I was always bothered by the statement in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 24a) regarding the verse that states (Eicha 3:6) במחשכים הושיבני כמתי עולם, He placed me in darkness like the dead of the world. The Gemara interprets this to be referring to Talmud Bavli. The simple explanation is that the study of Gemara is challenging and one can feel like he is groping in the darkness, attempting to glean meaning and understanding from the cryptic words of the Gemara. Yet, Torah is our lifeblood, so why would the Gemara state that Torah study places a person in darkens? This week I read in the Sefer Emunas Yisroel from Rav Moshe Wolfson, Shlita, Mashgiach of Torah Vodaas, a penetrating insight into Torah study and life in general. Rav Wolfson cites Sefarim that say that the word אָרוֹן , Ark, is similar to the word, אורן, meaning light. Rav Wolfson then suggests that this is the meaning of the Gemara’s enigmatic statement. While Torah is certainly light, one who is engaged in other pursuits and muddles his mind with foreign matter will most likely feel lost when studying Torah. Why is this so, I wonder? Should not one who sits down and opens a Gemara instantly be drawn to the Infinite light of HaShem and His Torah, such as is told of the Sages of yesteryear? The answer to this question is that while Torah is pure light, one cannot expect to walk in off the street, sullied with sin and influenced by the decadent society, and expect a metamorphosis to the point that his misdeeds won’t impede his ability to learn. Indeed, the Ramban in the beginning of this week’s parasha tells us that the focus of the Mishkan was the Aron, where the Luchos resided. We also find reading the laws of Kodoshim, sacrifices, that one would perform various procedures facing the Kodesh HaKodoshim, the Holy of Holies. The Aron, where the Torah reposed, was and is the focus of the world. One must remain focused on Torah study and only then can he attain the true light that is contained in the Aron and in the Torah.
HaShem should allow us to merit this great light and in the merit of our focused Torah study, we will merit the fulfillment of the words that we recite daily in our Shacharis prayers, אוֹר חָדָשׁ עַל צִיּוֹן תָּאִיר, וְנִזְכֶּה כֻלָּנוּ בִּמְהֵרָה לְאוֹרוֹ, You will shine a new light upon Tziyon, and we shall all merit soon its light.
Have a deLIGHTful Shabbos!