The Parasha begins with the words אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ, if you will walk in my statutes. The Baal HaTurim (Devarim 11:27; See Tanchuma Re’eh 4) points out that the blessings commence with the letter א and culminates with the letter ת, which teaches us that the Jewish People receive HaShem’s blessings from Aleph to Taf, i.e. from beginning to end. We can suggest, however, an alternative explanation for the letters א and ת. Rashi here writes that the Torah’s charge of אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ is that we should toil in Torah. Yet, we know that one is not always guaranteed success by just merely opening a Sefer and studying Torah. One must also pray that HaShem open his heart to Torah, as we recite in our prayers the words פְּתַח לִבִּי בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ, open my heart in Your Torah. Prayer is referred to by the Gemara (Brachos 6b) as something that stands in the heights of the world yet is belittled by people. The word אֶת normally connotes something secondary or tangential. Thus, when we say that one should keep the Torah from א to ת, we mean to say that he should pray for Divine Assistance to be able to study and understand Torah properly. It is noteworthy that the words פותח לב, open the heart, equals in gematria the word בתפילה. Thus, one must be cognizant that along with Torah study comes heartfelt Tefillah.
The story is told (www.matzav.com) that the Detroit Rosh yeshiva, Rav Leib Bakst zt”l, told his talmidim about the time that Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk was learning with his chavrusah and they were unable to satisfactorily understand a Tosafos. As hard as they tried, they were unable to figure out p’shat. After a few hours of hard work, Rav Meir Simcha said, “Let’s pause for a moment and daven that we merit love of Torah.”
“Why pray for love of Torah?” the chavrusah asked in surprise. “If we are going to daven, shouldn’t our request be to understand the Torah, as we ask every morning, וְהָאֵר עֵינֵינוּ בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ, and illuminate our eyes with Your Torah?”
Rav Meir Simcha responded with a parable.
“A mother left her toddler with a babysitter, and the child became very fussy, crying and crying, refusing to calm down. The babysitter offered him all sorts of treats and toys, to no avail. Then the mother came home and the baby suddenly stopped screaming. The mother lifted her baby who began to smile without any inducements. Why did that happen? It was because the baby missed his mother and wanted her presence.
“What did she do differently than the babysitter? Nothing. It was simply that her love for her child was so intense that they were like one entity. She was so attached to her child that she understood his cries. Is he hungry? Is he wet? Is he in pain? She knew right away.
“Similarly,” concluded Rav Meir Simcha, “if we love the Torah properly, we become connected to it in such a deep way that if we apply ourselves, we will understand its teachings. That’s why I said that we should daven for ahavas haTorah.”
HaShem should allow us to merit the love of Torah study and grant us the willingness to pray for understanding His Holy Torah!
חזק חזק ונתחזק!
Have a Torah and Tefillah Filled Shabbos!
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Have a wonderful Shabbos!
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