"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)
"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
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