Last week we explained that humans are created unaware of G-d’s infinite presence so that they can earn schar by using bechira to independently come to a recognition of G-d. Humans are created b’tzelem Elokim, which R’ Tzadok interprets as humans possessing the creative capacity to change the world. This week we discussed the enigmatic gemara (Sanhedrim 99) which darshens the pasuk “adam l’amal yulad”. What type of ameilus are humans charged with? - the gemara debates whether it is ameilus of work or speech, and after concluding it is ameilus of speech debates whether it is speech of sicha or Talmud Torah, concluding it is the latter. Why is ameilus so critical to mankind’s existence? “Adam rotzeh b’kav shelo yoseir m’tisha kabin shel chaveiro”, a person desires one portion of his own more than nine portions of his fellow (Bava Kamma 38). Rashi explains that the one's own portion provides more pleasure because it has been earned through ameilus. Ameilus thus is the key to fulfiiling humankind's mission of earning schar and removing the stigma of nahama d’kisufa (see Michtav m’Eliyahu III:13). Anu ameilim u’mekablom schar – it is precisely because we engage in ameilus, which creates this sense of ownership, that our reward is called schar and not nahama d’kisufa. The debate of the gemara in Sanhedrin seen in this light is a debate over the mechanism by which mankind expresses the creative energy of being tzelem Elokim and acheiving this goal. Does our independence express itself only in the way we physically transform the world, or is its ultimate expression when we engage in Talmud Torah? We saw a distinction (see Sefas Emes 5640) between the attitude of the generations leading to Noach, who focussed on engaging in the physical building of the world, and the approach of Avraham Avinu, whose focus became ameilus in Torah.
For those who can attend the chaburah, we will IY”H this week finish discussing the significance of ameilus b’torah in this light, and discuss how Torah itself has a transformative effect even on the physical world. For a sneak preview, see the Ishbitza’s (vol 2) answer to the famous question of why Avraham did not perform milah before receiving the mitzvah. NEW TIME: Friday, 8:00, Tiferes Tzvi Yeshiva Minyan, 26 Columbia Ave. in Cedarhurst.