Friday, June 3, 2022

A Holy Experience

As we celebrate the holiday of Shavuos, it is worth reflecting on the significance of this date and its impact on the Jewish People in particular and the world in general. Shavuos is the anniversary that G-d revealed the blueprint for humanity to live a life with the utmost holiness and Godliness on this mundane earth. G-d revealed this blueprint to us in what is known as the Torah. It is hard to overstate how transformative this transmission was to the Jewish People. The Torah unlocks the ability of a mortal being and allows him to live a life of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. The Torah enables the Jew to infuse spirituality and purpose into the most mundane and physical activities. The Torah has empowered the Jew to connect with the Divine even in the world's darkest moments and find that light in an increasingly dark world. In his book Derech Hashem, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (1707-1746) writes, G-d created many spiritual manifestations in this world with His presence. However, one embodiment is more compelling and more intense than any other in this world. This manifestation of Godliness and holiness that one connect is more profound and superior than any other experience. Rabbi Luzatto writes that this manifestation can only be found through Torah Study. That is another explanation of the famous words of the sages, ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם or the Study of Torah is equivalent to them all. I found this interpretation mindblowing and refreshing at the same time. It provides an entirely new and refreshing perspective on the power of Torah study. The conventional understanding of the purpose of Torah Study is to accumulate knowledge. For example, for one to know how to put Tefilin on his arm, he must study and be knowledgeable in the laws of Tefilin. However, there is an entire another dimension that is entirely different and transcendent about Torah Study. It is the ability of a mortal being in this mundane world to have a connection with Godliness and holiness that will touch his soul to the core. For this reason, it is meaningful for our souls to study sections of the Torah that we have studied before, i.e., the weekly Parsha, or to explore areas of the Torah that may have little practical relevance. The truth is the connection to Godliness and holiness our souls connect with during this experience is so profound that it matters little what the topic is or how relevant the Talmudic discourse may be for the participants in the class. אשרינו מה טוב חלקינו Fortunate is our lot in life that we have the gift of Torah! As we celebrate the Yom Tov of Shavuos, let us reflect on this unparalleled opportunity of spiritual experiences that the Torah offers us in the jungle of this mundane world. Have a Peaceful Shabbos and Yom Tov, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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