Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Adar 5764 - March 18, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











A Letter Of Encouragement Recently Sent By HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman To French Jewry

"Whoever Prevents His Son From Learning Torah Should Be Aware That He's Affecting His Own Life . . ."

Chazal's statement about the travails preceding Moshiach's arrival is well known: "What should a person do to be saved from the pangs of Moshiach's arrival? He should occupy himself with Torah and with practicing kindness."

The Chofetz Chaim writes that since Chazal give just this single piece of advice, it is impossible that anything else will help. Yet we see still that the Soton puts all his efforts into interfering with Torah study.

Since our holy Torah is the foundation of everything, the yetzer hora tries to weaken Torah learning. In every generation the main battle with the yetzer hora is over Torah study.

Also, Torah's main power is through Torah shebe'al peh. What Chazal said about toiling in Torah refers principally to Torah shebe'al peh. The Medrash Tanchuma (at the beginning of parshas Noach) says:

"For Hakodosh Boruch Hu only made a covenant with Yisroel over Torah shebe'al peh, as it says, `for al pi, according to (lit. by the mouth of) these things I have established a covenant with you' (Shemos 34:27). This refers to Torah shebe'al peh which is difficult to learn and which entails great pains . . .

`. . . they saw a great light' (Yeshayohu 9:1). This refers to Talmud scholars who beheld a great light. Hakodosh Boruch Hu illumines their eyes regarding what is permitted and what is forbidden, what is pure and what is impure. In the future, `those who love Him will be like the sun coming out in its full strength' (Shofetim 5:31). Yisroel only accepted the Torah after Hashem held the mountain over them like a barrel . . . over Torah shebe'al peh which contains many detailed laws, both major and minor . . . because only someone who loves Hakodosh Boruch Hu with all his heart, his soul and his means learns it . . ."

This is what we have left -- Shas and poskim. Halochoh, knowing how to conduct ourselves and how Yisroel should behave throughout their lives, is determined according to these. To the extent that they are neglected, Torah will be forgotten chas vesholom, and there will be no Klal Yisroel. Thus, the Soton tries all kinds of tactics and subterfuges [to deter people from learning Torah].

As is known, the author of Mesillas Yeshorim, the pious RaMChaL writes in Derech Eitz HaChaim that at the time of the decree in 5408 (1648), the pious and great mekubal Rav Shimshon Ostropolier made the S"M (Soton) take an oath and asked him why he persecuted Yisroel more than any other nation.

He told Rav Shimshon, "Three things should be annulled and then I'll revoke my prosecution. They are: Shabbos, miloh and Torah."

The pious rov replied, "Let yet more perish but let not a single letter of the Torah chas vesholom be lost."

The foundation of Klal Yisroel is thus Torah, in its full depth and splendor. Though an ignoramus is also a Jew, his existence is justified by his support of talmidei chachomim and by the chance that his offspring will have some relationship to Torah. People do not understand that Hakodosh Boruch Hu lets them live because there is hope that their children might have a connection to Torah. A father who prevents his son from learning Torah and wants him to fulfill his obligations only minimally, should realize that this can affect his own life.

Although things do not appear this way and it in fact seems that the path taken by evildoers is a successful one and that whoever is less occupied with Torah enjoys greater success, the truth is going to be revealed. This will happen either in the world to come or in our times, when Hakodosh Boruch Hu reveals His light, may it be quickly, in our days.

When this happens, everyone is going to be ashamed over why he didn't devote his own life and his children's lives to the genuine light. Everyone should therefore educate his children in Torah only, without adding any other studies and in consequence will enjoy satisfaction from them in this world and in the future, in eternal life. Hashem yisborach will certainly not cut off anyone's livelihood because they made Torah the their main pursuit in life, as the Chofetz Chaim writes (in the fifth chapter of Shemiras Haloshon entitled Shaar Hatorah).

Hakodosh Boruch Hu will bestow a spirit of purity upon everyone who does what we are commanded to do. He will merit both spiritual and material means and will be counted among those about whom all the prophecies of the prophets were said (see Shabbos 63). May it be Hashem's will that these be fulfilled in us soon.

Purim Demukofin 5764,

(signed) A. L. Shteinman


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