by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'CHUKOSAI 5771 BS"D
Ch. 26, v. 3,4: "Im b'chukosai teileichu, V'nosati gishmeichem b'itom" - If you will walk in my statutes, And I will give your rains in their times - The gist of these two verses, as explained by Rashi, is that if you will be diligent in your Torah studies, "sheti'h'yu a'meilim baTorah," Hashem will respond by supplying your physical needs. No doubt many of our choshuva readers know of people who make Torah study their main pursuit and yet, they seem to be lacking quite a bit in their physical needs.
A Yeshiva student ran into numerous difficulties in his Yeshiva. The dormitory room to which he was assigned was crowded, almost no place for his clothes. The bathrooms were far and in-between. The food was not up to his standard. He was new to the Yeshiva and had not developed a group of friends, etc. etc. Feeling very down, he came to Rabbi Shach zt"l for emotional support. Rabbi Shach first told him that many Torah giants had similar situations and some had even more challenging ones. He then offered the student a parable. If someone had to travel to a far-flung place to pursue what he felt was a great business opportunity, he obviously had to travel there and then take up temporary residence while he was involved in the dealings. He might have been able to procure a business class level of accommodations on the train, wagon, airplane, boat. When he arrived at the city where the business opportunity presented itself he likewise might have been able to rent quarters that were very comfortable and well situated, or further off, not as comfortable, etc., and likewise with the food, and surely with the lack of the location not being scenic. Notwithstanding all the above, the focused businessman would not be bothered even if all the above did not meet his comfort level, since after all, the travelling, the residing in a distant place, etc. were all just mediums for the all important goal of a wonderful business opportunity.
This totally changes when we discuss a person who travels for a vacation. If the travel, accommodations, food, scenery, etc. greatly disappoint him, he would surely cut his trip short.
If the Yeshiva student remains focused on his purpose for being in the Yeshiva, to grow in his closeness to Hashem through his Torah and "yiroh" studies, then he takes very little note of the physical accommodations. They pale in insignificance. It is the student who attends a Yeshiva with the "vacation sight-seeing" attitude upon whom every perceived inconvenience impacts so heavily. (KinyanTorah)
If you will be "a'meilim baTorah," truly diligent in your Torah studies, Hashem will supply you with all your physical needs, i.e. they will readily be sufficient for you because you are so focused on the great goal and don't live on this ephemeral world as a vacationing tourist.
The following is repeated from the Sedrah Selections B'chukosai 5760 issue, as it conveys most powerfully the concept of "a'meilim baTorah."
<< The following story illustrates in what great esteem the concept of toiling in Torah was held by a Torah giant. A small community in Galicia had a most complicated halachic question. The response to this question could conceivably affect that community most profoundly. Their own Rav had left for a post in a larger community and they had not yet replaced him with another Rav. The community leaders decided that they should bring their query to none other than the world famous Gaon Horav Meshulom Igra who was the Rav in Tismanitz at the time.
The trip entailed staying overnight in an inn. As the community heads were about to leave the inn, a young Torah scholar who had also spent the night in the same inn met them. They struck up a conversation and the Torah scholar was advised of the purpose of the trip of the community leaders. He told them that he was on his way to their community to apply for the vacant position of Rav. He therefore asked them what their halachic question was, offering that perhaps he would be able to answer them. They were reluctant to do so as they were on their way to the great Gaon Rabbi Meshulom Igra. However, they decided to present their question to him just to fulfill his request, but decided that no matter how satisfactory the answer, they would go on to ask Rabbi Meshulom Igro the question and abide by his ruling. After hearing all the details, the young Rabbi requested that they allow him a short period of time to go back to his quarters in the inn so that he may attempt to come up with a proper answer. After a short period of time he returned to them and gave a clear response, albeit quite detailed. The communal group continued on their trip and presented their complicated question to Rabbi Meshulom Igra. He immediately told them that the matter at hand was most complicated and required him to study many texts in depth until he would be able to formulate an answer and that it would probably take him close to three days to do this. The communal heads waited patiently and after three days the Gaon gave them his decisive response. Imagine their great shock when they heard exactly the same answer that the young scholar had given them in the inn a few days earlier. Rabbi Igra noticed their surprised look and they told him all that had transpired.
Rabbi Meshulom was so impressed by the young scholar that he decided that he must meet a Talmid Chochom of such great stature. After some inquiries he found out where the man lived. He donned his Shabbos apparel in honour of meeting this outstanding scholar, and when Rabbi Meshulom met him, the young man responded that actually he had not worked out the answer through in depth study. Since he felt hard-pressed to find a position as a Rav and had met the communal leaders of the community to which he planned to apply, he felt this was a most unique opportunity to secure the position if he would properly answer their question. He returned to his room and with heartfelt prayers beseeched Hashem to place the correct answer into his mind. It was obvious that Hashem hearkened to his supplications.
Upon hearing this, Rabbi Meshulom Igra said a quick good-bye, adding that it is no great accomplishment to come to the correct conclusion through prayer. What Hashem wants from us is TOILING in Torah! >>
Ch. 26, v. 5: "Vaachaltem lach'm'chem losova" - And you will eat your bread to satiation - Why doesn't the verse just say "lechem?" What is the point being made by saying YOUR bread? Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin answers that Rashi says that when there is a full blessing one merits to eat just a bit and that bit is blessed in his intestines and is sufficient to satiate him. With this phenomenon one might decide to offer the poor man in need of food just a small chunk of bread, and assume that the petitioner is a righteous person and will experience the blessing of "a small bit will satiate." This is why our verse says that Hashem will bless YOUR bread, meaning that you have no right to assume that the poor man will have the same blessing. Give him a very generous portion of food.
With this insight he goes on to explain the terminology of the gemara Brochos 20b, which says that Hashem says that He rightfully favours the bnei Yisroel because Hashem said "V'ochalto v'sovoto u'veirachto" (Dvorim 8:10), and they are stringent with THEMSELVES to say grace after meals even when eating an olive-volume.
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