shas, a set more expensive than you could afford anyhow. And when you do finally put that Shas on the bookshelf, you must know that it is the pride of the Jewish people.

TAPE # 817 (March 1991)