Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bechukosai

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 parsha begins with the words Im Bechukosai Teleichu - which is translated as "If you will walk after My laws." R' Frand asked - why does the Torah use the word Teleichu - to walk or follow after the laws? 

R' Frand answered by quoting R' Meir Shapiro who explained a different pasuk - L'chu Banim Shimu Li which is translated as "go my children, listen to Me." R' Shapiro asked - why does it say go instead of come? R' Shapiro answered that the term "go" is used, is because the proof of whether someone succeeded in yeshiva is how someone acts after they leave the yeshiva. The person is directed - go out and now we will see how you listen to Hashem, whether you continue to keep up with your learning and your middos after you have left the yeshiva.

The Tolner Rebbi explains that this is why the Torah uses the words Im Bechukosai Teleichu - which the mefarshim explain means that a person should work hard in his Torah learning. The test is how a person acts when he is in the business world and not in the yeshiva - will that person continue to act with middos.

The Tolner Rebbi tied this into a story about the Pnei Menachem who was the son of the Imrei Emes - one of the Gerrer Rebbeim. His father taught him the siddur when he was a little boy. When they began learning Kriyas Shema She Al HaMitah, the Pnei Menachem asked his father - why is this called the Shema She Al HaMitah if it is read before the person gets into bed? The Imrei Emes answered that this is Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim and we cannot accept Hashem when we are sprawled on our beds. The child then asked - so why is it not called the Shema which is read before we get into bed or near the bed? The Imrei Emes answered - because this is when we see what effect the person's learning of the day had on them. If the learning was real - then even the sleeping is kedusha. 

R' Frand closed by saying lets see when a person is driving (L'chu) whether they have middos and how they are acting.

R' Frand next asked why the mefarshim explain that Becukosai - the Chukim - the laws we do but we don't understand - are the examples of how we should be working hard in Torah? The concept of working hard in limud hatorah is rational or intellectual. The term chok is not associated with limud hatorah.

R' Frand answered by quoting the Beis HaLevi on Mishpatim who explained the concept of Na'aseh V'Nishma. Included in the Na'aseh is the concept of limud - you need to learn what to do in order to keep Shabbos or Kashrus. But then what is the Nishma? The Beis HaLevi explains that this is that we will learn anyway - even though we already know what to do.

R' Frand then asked -but if you know how to do something why do you need to learn about it. If someone has been driving for 50 years, do they need to read the driving manual? When you pick up your cellphone do you look for instructions before you use it? 

This is the chok of limud hatorah - you need to review and learn it again,even if you know it already. 

R' Frand quoted the sefer Abir Ya'akov who told a story about a man who was walking and his friend drove up and asked if he wanted a ride. The man responded "no, thank you." I am walking because I need the exercise, because the doctor told me its good for me to do so. I am not walking to get somewhere, I am walking because I need to walk.

R' Frand explained that this is the Im Bechkosai Teleichu - that a person should work hard in learning - not because you don't know what to do, but because you need to learn.

R' Frand told a story about his first year in Ner Yisrael and he went in to see the Rosh Yeshiva and saw that the Rosh Yeshiva was shuckling while intensively learning Meseches Gittin. He did not need to learn it, but he was working hard in his learning.

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