Thursday, August 08, 2019

the torah of Eretz Yisrael

1. On 9 Av: My wife had an interesting thought on the connection between Yitzchak Avinu and 9 Av here.

2. B'eiver ha'Yarden b'eretz Moav ho'il (Rashi: hischil) Moshe be'eir es haTorah ha'zos...

What does the pasuk mean when it says that at that point Moshe started to explain the Torah?  Hadn't he been teaching Torah for the past 40 years?  (See post here).

Moshe was now standing in Eiver haYarden, which, if it is not Eretz Yisrael proper (see Meshech Chochma at the beginning of next week's parsha), is the front door to Eretz Yisrael.  Explains Sefas Emes, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael is a completely different Torah than the Torah of chu"l.  Our understanding of the dvar Hashem contained within Torah, the spirituality that is revealed when one learns Torah, is completely different when one learns in Eretz Yisrael.  Therefore, although Moshe had been teaching Torah for 40 years, this was a new start and a fresh beginning.

When the gemara (Taanis 5) tells us that galus is the biggest bitul Torah, it's not just because it's hard to learn when you suffer pogroms and persecution.  You can be living in luxury in the 5 Towns or Englewood or some other American suburb and it's still a galus of bitul Torah because whatever you learn, it in no way compares to the Torah of Eretz Yisrael -- the cheftza shel Torah is a qualitatively different cheftza shel Torah.  The spiritual plumbing in galus is blocked up and the shefa cannot flow down in the same way.  Just ask any high school kid who when he graduated could barely read a pasuk and now after shanah beit or gimel or however many years in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael he now is a transformed person and can immerse himself in a sugya.   

Everybody asks why is it that in the haggadah shel Pesach we don't answer the ben rasha -- "af atah hakhei es shinav" the haggadah tells us -- but if you look at the pesukim in the Torah, the chumash does offer an answer: "V'haya ki yomru aleichem bneichem mah ha'avodah ha'zos lachem, v'amartem zevach pesach hu la'Hashem..."  Rav Moshe Avigdor Amiel in his Derashos el Ami (derush 25 p 255) explains that the answer lies in the beginning of that pasuk: "V'haya ki tavo el ha'aretz... u'shemartem es ha'avodah ha'zos..."  When we are living in Eretz Yisrael, when we have a Mikdash and are offering a korban pesach, then we have the kelim to answer and respond to a ben rasha.  We have the torah of Eretz Yisrael to offer him.  But when we are living in galus, as the ba'al ha'hagadah was, as we see from the story of R' Eliezer and R' Akiva and the other zekeinim who were learning in hiding in Bnei Brak, then all we have is "hakhei es shinav." 

On 9 Av we still have a lot of mourning to do.  We still await a Mikdash, we still await the full hashra'as haShechina in Eretz Yisrael.  But when we get up in the afternoon and start thinking about nechama, let's also remember that we live in a generating privileged to once again taste the flavor of the torah of Eretz Yisrael, as the process of our return and redemption has begun. 

1 comment:

  1. only Yitzchak Avinu never left the land; this was the new Torah level that Moshe began to teach, the madreiga of Yitzchak (later, similarly, Rav Zeira rose from Bavel to Yisrael, Bava Metzia 85a);

    this level must include Yitzchak's own Eisav*, whose cry, 27:38, passed over to his brother, with Rome's destruction of the second Temple

    {and why, regarding the binding of Yitzchak on the mountaintop, did Avraham tell his two staffers, 22:5, to sit** with the donkey? so that they should be like "the ba'al koreh [who] sits on the floor" (DC July 26 '15)***: Avraham would return to find others in a pseudo-state of grief, remotely befitting his coming emotion}

    *mei'choreiv, derech har-sei'ir (1:2)

    **at his return, we see them stand (22:19)

    ***or to show us that Avraham, ish ha'chesed, even when facing extreme stress, thinks of the ease of his helpers ('relax here with the donkey until we return...')