Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bechukosai

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

The first pasuk of this week's parsha contains a curious choice of words as it states that if a person will walk after Hashem's laws. It would have seemed more logical to state if a person follows or obeys the laws. Why is it that the Torah uses the verb "teyleichu" or walk after.

The Medrash Rabbah links this pasuk to a medrash about David Hamelech wherein David said to Hashem, "every morning I wanted to go to this place, but instead my legs carry me to to the Batei Medrash and Batei Knessesses. 

R' Frand cited to the Ksav Sofer who had a different version of the medrash. This version states "every morning I wanted to go to the theaters and circuses, but my carry me to to the Batei Medrash and Batei Knessesses. 

This second version of the medrash is obviously confusing - why would David Hamelech want to go to these places instead of to learn or daven?

The Ksav Sofer gave an initial answer which cited the gemara which states that in the future all of the theaters and circuses will be transformed into halls of learning and davening.

The Ksav Sofer's second answer is based on a thought which struck a chord with me. The Ksav Sofer writes that David Hamelech wanted to observe the athletes and spectators and their devotion to the sport. 

R' Frand digressed to talk about how Olympic gymnasts and professional athletes spend 8-10 hours a day in training for competition. He mentioned how fans have become "fanatical" (my word, not his) and that there are sports radio networks where people can talk sports all day and night. He even observed that the recently concluded NFL Draft is now a "three day yom tov."

It was this fanaticism that David Hamelech wanted to observe and channel so that his love of Torah and tefillah was equally "fanatical,"

R' Frand closed the vort by quoting the Chofetz Chayim who explains the line in the "hadran" which states  - "we work and they work" and "we run and they run." Why is it that we should care about how people devote themselves to frivolity and race after trivialities? The answer is that if you want to see how someone works hard, look at what they are doing and then channel it and be inspired to use the same energy in your service of Hashem.

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