Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nitzavim 5631 First Ma'amar

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 …” Rashi cites Chazal 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 Chidushei HaRim explains that Chazal are teaching 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 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 we desire Torah and 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.

This, then, is what Chazal mean. 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.

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