24 Av 5781 / Monday, August 02, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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Our Best Weapon    

Our Best Weapon

What is our strongest weapon against those who want to destroy us? The spiritual energy of the Torah that we accepted at Har Sinai!


As we stand right before the holiday of Receiving the Torah, it is meaningful for every Jew to review our faith in the power of Torah. 

Every time there is a fear of war or other horrors, it is proper to trust in Hashem, and not to become depressed or fearful, but rather to use this as an inspiration to do teshuva and to rectify our deeds. And the main thing is to study more Torah, because the spiritual energy of the Holy Torah is the foremost device that causes the downfall of our enemies who seek to destroy and murder Jews. 

This fundamental concept is found in Sefer Tehillim, the Book of Psalms (122:2), where King David says: “our feet stood within your gates, Yerushalayim”. The Talmud (Makkos  10a)  explains the intent here is that whatever merit King David and the Jewish People had, so that they did not fall victim to their foes in war, was in the merit of the gates of Yerushalayim, where they studied Torah. 

The Chofetz Chaim zt”l gives a parable to explain this: 

In earlier years, firefighters would have one person standing by a well, pumping water into pipes, while other people took hoses attached to those pipes to extinguish the fire at the fire’s source. One could imagine that someone would come to the man who was pumping the water by the well, and ask him why he was not participating with the other firefighters at the scene of the fire actually helping the people who were in danger, rather than standing here so far away from the fire. If the water-drawer was an imbecile, and listened to this man’s suggestion, it is obvious that nobody would be able to fight the fire. 

The moral of the story is that the person who studies Torah is like the water-drawer, because it is in the merit of Torah study that the enemies fall. If in the middle of the war someone came to the Ben Torah and told him, “Why are you sitting here studying Torah in the Yeshivah? Why are you not on the battlefield fighting together with the soldiers?” If the Ben Torah was a fool and listened to this man, he would cut off the power to subdue the enemies in the battle. 

Along these lines, a story is told that some military Generals approached the great Gaon and Tzaddik the Tshebiner Rav zt”l, Rav Dov Berish Weidenfeld, to explain to him how serious the danger of the war was, and why they believed it was necessary to conscript the yeshivah boys into the military. 

The Tshebiner Rav answered them: “Once a man was traveling on a horse-drawn carriage, and in the middle of the journey, it got stuck in mud, and the horses were unable to get the carriage out of the mud to continue their trip. The wagon-driver began to unload the carriage to make it lighter, but it did not help at all. He stopped and thought for a long time, until he realized that the wheels were made of iron and therefore very heavy, and he decided that he could simply remove the wheels and abandon them on the side of the road and continue his travel.” 

The Tshebiner Rav concluded: “This is what you are seeking to do. The entire merit of Jewish continuity is in the merit of the diligent students who study Torah in the yeshivot. If you take off the wheels, the wagon will not be able to move at all!” 

This special power comes specifically through Torah study, as the holy Rebbe  Yissachar  Dov  of Belz zt”l explains that this is why Rashi writes in  Parshat  Bechukosai  (Leviticus/ Vayikra 26:8) that the enemies run away from the Jews in a war in the merit of the many people  who are studying Torah. Rashi does not write the merit of doing mitzvot, because the main power to undermine the power of the enemies is the power of Torah study. 

Torah study is the spiritual weapon that helps us fight also against the forces of the Sitra Achara (side of evil) and the kitrug (prosecuting angels) in the Higher World, which can bring disaster to the Jewish community. Chazal bring (Midrash Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:5) concerning the verse “and the double-edged sword of their mouths in their hands”  (Psalms/Tehillim 149:6), that Torah study is called “the double-edged sword of their mouths”,  because a double-edged sword is able to conquer the enemy that much quicker,  since it can attack from both sides, and the spiritual weaponry of Torah Study defeats  our enemies on both fronts: (1) The physical enemies in This World, (2) The prosecutors  in the Higher World. 

This is hinted to by Yitzchak Avinu’s words (Genesis/Bereishit 27:22): “the voice is the voice of Yaakov and the hands are the hands of Esav”, which our Sages explain to mean that whenever the voice of Yaakov is heard in the Beit Midrash, the hands of Esav cannot conquer him. The fact that the words are repeated “voice… voice” and “hands… hands” hints to the idea that Torah study has a double power, because it conquers two powers of impurity, both those in This World and those in the Higher World. 

This power to constantly be strong in Torah study and to vanquish all of the enemies, is what the Jewish People received immediately upon accepting the Torah on Mount Sinai, as the Midrash explains (Shmot Rabbah 51:8) that the reason why one of the names of Mount Sinai is “Horev” is because it is similar to the word “cherev” (sword), because the power that was given on Sinai was the Torah’s energy which is called a “double-edged sword in their hands”.  

According to this, it is possible to explain what we find in Parshat Yitro, that immediately after we stood to receive the Torah, it is written: “and all the people saw the voices” (Exodus/Shmot 20:15), meaning that the Jewish people were worthy to see the two voices, which is the double energy of the “voice is the voice of Yaakov”, that is contained in the power of the Holy Torah, and this helped to inspire them to have a strong desire to receive and to study all of the Holy Torah directly from the mouth of Moshe  Rabbenu. 

The energy generated by this desire is reawakened every year on Shavuot, which is the season of receiving the Torah. Therefore, it is a wonderful thing to copy this enthusiasm in this proper season, and to accept positive resolutions, and to strengthen our commitment to set aside time to study Torah daily. 

In this merit we will be rescued from all of our enemies, and will bring down only blessings and outpouring of Divine kindness and mercy upon us and upon the entire Jewish People. Amen, so may it be His Will! 


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