Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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15 Adar II 5763 - March 19, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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A Letter of Chizuk from HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, shlita

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 all.

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 existence.

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 without this.

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 selah.

A. L. Shteinman

7 Adar Sheini 5763


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