The Nachalas Yaakov in his preface to his commentary
on Masechtos Ketanos quotes the remarkably
inspirational words of the Midrash Rabboh: "Rabbi
Yitzchok said: `What the prophets were to prophesy in the
future, in each and every future generation, was [already]
received on Sinai . . . And not only did every prophet
receive his prophecy from Sinai, but also the chachomim
that arise in each and every generation — every
single one of them received his [chochmoh] from
Sinai'" (Midrash Rabboh, Parshas Yisro 28:6).
The Nachalas Yaakov elaborates on this midrash,
explaining that at Har Sinai, Hashem gave each member of
Klal Yisroel a specific portion in His Torah. Each of
us has a unique share in the Torah HaKedoshoh and that
portion consists of the unique insights each of us is capable
of deriving from the Torah. If we temper our physical desires
and steadily work hard to progress in Torah then, according
to the Nachalas Yaakov, the exact portion of Torah we
received from Sinai will be ours.
Toward the end of the fifth perek of Ovos,
Yehuda ben Teimo teaches us how to utilize our energies for
avodas Hashem. We are taught to "be bold as a leopard,
swift as an eagle, run like a deer and strong as a lion" to
serve our Creator. Next, comes a warning that the brazen are
destined for Gehennom and an encouragement that the
humble are destined for Gan Eden.
In conclusion, Yehuda ben Teimo offers a prayer: "May it be
Your Will, Hashem, our G-d, that Your City be rebuilt,
speedily in our days, and grant us our portion in Your
In his commentary, the Tiferes Yisroel notes that this
is the only place in all of Mishnayos that such a
In order to explain why, Rabbi Akiva Eiger quotes the
Teshuvos HaRadach. In siman 20 of his
teshuvos, the Radach notes that immediately prior to
this prayer, Yehuda ben Teimo taught us to be bold as a
leopard. This is often useful in learning Torah. A shy person
may refrain from asking questions and, as a result, the
clarity of his knowledge will suffer. Nevertheless, the bold
may also be in danger because of his aggressive behavior.
Hence, according to the Radach, this is a very appropriate
point to include a prayer for the renewal of Yerushalayim
since in the future there will be no need to be
aggressive — even in limud haTorah. With the
return of the Shechinah to Yerushalayim, may it happen
speedily in our days, the whole world will have a clear,
unquestionable knowledge of Hashem, because the Novi
Yeshayohu has proclaimed, "For the earth shall be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of G-d, as the waters cover
the sea" (Yeshayohu 11:9).
At that time, the world will acknowledge and accept the truth
of Torah as the revealed, expressed and delineated Will of
the Ribono Shel Olom. This knowledge will be most
apparent and manifest in Yerushalayim. The Beis Hamikdosh,
Tzion and Yerushalayim are great motivators in helping us
achieve perfection in yiras Shomayim and Torah.
Thus, we can understand why Rashi on the first posuk
of Koheles describes Yerushalayim as the city of
chochmoh. No other place in the world matched the
chochmoh of Yerushalayim — may this also happen
again, speedily in our days.
Likewise, the gemora (Bava Basra 21a) cites the
posuk in Yeshayohu (2:3) which says, "For from
Tzion will come forth Torah and the Word of Hashem
from Yerushalayim." Tosafos tells us how: "Since one will see
the great kedushoh and the kohanim engrossed in
the avodoh, one will direct his heart even more to
yiras Shomayim and learning Torah."
Chochmoh, according to the Vilna Gaon (Mishlei
2:2) is, "that which a person receives from his Rebbe." Can
we imagine a greater teacher than the Shechinah
itself? Chochmoh leads to yiras Hashem, as the
posuk states, "Reishis chochmoh, yiras Hashem"
Reishis usually means "the start or source of
something." Hence, this posuk is most widely
understood to mean that the beginning — the source
— of wisdom is yiras Hashem. In this instance
however, the Chossid Yaavetz explains the word reishis
in a novel way: within the context of this posuk, the
word reishis means, "that which is praiseworthy and
that which is the purpose of it."
Therefore, according to the Chossid Yaavetz, this posuk
is teaching us that the purpose and praiseworthy goal of
chochmoh is yiras Hashem. The more we
understand about Torah, and particularly the more we become
conscious of our own portion of Torah, the more yiras
Hashem we will attain.
In his sefer Sheim Olom (Chapter 10), the Chofetz
Chaim warns us against making a big mistake in our approach
to learning. We should never think that a topic we are
learning has been so thoroughly explained by the giants who
have preceded us and thus, there is nothing more for us to
explore and nothing new for us to discover.
We should not think this way at all because, as the Chofetz
Chaim writes: "There are so many aspects of chochmoh
that there is enough for everyone. Each person will receive
his portion in Torah. This one in Tanach, this one in
Mishna, this one in Midrash and this one in
Halochoh. This is what we are all asking for [when we
finish our Shemoneh Esrei by saying] — grant us
our portion in Your Torah."
The gemora Eruvin (21a) illustrates this point very
well, citing the posuk in Tehillim (119:96):
"To every goal I have seen an end, but Your mitzva is
exceedingly vast." Significantly, the gemora notes
that Dovid Hamelech, Iyov and Yechezkel did not explain this
posuk. Only Zecharya, whose generation came much
later, explained this posuk.
Because the gemora does not teach us Zecharya's
explanation at the onset, the Iyun Yaakov explains
that this gemora is coming to teach us a basic lesson:
A chochom should never refrain from trying to
understand divrei Torah HaKedoshoh, even though the
explanation escaped the Torah giants of earlier generations.
