Thursday, May 28, 2009

לולא תורתך שעשועיי

Shavuos is my favorite Yom Tov. After all, its central activity is Talmud Torah.

I learned how to appreciate the holiday from my years studying with the Rav זצ"ל and the opening remarks to his famous lecture on Gerus and Masorah are my inspiration.

We often forget the study of Torah is not only a spiritual need, it is a physical requirement. החושש בראשו יעסוק בתורה, said the Rabbis, 'He whose head pains him, let him occupy himself with Torah.' The obverse is also true. The lack of studying Torah inflicts both emotional and physical distress on those who love it.

The act of Talmud Torah is not solely determined by the subject matter. It
also depends upon one's state of mind. Thus, it is possible to study our sacred literature with detachment; without a feeling of encountering God. That, in my opinion, is not studying Torah. On the other hand, one can immerse oneself in Jewish History, with all the tools of modern scholarship. If one does so in a modality wherein one sees Divine Providence guiding the history of His People, that is part of Talmud Torah. In terms the Rav described above, such study of Torah in the wider sense is an encounter with God; It is an act of Divine Revelation.

ואידך פירושא, זיל גמור
The rest is commentary, let us go and study.

חג שמח לכולם

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