What is the pshat in the ma’amar chazal that tells us that we should be careful with poor children because they are the ones who will become talmidei chachomim?
In Mesichta Nedarim (81a) it says: שלחו מתם – “They sent a message from Eretz Yisroel: הזהרו בבני עניים – Be careful with the children of the poor, כי מהם תצא תורה – because from them Torah will come.” Torah comes from poor children. So the Ran asks: Why from poor children? Why is it that especially from the poor families will develop talmidei chachomim? And he says that it’s because poor children have nothing else but Torah.
Do you hear that? A rich boy has a bike and maybe he has a radio too; an automobile and all kinds of expensive toys he might have. He has a lot of things to keep him busy. Boruch Hashem, when I was a boy, I never had a bike. I was such a poor boy that when I wanted to buy a little hammer – it cost twenty five cents in those days – I couldn’t afford it! It took me a long time but finally I saved up twenty five cents and I bought the hammer. That was a big thing for me! We didn’t have any toys.
Poor children have much less opportunities to waste their lives! Boruch Hashem! So הזהרו – be careful, בבני עניים, with the poor, כי מהם תצא תורה, because Torah will come from them. And the Ran says it’s because they have nothing else to do except learn. That’s the pshat there. So now you know that children who have so many good things, it’s a very big problem.
TAPE # 812