Friday, September 19, 2014

Nitzavim 5631 First Ma'amar

In this week’s parsha we find the following pasuk.  “לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם הִוא לֵאמֹר מִי יַעֲלֶה-לָּנוּ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וְיִקָּחֶהָ לָּנוּ ... כִּי קָרוֹב אֵלֶיךָ הַדָּבָר מְאֹד .../It is not in Heaven [so as] to say, ‘Who will ascend to Heaven to take it for us? … rather it is very close to you …” (Devarim 30:12)  Rashi[1] cites Chazal[2] who say that if the Torah were in Heaven, we would in fact, be required to ascend to Heaven to learn it.  What does this mean?

The Chiddushei HaRim explains that Chazal are teaching us something very significant about learning Torah.  Intuitively we understand that we need to work hard to attain goals that are far from us.  We view the goal as static so if it is far away we need to move a long way to get to it.  When the goal is close, we do not need to work as hard to attain it.  The Torah, however, is not static.  When our goal is the Torah and and we work hard for it, the Torah itself responds and comes close to us.  It appears that it was never far from us.  When, however, we do not work for it, it remains far away.

Chazal are teaching us that when we want to connect to the Torah so much, with all our heart, that we would search for a way to get it even if it were in Heaven, then it is indeed very close.  It is specifically because we would ascend to Heaven to get it, if required, that it is very close to us.

[1] Rashi ad loc.
[2] Eiruvin 55a


Anonymous said...

a conditional continuation of the
instruction to Avraham: 'go [from inside out] from your father's house, and from your birthplace, and from your land,
and from your continent
[ --> overseas*], and from your
planet [ --> heaven], to what I
have to give you'
*possibly "required" (as in Avos 4:18, hevei goleh li'makom Torah);

the given explanation underscores the acceptability of Shema and
Tefilla said in foreign tongues, since dor ha'flaga did strive to reach Heaven (if for the wrong reason/s), & God did draw
"close" (11:5);

were the shofar sounds of Sinai
descents of God's devising,
or built of every future blast
a people's soul arising?

Yechiel said...

We picked the same shtickel this week :)