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By: Rabbi Eli Wayntraub

The Medrash in the beginning of Parshas Bechukosai quotes a pasuk from Tehillim - עדותיך אל רגלי ואשיבה דרכי חשבתי .The Medrash darshens that Dovid Hamelech said, “Ribono Shel Olam, every day I plan on going to makom ploni, to beis dira plonis, but, “my legs take me to the beis medrash.” Why would Dovid Hamelech say such a thing, and what is the Medrash trying to teach us?


The Sefarim Hakedoshim tell us that Dovid Hamelech is the Melech Yisroel for all of the generations. When he wrote Tehillim he had all of us in mind, and that’s why whenever a person has a tzarah, he runs to say Tehillim. He knew that before Moshiach there will be so much bil-bul in the world, that all people will want to do is to run after gashmius. People will get up in the morning, and the first thing they’ll think about is their gashmius. The Medrash is telling us that even in this generation it’s still possible to get to the darga that “my legs take me to the beis medrash”.  The Gemara in Eiruvin says that the perfect example of someone who had ahavas haTorah is Rebbi Elozer Ben P’dus who would learn Torah in the shuk hatachton shel Tzipori and his cloak would be in the shuk ha’elyon shel Tzipori. He was so involved in his learning that he absent-mindedly left his coat behind. This is something that we’re all familiar with. Just look at the coat rack in shul and see how many coats and umbrellas are left there. This is a pretty common occurrence. Perhaps the Gemara should have brought a more unique and impressive example. Maybe about how Hillel sat on the roof of the beis medrash in the snow in order to hear divrei Torah, or about how Rava was so involved in his learning that he didn’t realize that he was sitting on his fingers, causing them to bleed. In order to explain this Gemara we need to ask the following question: why was R’ Elozer Ben P’dus learning Torah in the shuk? Why wasn’t he learning in the beis medrash or in the Yeshiva? Perhaps he was in the shuk trying to make a livelihood, or doing his shopping. The Gemara is teaching us that it’s one thing to be able to have ahavas haTorah when one is sitting in the beis medrash surrounded by people all trying to figure out pshat in Tosafos, but it’s a whole different darga to be able to do mundane things in the shuk and still be so connected to Torah. We’re living in a generation of bilbul hadaas. All that people care about is physical enjoyments and gashmius. We’re living in one big shuk shel Tzipori. How can we come to the level of ahavas haTorah of Dovid Hamelech and R’ Elozer Ben P’dus in our generation?

Rav Dessler writes that the word ‘ahavah’ comes from the root ‘hav’ which means to give. He explains that love is created by giving, and that’s why a parent loves his child more than the child loves his parent. The parent gives more to the child than the child gives to the parent. If we want to come to ahavas haTorah we need to give to the Torah. How can we give to the Torah? We can give from our time and effort.  We tend to run away from things that are difficult for us. If we would put in the extra effort for the Torah, even when it’s especially hard, that would generate more ahavah towards the Torah. The more we give the more we love. This explains a difficulty in the Medrash quoted above. The lashon of the passuk ,רגלי ואשיבה , literally means that Dovid Hamelech did something on his own - he actually brought his feet to the beis medrash - while the lashon of the drasha, אותי מוליכות רגלי ,is mashma that it happens by itself. First, like Dovid Hamelech, one has to put in his own effort, which creates ahavah, and that brings cheishek which leads to אותי מוליכות רגלי לבית מדרש.  One could ask - why are we celebrating Kabalas HaTorah on Shavuos? The luchos harishonos that we got on Shavuos were lost. If anything, our kabalas haTorah is on Yom Kippur when we got the luchos shnios. While it’s true that we lost the אמת תורת לנו ונתן of Shavuos, we still have the בתוכנו נטע עולם וחיי of Shavuos - this that we are rooted in the Torah. The fact that Torah is the ikar in our lives we get from Shavuos. Both Yom Kippur and Shavuos are considered y’mei hadin. On Yom Kippur we are judged on how much we keep the ,אמת תורת לנו ונתן meaning how much we are mekayim the Torah. However on Shavuos we are judged on how much we keep the בתוכנו נטע עולם וחיי , on how much we are really rooted in the Torah. The same way that Chazal tell us that on Yom Kippur we are judged שם הוא באשר ,in the present state, so too on Shavuos we are judged in the present state. This Shavuos may ‘The Kadosh Baruch Hu’ help us be mechazek ourselves like Dovid Hamelech. May we be connected to Torah like R’

Elozar Ben P’dus - to be fully rooted in Torah, and be zoche to come to true ahavas haTorah and cheishek haTorah.




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