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HaRav Chaim Kluft shlita on the Importance of Shavuos

Less than one week remains before our receiving the Torah anew.

How must we prepare for such an important day?

HaRav Chaim Kluft: At the beginning of the parsha dealing with the giving of the Torah, the Netziv states a vital fundamental:

"From here we are expected to learn that regarding everything related to kedusha, the more one prepares himself in advance, the more it is able to affect and impact upon him. This is saying that one cannot approach the Giving of the Torah without prior preparation. What does this entail?"

The Ohr HaChaim says that there were three kinds of preparation before the Giving of the Torah at Har Sinai.

The first: "Intensifying ourselves in Torah study." One can sit and study and still not experience that intensity of overcoming obstacles, of self-fortification. I once noticed a student applying himself to study but appearing very tired. I asked him why he wasn't going to sleep. He replied that he had committed himself to twelve hours of consecutive study. Woe unto such study!

In a letter, the Chazon Ish wrote that application to study is not measured by the time one devotes to it but "...by one's personal mesirus nefesh and heartfelt involvement for the love of Torah. Better one wholesome hour of dedication through love than many others of lukewarm study. To be sure, the time devoted therein, in itself, is a natural result of dedication."

Furthermore, HaRav Chaim of Volozhin writes in the same vein: "One who studies one hour through genuine joy, will cover much more than if he spent several hours of study through sadness and lethargy."




A Reiner Mentsch, A Reiner Torah: HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik zt'l

Part V

This multi-part essay was originally published in honor of the first yahrtzeit. He was niftar 19 Iyar, 5755. This was first published in 5756 (1996).

Part V: Instilling a Love of Torah


Although Reb Moishe Soloveitchik zt'l, was consulted about numerous Torah institutions during the fifty years in which he lived in Europe, there were just two yeshivos with which he was personally involved. He was the first rosh yeshiva of the yeshiva in Lucerne, where for ten years he raised a generation of European bnei Torah who went on to play a crucial role in the development of Swiss and indeed, European, Jewish communal life.

In the last five years of his life, he founded another new institution, Yeshivas Toras Chaim in Moscow, whose guiding spirit he remained until his petiroh. Yeshivas Toras Chaim has already produced a generation of Russian bnei Torah who have left Russia for yeshivos throughout Eretz Yisroel as well as America, where they hold their own among their more experienced peers with astonishing success.

Actually, Reb Moishe filled completely different functions in the two institutions. In Lucerne, his time was spent with the bochurim, whom he taught, by word and perhaps even more so, by example, what Torah is and the kind of life it demands that its sons lead. The support and the administration of the yeshiva were the responsibility of a committee of laymen. The need for such a yeshiva in Switzerland was already sufficiently recognized there to make this possible.

With the Moscow yeshiva, the situation was reversed. As soon as it became clear that it might be possible to disseminate Torah freely in Russia, Reb Moishe despatched emissaries whose task it was to assess the possibilities for doing so. After their initial efforts met with success, the yeshiva was established and it has been flourishing ever since.

From Zurich, Reb Moishe and two of his close confidants managed the financial side of the Russian yeshiva's affairs. Reb Moishe responded to the many difficult questions which the operation of a yeshiva in a country that had been cut off from the rest of world Jewry for seven decades gave rise. He advised as to what should be learned and how. He took a strong personal interest in the bochurim and their problems. In short, he did almost everything except for actually going and teaching there.




The Show Must Go On

Whoever was present at the grand show which took place at the beginning of the week in Jerusalem, in a place called 'The High Court for Justice,' knew the end of the spectacle in advance, similar to what took place in the parallel High Court in The Hague. There, everyone knew the expected culmination in advance, which did not stop them from participating in person, either as a representative or a spectator. Similarly regarding the fiasco in Jerusalem.

Each one of the 'players' had rehearsed his role, be they the judges themselves, the lawyers, the reporters or the curious crowd, each one contributing his 'necessary' role in the play script whose finale had been written in advance. The Greek play-writers who wrote the famous tragedy scripts, designated the purpose and message in advance, and the actors and audience already knew from the very start how the performance's tragicomedy would end, even though the progress towards the culmination was riveting and convoluted.

Much the same was the formula of the event taking place in the Jerusalem 'theater of justice,' before the cameras which broadcast it live, with each player playing his part in the script which had been written in advance.




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