Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Iyar 5766 - May 24, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Torah is For Everyone and Everything

As we know, all of Klal Yisroel accepted the Torah on Shavuos. It was given to all of them, and not just to some elite group. Everyone is invited — even required — to study it to the best of his ability. One of the highest and most prestigious callings in life is harbotzas Torah — spreading Torah as far and as wide as possible.

HaRav Moshe Feinstein (whose 20th yahrtzeit was in Adar of this year) explains that the reason that we always read Bamidbar right before Shavuos is to drive home this lesson.

The counting is said to be uplifting: Se'u es rosh kol addas Bnei Yisroel . . . — lift them up. In a census, everyone is uplifted since all are counted as absolute equals. Each person counts for one, and each person should see his potential and achievements as being great.

This is the attitude with which one must approach Torah: that the Torah was given to each and every one of us and we all have the same obligation to study it and toil over it — and to reach significant levels of achievement in Torah. Reading Parshas Bamidbar is thus aimed to challenge those who are discouraged from learning with intensity since they feel that anyway they can not get too far in Torah study. We must learn from the counting in Bamidbar that everyone should aspire to a great portion in Torah. (Dorash Moshe, Parshas Bamidbar)

The big "justified" distraction for many people from limud Torah is study for the purposes of parnossoh. Though certainly a concern for parnossoh is legitimate, it is very easy to carry it too far and it can be, in fact, the advice of reshoim (atzas reshoim) referred to in the first chapter of Tehillim.

Rav Moshe explains that the reference to "advice of reshoim" indicates that the subject is not the evil itself but rather the advice given by evildoers that is liable to lead its followers off the proper path. "And it would seem," writes Rav Moshe, "that this refers to the way many people who are genuinely faithful to Hashem and His Torah and fulfill mitzvos, seek and worry about their children even from a very young age, about how they will find parnossoh."

This concern leads those people to stop or minimize learning Torah, to become stuffed with outside learning (chochmos chitzoniyos), and to associate with kofrim in the pursuit of parnossoh — "until, by following this advice, many become themselves reshoim. Happy is one who has trust in Hashem yisborach Who nurtures and sustains all, so that even when he is fully occupied with Torah he will not lack for bread, as Yirmiyohu proved."

In these times of darkness it is sometimes hard to see and feel the power and importance of Torah, but Shavuos is a time in which it is more accessible than usual. It was on Shavuos that Torah came down to the world decisively and since then the entire Creation — from Wall Street to Red Square to Beijing and everywhere else — depends on Torah for its very existence. "The truth is, without any doubt whatsoever, that if the entire world — from one end to the other — were void chas vesholom for even a moment of our effort and contemplation of Torah, in a moment all the worlds would be destroyed, both the upper and lower [worlds], and they would be null and void chas vesholom. And the bounty of their light or its being minimized chas vesholom, is all according to the way and how much we are occupied with it [Torah]. . . . if we seize onto the holy Torah with all our strength, as is proper, we will inherit eternal life and draw from its supernal roots that reach higher than all worlds — additional kedushoh, brochoh, and a great light that will reach all the worlds . . . " (Nefesh HaChaim, Shaar 4, Perek 11).

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