Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shabbos Shira 5771

At tisch, the Rebbe spoke about the utmost importance of learning Torah in the right way. Namely, not as an intellectual exercise but as a means of connecting with Hashem. He quoted Chazal saying דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה, Derech eretz precedes Torah, and mentioned that "derech eretz" has the same numerical value as "Tefila" (485). Before we sit down to learn, we must first daven and ask Hashem for help that our learning should be that sort of experience that we are connecting to him.

The Rebbe pointed out that if a person approaches limud haTorah with the understanding that Hashem and his wisdom are one, they cannot be separated, and he appreciates that he is connecting with Hashem Himself for אורייתא וקודשא בריך הוא חד, then it won't matter to him if he is learning something that is relevant to him (like Hilchos Shabbos etc) or if he is learning Zvachim and Menachos which doesn't really have any practical application in our times. Lack of clarity will be intolerable whether it is in something l'maaseh or not since the entire Torah is the expression of the will of Hashem and it is all has equal connective capabilities.

The Rebbe related that sometime in the 60's, someone came to Milwaukee from a certain yeshiva on the East Coast to fund-raise for his yeshiva. He was set up to meet a well-to-do individual named Luck (or Gluck ?) who had once learned in Baranovitch but years later was no longer Shomer Shabbos. When asked if he knew Reb Baruch Ber, the reply was, "Er is gevein a malach Elokim mamash!" The gvir told over how he had traveled a great distance to come to the yeshiva and he arrived in the evening. Inasmuch as there was no place for him to sleep, he made his way to the Beis Medrash and lay down on a bench. At three in the morning, he was awakened by the sound of the doors opening. Not wanting to betray his presence, he made not a sound, but watched as someone made his way to the front of the shul. The man opened the Aron Kodesh and began weeping hysterically, crying out: "Tatte! Tatte! Ich farshtei nisht dem Tosfos! Oy! Tatte!" This went on for the better part of an hour. The next morning by davening, the bochur saw the same man sitting on the mizrach vant and realized that it had been none other than the famed Rosh Yeshiva, Reb Baruch Ber.

This was someone who cared so much about the Ribono shel Olam's Torah; he cried and cried for an hour because he couldn't live without knowing pshat in a Tosfos. Limud Hatorah was no intellectual experience to Reb Baruch Ber. It was cleaving to the Almighty.

We find in a number of instances throughout Shas, that when one Tanna says an extremely sound svara, the other tanna will say משה שפיר קאמרת, Moshe you have said well. Obviously, not every Tanna is named Moshe. The ספרים הקדושים say that there is a little piece of Moshe Rabbeinu in every person and when you say something so profoundly in tune will an authentic Torah line of thought, it is that spark of Moshe Rabbeinu speaking up.

(This is what I have so far from last Shabbos. If anyone remembers what came next, please let me know.)

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