Dec 10, 2010

You Are My Life

I listened to a powerful Chanuka shiur given by Rabbi Moshe Weinberger (Cong. Aish Kodesh of Woodmere) in which he focused on the Greeks' aim to "make them forget Your Torah." He said we don't forget that which is nogei'a (pertain, affects) our essence.

The Torah says, and it's one of the Six Remembrances, “shmor nefshecha me'od” (guard your soul very much) lest you forget the Torah - if Torah would be your soul, you wouldn't forget it.

How is it possible for there to be learned people who, when they go out to do business, steal? Don't they know the laws of stealing, gezel akum? The answer he gave is, it is because the learning is forgotten, i.e. it's not relevant to them, Torah is a subject, not lessons for life.

He told the story of a yeshiva bachur who borrowed a tape recorder and then broke it. The owner of the tape recorder wanted to be reimbursed but he said it was an accident and so he didn't have to pay. They asked their rebbi who brought them to the rosh yeshiva, R' Reuven Feinstein, who was appalled because they had been learning this topic in Gemara all zeman that if someone lends you something you are obligated to pay if something accidentally happens to it! He went to R' Moshe his father who said, you have to realize it has no relevance to them.

In our generation, he said, there is more learning than ever before and yet there is so little connection to what is learned. That's what Yavan is about, disconnecting us from the G-dly aspect of Torah and mitzvos.

The most touching part of his talk was when he gave an example of those things which affect your essence which you don't forget and he said that he and his sister felt every minute that they were the essence of their parents' lives, they weren't a “sideshow,” something that gets in the way of their parents' activities. His father said he could call any time, and one time he called because he was upset about something that happened at school. Unbeknownst to him at the time of his call, his father sent the customers out of the store and locked the store in the middle of the day and spoke to him for over an hour. His mother later said, couldn't you wait until 6:00? He apologized and his father said - What are you talking about (i.e. no apology is necessary)? Customers? Business? My leben is you.

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