To the Shomer Torah Umitzvos Community:
As you all know the present circumstances Klal Yisroel
is facing--both at the hands of the nations of the world
without, where hatred for Yisroel has increased greatly in
nearly every country, and Klal Yisroel's state of
ruchniyus within--need great rachamim. What can
one do to save himself [from this state of affairs]?
The answer is "Torah." Histakel be'Oraysoh uBoro almo.
"Bereishis," bishvil haTorah shenikreis reishis. Without
Torah there is no Klal Yisroel, no world, nothing at
Thus the more we gather strength in Torah the more power
Klal Yisroel has, and the more power for the world.
This is the only way to maintain our existence, the only way
to continue. Rav Chaim of Volozhin says if people stopped
learning Torah, chas vesholom, after a short time of
not learning Torah anywhere the world could be annihilated.
All of the power of Creation is only Torah.
The magnitude of Torah learning is immeasurable and he who
reaches the level of talmid chochom, not only is he
saved, but also he exerts an effect that keeps 40,000 others
from harm. According to the Baal Haturim at the beginning of
Parshas Devorim, "If there is a single talmid
chochom among 40,000 they need neither spear nor shield,
for the talmid chochom protects them from their
enemies" (see Devorim 1:3).
Therefore we must try with all our might to increase Torah
learning, to fill the beis medrash with as many
benches as possible, to add as many hours of learning time as
possible both in quantity and quality of iyun in
depth, to add more places of Torah--another yeshiva, another
talmud Torah another cheder, whatever is
appropriate. This allows the world to exist, and without it,
chas vesholom, the world does not have a basis for
And this is a response to all of the tzoros, including
the haters of Judaism who pose as defenders of justice but
are corrupted with all of the most deplorable middos.
To Israel's enemies the answer is also "Torah," as much Torah
learning as possible--this is the best defense.
Those who are unable to learn themselves should provide for
others who learn. And even those who learn have to sustain
Torah, as it says in the Yerushalmi in Sota,
which is cited in the Ramban in Parshas Ki Sovo
(Devorim 27:26), "He who studies and teaches and keeps
and does, [but if he] had the ability to provide [for others
engaged in Torah] and did not provide, he is also considered
included in the Orrur (cursed), Hashem
yishmereinu." Thus it is inconceivable to be spared
Haters of Judaism also stand up against us saying, "lest
[they] increase," whether by reducing our subsistence or
instituting decrees to restrict the possibility of making
Toroso umnoso. This matter is in our own hands. As we
find in Eruvin (53a), "Said R' Yochonon, `When we were
learning Torah under R' Oshaya we would sit four per
amoh (60 centimeters=2 feet).'" They had such a desire
to learn Torah that four people would squeeze into a single
amoh. Later the gemora says, "Said Rebbe, `When
we were learning under R' Elozor ben Shamu'a [which was one
or two generations earlier] we would sit six per
amoh." Here Chazal point out the yeridas
hadoros that took place.
All this was actually quite miraculous, as the Maharsho
explains, because it would have been physically impossible
otherwise. We see that because the enjoyment and passion for
Torah weakened somewhat, the extent of the miracle
diminished, and the greater the passion for Torah the bigger
the miracle, i.e. as many as six fit in one amoh.
In our generation we have no conception of such things, and
such miracles are implausible nowadays. But we should know
that although such madreigos are completely beyond our
reach, the more we aspire to rise up in Torah and the more
our passion for Torah grows, even without such miracles at
least we will merit sustaining the Torah.
The more Klal Yisroel elevates itself and increases
its passion [for Torah], the more HaKodosh Boruch Hu
will help prevent anything from harming bnei Torah. Klal
Yisroel will be able to continue until HaKodosh Boruch
Hu infuses us with a spirit from Above so we merit the
true Geuloh. But until then we must work hard to allow
Klal Yisroel to attain such great passion, increasing
Torah learning more and more and adding more Torah soldiers
in every respect, and then we will be able to exist.
Certainly many know that the gemora says in Makkos
24a that Chabbakuk [reduced all 613 mitzvos into a single
rule], "Vetzaddik be'emunoso yichyeh." Without
emunoh there is nothing and we need much chizuk
in emunoh . As Chazal said, one does not bang his
finger unless it is proclaimed from Above. There is nothing
in the world without the hashgochoh of HaKodosh
Boruch Hu, and this needs great chizuk.
Some people think, "Why do I need [chizuk]? After all,
I am a ma'amin and I belong to the circle of
shomrei Torah umitzvos."
But if one wants to gauge his level of emunoh he
should examine himself at a time when he faces a direct
competitor, for then he will turn the world upside down to
win and will see the extent of his emunoh, and will
see that he needs much chizuk in emunoh.
Matters of bein odom lechavero are also fundamental
aspects of the Torah. As Hillel said to the person who wanted
to learn the entire Torah while standing on one foot, "All
you despise, do not do to your friend." This is one of the
fundamentals of Judaism, and much chizuk is needed,
for if there is a dispute between a man and his fellow,
nothing will help, as is written, "Ulerosho omar Elokim
mah lecho lesapeir chuki." This needs a tremendous amount
of chizuk and one must flee from machlokes with
all his strength.
In addition to all of the general matters that require
chizuk, it would also be worthwhile to strengthen
ourselves in matters that are relatively easy and that rise
up to find favor before Adon Kol Ho'oretz, Malkeinu
Ubor'einu, Yisborach Shemo: [including] saying
"omen" and "yehei Shmei rabboh mevorach" and
tefilloh betzibbur and avoiding idle speech in the
beis knesses and beis medrash.
And in the zchus of the Torah and emunoh and
love for our fellow Jew in speech and action and all of these
[related] matters, may we all merit being redeemed through
the Eternal Redemption speedily in our days, omen
A. L. Shteinman
7 Adar Sheini 5763