Oct 27, 2014

Total Commitment to Torah

I read the following:

"And Avram took his wife, Sarai…and the souls they made in Charan." (12:5)

"Targum Onkelos explains v'es ha'nefesh asher asu b'Charan, "and the souls they made in Charan" as, v'yas nafshasa di shabidu l'Oraisa, "and the souls which they committed to Torah." This teaches us, notes Horav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Shlita, that the only commitment of substance, the only obligation that has value and endurance, is a commitment to Torah.
"Turning someone on," getting them to enjoy mitzvah observance, attending services in shul, are all wonderful beginnings, but the nefesh has not yet been made, success has not been achieved, until there is a shibud, obligation and commitment, to Torah study. Only then is there hope that the individual who has been "turned on" will not turn around and become "turned off." Torah protects and ensures the success of the transformation. Torah catalyzes the transformation and sustains the momentum.
Furthermore, adds Rav Ezrachi, one cannot have a shibuda l'Oraisa unless it is accompanied with a lech lecha, go for yourself, me'artzecha, from your land, etc. One must leave his original environment; break his ties with the past. He is committed to one thing and one thing only: Torah. When the separation is unequivocal, as it was with Avraham and Sarah, when there is a total severance from the commitments of the past, there can be a total commitment to Torah."
This leaves me wondering about the guidance given to those who are new to Torah observance.  I thought the current approach on the part of people involved in kiruv from various backgrounds is not to convince the newbie to throw his or her past away, but to encourage them to build on it.  Their schooling, their profession, their life experience, are often used to reach out to others.  How then, would this approach fit with the directive to Avrohom, which is also the directive to all of us, to leave everything behind?

1 comment:

  1. I think that what needs to be left behind are the attitudes that are anti-Torah such as not having enough bitochon or putting our trust only our own efforts rather than Hashem.