Please Learn in the Merit of:

Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ט שבט - Shevat 29 - One-Hundred-and-Forty-Eighth Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[In light of the previous teaching], it is evident to the extent which we should strengthen ourselves in [our involvement in] Torah study, whether due to the inherent obligation [to study Torah] itself, as we shall explain later, G-d Willing, [or] due to [the person] thereby being rescued from [partaking in] all types of forbidden speech, as is mentioned earlier. Nowadays, due to our many sins, the pillar of Torah has declined, [and therefore] it is all the more [important for] a person to greatly strengthen himself in [his involvement in] Torah study. [The aforementioned advice for one to greatly strengthen the degree of their involvement in Torah study, follows that which is taught] in the [Talmud] Yirushalmi, [in] PerekHaRoeh[1], [as follows]: “Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai said, ‘If you have seen a generation who have despaired from involvement in the [study of The] Torah, stand up and strengthen yourself in [your involvement of Torah study] and you will [thereby] receive the reward of [the entire generation].”[2] We shall briefly explain concerning the magnitude of the person’s obligation [to involve himself] in [the study of] Torah, and the magnitude of his reward in this world and in The World to Come [for his having involved himself in Torah study].

[As noted above, one receives a great reward for involvement in Torah study], for it is known that the essence of the [rationale for] Torah study, aside from [the fact] that [involvement in Torah] study brings [one] to act [properly in fulfilling the mitzvos, there] is [also] a Torah commandment [to study Torah], as is written [in ParshasVaEschanan”], “…and you shall learn [of] them and you shall guard yourselves to perform them.”[3] (Divarim: 5; 1)

Our Sages of Blessed Memory have also said [in masechesPeah” (Chapter 1; Mishna 1), as follows]: “These are the things for which a person consumes their fruits [in this world and the principle [of the reward] remains intact for him for The World to Come]…, and Torah study is equivalent to all of them.”[4] It is also [taught] in the Yirushalmi, [in maseches] “Peah[5], that all of the mitzvos are not equivalent to one word [of] Torah [study][6].

[1] This teaching is found in [maseches] “Birachos”, Chapter 9, Mishna 5, though the text as recorded by the Chofetz Chaim differs slightly from that which is found in masechesBirachos”.

[2] The teaching states, “It was taught that Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai says, ‘If you have seen that the people are despairing too a great degree from [involvement in] Torah [study, then] stand up and strengthen yourself in it, and you will receive the reward of all of [these people]. What is the reason [for the person receiving this reward]? [When] your Torah has been abandoned, [then] it is the time to act for HaShem [and involve yourself in Torah study].”

[3] The entire pasuk states, “And Moshe called to all of Israel and said to them, ‘Israel, listen to the ordinances and the laws which I command you today and you shall learn [of] them and you shall guard yourselves to perform them’.” (Divarim: 5; 1)

The “Torah T’mimah” on this pasuk, points out that we learn in masechesKiddushin” (29b), that we learn from this pasuk that one has an obligation to teach themselves Torah, even if his father had not fulfilled his obligation to have taught him Torah.

[4] The mishna from masechesPeah” lists honoring one’s parents, acts of kindness, instilling peace between one person and his fellow, and Torah study as the four things for which a person is rewarded in this world and receives his entire reward for these mitzvos in The World to Come. Subsequent to the blessings recited for Torah study, this mishna is quoted, but lists ten mitzvos for which one is rewarded in this world and receives the complete reward for the performance of these mitzvos in The World to Come. In addition to the mitzvos cited above, we learn that making it early to the Beis Midrash (Torah study hall) in the morning and during the evening, inviting guests, visiting the sick, helping enable a bride to get married, escorting the dead to burial, and an in-depth look at tefillah (prayer), are also mitzvos for which the person receives a reward in this world, in addition to receiving his complete reward in The World to Come. It is Torah study which we learn is equivalent to these other great mitzvos which are listed.

[5] This teaching is also found in The Talmud Yirushalmi in masechesPeah”, in the first chapter, first mishna.

[6] This section from masechesPeah” quotes Rabbi Berechiah and Rabbi Chiya from the village of Tichumin concerning the mitzvah of Torah study. Rabbi Berechiah says that the entire world is not equivalent to even one word of Torah studied and Rabbi Chiya says that all of the mitzvos in The Torah are not equivalent to the study of even one word of Torah studied.

No comments: