Torah: Our Most Precious Gift

Rabbi's Thoughts
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You are about to read a powerful tale that my chavrusah, Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Blinder, heard from Rav David Yosef shlita during a visit to Miami.

Rav David Yosef merited to study late at night b’chavrusah with his late father, Chacham Ovadia Yosef ztk”l. Their nightly learning seder commenced approximately 10:30 p.m. Night after tonight the two shared a similar routine where Rav David stood beside his phone waiting for his father to dial, signaling that it was time to make his way to the Har Nof apartment complex where his devoted parents lived. One evening on his way inside the apartment door, Rav David overheard his mother questioning her husband, “How come every single night when it is time to dial David you search for his phone number in the phonebook? You have memorized the entire Shas in addition to the Torah in its entirety, so why aren’t you able to make a mental note of your son's phone number? In good humor Rav Ovadia pledged to have the number locked in by the following evening. Upon once again entering his parents residence the next night, Rav David inquired of his mother if his father had mastered memorizing his number. Not surprisingly, his mother affirmed suspicions that once again his father turned to the phonebook to locate the number. As he retold the story, Rav David explained, “To my father, all that mattered was Torah; to him it was the only thing in our world where memorization had value and this was the only resource that was worthwhile to occupy one’s mind.”

When Klal Yisrael accepted the Torah, we declared, “נעשה ונשמע” – we accepted its inner workings wholeheartedly prior to even knowing what was entailed. However, a short time later,

Hashem lifted Har Sinai over our heads, forcing us to accept the Torah (Shabbos 88a).

The question begs why such a measure was necessary, as we had already willingly taken upon ourselves its laws.

The Maharal explained that Hashem exhibited force since only then does one grasp something’s incredible importance. The Almighty was showing His children that the Torah cannot just be accepted simply because of newfound inspiration, yet tomorrow potentially be rejected when the excitement wears off. Hashem ensured that the bnei Yisrael were acutely aware of how absolutely critical the Torah would be to our lives and essential to our existence; we literally cannot live without its contents. Lifting the mountain over our heads pushed this cause “forcing” an acceptance of the Torah and a comprehension of its vital position in our life.

As we head towards Shavuot, let us think about the ever important role Torah plays in our daily lives, and moreover the purpose and mission that the Torah provides for the Jewish nation here in this world. Torah is the key to navigating every relationship, and challenge no matter its level of difficulty. Stop, and like Rav Ovdia recognize the indescribable value that Torah plays in our lives.

Rabbi Yaakov Moskowitz is a motivational speaker who has inspired Jews around the world through his engaging lectures and videos on a wide array of practical Jewish topics. To receive Rabbi Moskowitz’s short clips, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.