יא. כִּי הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם לֹא נִפְלֵאת הִוא מִמְּךָ וְלֹא רְחֹקָה הִוא:
יב. לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם הִוא לֵאמֹר מִי יַעֲלֶה לָּנוּ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וְיִקָּחֶהָ לָּנוּ וְיַשְׁמִעֵנוּ אֹתָהּ
The Hafess Hayim (who's Hiloula/Yahrzeit it was this week) once encountered an affluent man wearing a beautiful fur coat whose fur he's never seen before. Curious, he walks up to the man and asks him 'I see your fur coat must be of a rare skin, I've never seen anything like it. It must be so warm! May I ask where you acquired such a thing from?' The man answers, 'To be honest, it's not even so warm. Something this valuable is made in a land far away overseas, not everyone can get their hands on a beauty like this, and therefore it's considered a true treasure to have. I only wear it for its prestige.'
Our Torah HaKedoshah is a true beauty, it's a treasure-- except unlike the man's coat which was only attainable from somewhere far away, and only by an elite few, our special Torah can be accessed by anyone and from any place despite its infinite value. HaShem wants us to know, the Torah HaKedoshah is within our reach.
In Parashat Nissavim, Moshe Rabbenu affirms to Benei Yisrael, the Torah is not an intangible force that exists in the Heavens; it is right here! In our hands! The missvot are all in our grasp. We are given the capability and the potential to attain every level the Torah offers to us. We just have to seize it. And look! It is not concealed and it isn't even far away as the pasouk says. It literally exists among us.
HaKadosh Barukh Hu reaffirms this in the Parashah:
HaKadosh Barukh Hu reaffirms this in the Parashah:
14. Rather,[this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.
יד. כִּי קָרוֹב אֵלֶיךָ הַדָּבָר מְאֹד בְּפִיךָ וּבִלְבָבְךָ לַעֲשֹׂתוֹ:
Sometimes, for a college course, I need to access original manuscripts and articles from founding and leading Psychologists in order to strengthen my paper's argument, since they have much authority in the field. If I can use what these Psychologists have to say as my references, then I'm golden. The thing is, it can become very difficult to seize these books sometimes. I would need to see if the book is even available, locate the book, order it to be sent to me, wait a few days for it to circulate and be sent, and then I can finally pick it up. Now the real work begins. Once I do have the book in my hands, it is even more difficult to understand sometimes than the acquisition process. Most of these books have been written in the early 1900's by extremely brilliant authors…. in old English. HaShem Yerahem. Sometimes information found has been disproved or become irrelevant, and I wonder to myself why in the world im stuck here reading this. I rather be davening.
But think about it, isn't it just phenomenal that the Torah was written, not 100 years, but 3,000 years ago and it still makes sense to us? The words of the Torah HaKedoshah are pure Emet, Truth, and have not been disproven. Its content is still completely relevant. Amazing isn't it? And you know what the best part is? There's one sitting right on your shelf (or you probably even have a Torah App on your iphone). You don't have to climb to the Heavens to get a copy.
Moshe Rabbenu warns us not to throw our responsibilities onto another to say 'the Torah is an esoteric and mysterious text that I will never understand. Who can I find to teach it to me, and who even says I will understand its' deep hidden secrets? There is nobody to simplify it for me. I'm not on that level'. Moshe Rabbenun warns us that this attitude is not correct. Especially with the wealth of resources available today, we can all be involved, we can all learn more, we can all do more Missvot. There are no excuses.
Yet we all have an excuse. So think about it. What must be stopping you? Is it your job? Your friends? Your honor? Are you embarrassed? Just remember, THE RELATIONSHIP THAT MATTERS MOST IN THIS WORLD IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HAKADOSH BARUKH HU. All else is secondary. Just focus on doing what is important, what is right, what matters. It is better to look like a fool your ENTIRE life in front of others (but be doing the right thing) than to look like a fool in front of HaShem Yitbarakh for even one moment. We must realize, absolutely everything in our lives comes from HaShem, not from the people that surround us. Do it for Him, there is absolutely no reason not to. HaShem is the Source for all and to Him we must turn. To Him we must be committed.
Let's talk about HaShem and commitment. There are two ways to view our existence in regards to HaKadosh Barukh Hu. Either HaShem exists or He doesn't, right? There are no other possibilities, there is no half deity here. And we know the former is true and that the concept that HaShem exists is more true than it is false. And if He exists, it is one hundred percent (HaShem can't exist only seventy five percent). So we can agree here that HaKadosh Barukh Hu definitely exists. Now, if we know that HaShem FULLY exists, then why is our commitment to Him only PARTIAL? We just rationally proved and agreed that HaKadosh Barukh Hu exists (youdid read this far). Where is my full commitment to Him?
I understand there is a fear of failure here and this may lead us to give up before we even try, and that is completely normal. Just know, if you truly want it and show the effort, HaShem will make it possible for you. Just take the first step. I have personally encountered this Mercy of HaShem Yitbarakh many times. It is said, Pit'hu li petah ke'hudo shel mahat, ve'Ani eftah lakhem pit'ho shel ulam. Open for Me even the smallest hole like that of a needle, and then HaKadosh Barukh Hu will take care of the rest and open for us a large opening like that of a great hall. It just takes a little bit of sincere effort; we don't have to take on the world at once. The greatest part though that it is all available to us.
You have a shiur your can go to, watch, listen to? That's a great way to start. There are also myriads of Sefarim that we can read, including translations of Halakhah books, in order to improve ourselves and our Avodat HaShem. Pick a Missvah and pick a Middah ('character trait') and make it your own.
Just make the commitment-- it's easier and more accessible than you think. It is the Shabbat before Rosh HaShanah. Now is the time.
Parashat Nissavim reassures us, the Torah HaKedoshah is not floating somewhere in the cosmos nor is it trapped between the stratospheres of the sky. My dear friends, our Torah is not hovering in the heavens; it is within our own personal reach. We don't need angels to bring it down for us. I pray HaKadosh Barukh Hu grant us all that extra koah boost we need in order to grasp and to internalize the Kedushah of the Torah and all its teachings. May this renewed commitment to HaKadosh Barukh Hu escort us into the New Year with tremendous Berakhah, Simhah and Hasslahah!
Wishing everybody a wonderful Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorakh! Kol Tuv!Ariellah Samimi