The Rambam in perek 3 of hilchos talmud torah details a list of
requirements for one who desires to acquire the crown of Torah. These
are different halachos not required by the actual mitzvah of talmud
What is the purpose of this crown? Who needs a crown? Is it just a way
of enticing someone to exert more effort in his learning? Is there any
concrete difference between a talmid chochom who has the crown & one
who does not?
In pirkei avos we find the mishnah making enough of an issue of the
crowns to enumerate how many crowns exist. Obviously this is not just
a way to encourage dedication to a good cause, as that would allow us
to say there are as many crowns as there are mitzvos! So what is
special about the limited 3 that are counted?
Rashi explains the source of these 3 crowns come from a remez in the
klei mishkan, where we find 3 keilim that had a zer saviv.
The maharal goes into great detail explaining the crowns' measurements
associated to the kinyanim needed for these crowns.
(mizbeach 1amah by 1 ama - 6x4 sides =24. Aron 1.5 x 2.5 - 15 +15
+9+9=48 shulchan use height 1x2 =12 & W 1.5 x2 =18 =30)
Where's keser shem tov in the mishkan? & why is it not counted as a 4th crown?
Rashi, & R' Yonah - learn that there is no such thing as a kesser shem
tov being its own crown. Rather it comes with the proper dedication to
the mission of the other 3.
This needs explanation.
A kesser is also called a nezer, or, as with the klei mishkan, a zer.
Its purpose is to set apart & estrange others from the elevated status
of the wearer.
The crowns described in the mishnah are not just trophies or 'rewards
for excellence' which can be applied to any mitzvah. Rather they are
definitive of a specifically defined level of dedication to
specifically these three missions. This explains the fact that there
are 3 crowns & no more. In all other mitzvos and occupations there is
no recommendation to be tied to that mitzvah to the extent that it
would affect one's social relationships. On the contrary, the torah
regards social relationships very highly. As the mishnah states L'olam
y'hei da'ato shel adam me'urav im habrios. eizeh hu derech
yesharah...tiferes lo min ha'adam. However, with regards to these
three missions, the tanna informs us that although one is not required
to go so far for these mitzvos, still, the extra dedication is
commendable and encouraged. The crown associated with Torah, Kehunah,
and Malchus, is worn by one who has experienced some level of
detachment from normal social life due to his dedication to these
mitzvos. He has set himself apart from the crowd in giving prime
importance to the mission at hand. Only in these three areas of avodah
is such a separation acceptable and even praised. Hence, the crowns
have a definitive meaning and they are specifically available only by
way of three clearly defined achievements.
A tremendous chidush comes to light with this understanding. One would
assume that the socially limiting dedication described here, would
naturally cause a breakdown in peoples' appreciation for the
'dedicated individual'. We would think that such a person would not
posses "tiferes lo min ha'adam" and he would certainly not be as well
liked as his peers. For this the Tanna informs us a great chidush.
Through his dedication to these three missions he will BE CROWNED AS
WELL WITH A KESSER SHEM TOV!!! True, he will have set himself
somewhat apart, but not in a negative way, rather in glory! He will
not be disliked, he will be admired! This is one amazing chidush of
There is another valuable insight the mishnah teaches us here.
The only way one would attempt to achieve an elevated status of shem
tov on its own, would have to be through complete selflessness on
behalf of others. Intrinsically that cannot set him APART, rather that
unifies him with the public to the extent that he is an 'ish klall'.
While this is certainly worthy of a glorious crown no less than the
others, by nature it is impossible for there to be a kesser that
separates him from others.
Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 4/30/2013 12:47:00 AM