As the Iyun Yaakov writes, "Perhaps he received this
[knowledge as part of his] portion from Sinai."
The true explanation had to wait for Zecharya, a later
prophet, as it was his exclusive portion of Torah. Therefore,
in spite of their greatness, we can understand why Dovid
Hamelech, Iyov and Yechezkel did not give the explanation.
The true understanding of the matter was not part of their
portion of Torah as given to them at Har Sinai.
Similarly, the Chidushei Chasam Sofer on maseches
Chulin (6a) explains that Hakodosh Boruch Hu
actually conceals Torah, even from the eyes of those who are
very worthy. The rightful owner of that knowledge must come
along and disclose it, and this is exactly what we are
praying for when we ask to attain our exclusive portion of
Therefore, we should always learn as eagerly and honestly as
possible. In Mishlei (2:4-5), Shlomo Hamelech teaches
us, "If you will seek it [Torah] like silver and search after
it like buried treasures, then you will understand yiras
Hashem and you will find daas Elokim."
The lure of buried treasure is so enticing that every one of
us would search for it without rest — as long as we had
an accurate map along with clear instructions. The Rambam, in
the preface to his commentary on the Mishna, describes
how people traveled overseas in search of riches. Many times
these people would be lost at sea, never to return to their
loved ones. They gave up the comforts and security of their
homeland because they longed to be rich.
Thus, as the Rambam describes, with high hopes they would
leave their family, home and friends — perhaps forever
— all because of the desire for gold! The Rambam calls
it stupidity. Moreover, he writes that there is no greater
stupidity in the world than this.
The Rambam, with the clear perspective of daas Torah,
saw their folly for what it was. Their ambition for wealth
blinded them to the stupidity of their quest. True enough,
gold is precious; but it is very dangerous. The gleam of
gold, once it stimulated their imagination, enticed them and
brought forth a ceaseless desire to search the world over for
gold. This desire was so overpowering that it caused people
to ignore great dangers and the possibility of death.
If the Rambam makes note of their foolishness, it is to teach
us to take a lesson from them. Our motivation to seek the
wisdom of Torah and our desire to fear G-d should be as
earnest and as devoted as the ambition of those who dream of
Therefore, we should not ignore the fundamental, vitally
practical truth Shlomo Hamelech is teaching us. That at best,
a successful search for treasure ends with nothing else but
the treasure itself — and as the Rambam wrote, the
chances of success are very slim.
In contrast, the end of a genuine search for our personal and
exclusive portion of Torah we will achieve the eternal
benefits of yiras Hashem and daas Elokim!
There is no greater way of achieving this priceless yiras
Hashem than by embarking upon the path to claim our
personal portion of Torah. After we have prayed and worked
our hardest and then, finally experience the unsurpassed
siyata deShmaya that allows us to attain it, we will
certaintly merit yiras Hashem.
Today, even though we lack the direct influence of the
Shechinah, the Beis Hamikdosh and the
avodoh, nonetheless, Hashem Yisborach provides
each generation with talmidei chachomim who can, to a
great extent, make up for this lack. In each generation,
daas Torah gives us clear instructions on how to
search. If we follow the instructions of daas Torah
then, as Shlomo Hamelech promises, we will find yiras
Hashem and daas Elokim.
Talmidei chachomim are the manifestation of Torah
— its study, its reasoning, its understanding and its
application. They form the basis of Jewish life. They are the
links in our unbroken line of communication that stretches
back to Moshe Rabbenu and Har Sinai.
Rabbeinu Yonah (Shaarei Teshuvoh, Shaar 3: siman 148)
writes: "It is known that avodas Hashem endures only
because of those who learn Torah and who engage in its study
day and night. . . .They uphold the Torah in Klal
Yisroel so it should not be forgotten by their
The sefer Kav HaYoshor's first chapter writes that
upon awakening every morning, the very first thing we should
do — even before saying Modeh ani — is to
imagine how Klal Yisroel stood before Hashem
Yisborach at Har Sinai. Each morning we are a new
creation and the purpose of our creation is to fulfill
Hashem's commandments. Therefore, we are to recall how Moshe
Rabbenu served as our link to the Ribono Shel Olom
when we received the Torah.
Such thoughts and mental imagery forge a daily link in the
unbroken chain of Torah, from Rebbe to talmid, that
leads back to Har Sinai. It is a chain with a series of links
that starts with Moshe Rabbenu and culminates with our very
This is a daily reminder that we are part of the continual
process of acquiring Torah from the Ribono Shel Olom
— He Who teaches His Torah to His people — as we
verbally testify in Bircas HaTorah each morning.
We all stood at Har Sinai and thus we all have our own
exclusive portion of Torah. What is this portion? It is those
concepts and ideas contained in the Torah that we are able to
explain more clearly than anyone else can. Hashem
Yisborach has given each of us a unique and powerful
ability to express that which we know best, provided that we
put forth all the necessary efforts to claim and become
expert in our own portion of Torah.
Every day, Hashem gives us life. Every day, we must think
about the purpose of this new day: to reclaim as much of our
portion in Torah as possible. May the day come soon when we
will all become aware of our portion in Hashem's Torah. Thus
hastening the time when the whole world will be knowledgeable
of Hashem and His Torah and then we will all know clearly how
to serve our Creator with full and perfect hearts.