Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Creating Chidushei Torah is a Daily Obligation

Maybe you don't think "shocking" or "riveting" when you think "Mishna Brura".  After all, we all basically know halacha and the we just need the Mishna Brura once in a while when we call R' Fuerst and he gives us a reference instead of an answer.  I hate to burst your bubble (not really, I actually really like bursting bubbles, actually), but there are some reasonably startling obligations that the Mishna Brura clarifies.  For me the most surprising -- nay, terrifying -- obligation is to be found in a very unlikely place: hilchos chol ha'mo'ed.  (Like any master author, the Mishna Brura likes to keep you on your toes by never letting you know where you may find a bomb chidush.)  The issue is that writing on chol ha'mo'ed requires a heter.  The Mishna Brura wants to be sure you know it is ok to write chidushei torah (he has no doubt you'll find all the heterim you need for writing checks and surfing the web).  So first he sets you up by pointing out that you could forget a chidush if you don't write it down immediately you could forget the chidush by next week.  "Ein davar avad gadol me'zu" -- there is no greater loss than that, so by the normal heter of "davar ha'avad" writing divrei torah is permitted.  Then the Mishna Brura delivers his knock out punch: but there is a bigger problem, since you are obligated to develop chidushei torah every day, you don't have time to write down your chol ha'mo'ed chidushim the next week because you'll be busy writing down that day's chidushim!

The last two weeks I have been, Barush HaShem, very busy visiting with my children and grandchildren.  That is also a "davar ha'avad" since I don't get the opportunity to see either my children or my grandchildren often enough.  What I did, therefore, was write down notes in outline form of thoughts I had so I wouldn't forget.  What about the imperative to develop new chidushei torah each day?  I find that writing down the thoughts in a coherent enough fashion to be understood always brings about new and deeper insights.  I am starting with this one so you wouldn't think I was just being lazy.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…