All That’s Left is Torah

This week’s Torah reading, Parshat Bechukotai, warns us that if we fail to keep the Torah properly, we will be exiled from our land, and suffer in many ways. At the end of the curses, God says (Vayikra 26:44), “And despite this, while they are in the land of their enemies, I have not despised them, nor have I repulsed them.”

The Chizkuni comments on this and says, “What is it that is left for the Jews, which makes them considered as not despised and repulsed? All great benefits the Jews had were taken away from them. The only thing we have left is the Torah. If not for the Torah, the Jews would be no different than the other nations of the world.” It is the Torah which distinguishes us and keeps our identity vibrant.

Torah Study in Turbulent Times

Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski published his book “Achiezer” at a time of tremendous spiritual turbulence for the Jews in Europe, where he lived. In the introduction to his work, he addresses a question people may have about this, and writes that one may wonder whether this is the appropriate time to publish a new Talmudic work. It was a time of great persecution and spiritual upheaval for the Jewish nation. Is this the time to introduce a new, so to speak “extra,” book of high-level Talmudic discussion?

Rabbi Grodzinski then explains why the situation at the time posed no conflict at all to the publishing of his new book. And this is because this is the power of the Jewish Nation. The life and soul of the Jewish Nation is Torah study on the highest levels. Rabbi Grodzinski demonstrates how this was the practice of the Jewish Nation throughout the many perilous times they went through. No matter what kind of persecution the Jews experienced, the focus was always on ensuring that Torah study continued in its highest form. It is only due to the intense Torah study our nation was involved in, that we have survived as a nation for so many years, despite all the persecution and exile we endured.

Pure Torah study is what infuses the Jewish Nation with life. Torah study is what maintains the Jews’ spiritual status, and serves as the merit we need for protection and survival. No matter what the Jews are going through, increasing Torah study and delving deeper to understand Talmudic concepts is always at the forefront of the Jew’s consciousness.

Rambam on the Roadside

Rabbi Shalom Schwadron once came to the Brisker Rav with a difficult question on a law written by the Rambam. The Brisker Rav listened to the question, and then asked his son, Reb Berel, to give the answer, along with the circumstances under which they reached the solution. Reb Berel then proceeded to tell the story.

During World War II, as they were fleeing to Vilna for safety, military planes stormed the skies and were dropping bombs all around. It was a terrifying experience, but with no choice, they continued on their journey, rushing on the main road leading to Vilna. When the planes noticed large groups of people, they would start dropping bombs in their direction. In order to evade the bombs, the wagon driver strayed off the road and into the woods. Amidst the horrifying atmosphere, when the wagon came to a stop, the Brisker Rav turned to his son and said, “I have a solution to understanding the words of the Rambam.”

It was this section of Rambam that Rabbi Schwadron came for clarification about now. Because no matter what is going on, Torah study is always on the forefront of the Jewish consciousness. Torah study is what stands at the core of the Jewish Nation, because it is through Torah study that we attach ourselves to God.

Torah is Our Lifeline

The Bach (Orach Chaim, 47) says that by studying Torah with sincerity and proper intentions, every person can become a place for God to rest. By doing so, a person can become attached to God with extreme closeness. When we attach ourselves to Torah with pure intentions, with the intention of cleaving to God, God, in turn, bestows His sanctity upon us. Torah is our lifeline from God. While all mitzvot (Torah commandments) are of utmost importance and deserve great attention, the importance of Torah study itself cannot be understated. Increasing Torah study on its highest levels, for ourselves and for others, is of utmost priority for the Jewish Nation, and should always be on the forefront of our minds.

By Rabbi Yitzchok Aryeh Strimber

Please follow us and share:

Want constant access to online Torah and Jewish resources?

First Name: 
Last Name: 
Leave a Reply