Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Surrounding Yourself, Imbibing Into Yourself, and Immersing Yourself Into Torah and Mitzvos

I am learning Mishna Brura with a bachur in Telshe; we are learning straight through from the beginning, including every Biur Halacha.  We started at his request when he realized that he actually needs to know halacha just to live and (being a teenager) he doesn't necessarily pay as much attention as he should for the 20 minutes a day of halacha after breakfast.  I also need to know halacha just to live, so it's a good match.

We just got to hilchos tzitzis and learned that part of the mitzvah is to have kavana for the purpose of the mitzvah.  Usually we don't need that, but the Torah tells us the purpose: l'ma'an tizk'ru -- in order to remember to do Torah and mitzvos.  (This is not "mitzvah tricha kavana" discussion; this is actually part and parcel of the mitzvah.)  I mentioned (being a show off) that t'fillin and sukkah also each have their own required kavana.  He said, "T'fillin?  What kavana do I need for that?"  I said, "You'll see when we get there."  He said, "I need to know before tomorrow morning."  Darn kids.  Me and my big mouth.  (Actually it was a bit embarrassing that I couldn't tell him right off... after all, I also had to know before the next morning and actually should have known that morning.  Sigh...)  In order to be better prepared, I am writing a short summary for myself.  To whit:

As mentioned, the required kavana by tzitzis is l'ma'an tizk'ru es kol mitzvosai v'asisem osam -- in order to remember all of HaShem's mitzvos and to do them.  By t'filin: l'ma'an t'hi'yeh Toras HaShem b'ficha -- in order that the Torah of HaShem should be in your mouth; ie, your intellect, mind, and desires should all be bound to fulfilling HaShem's Torah.  By sukkah: l'ma'ad yeidu doroseichem -- in order that you and all of your descendents should know HaShem and His relationship with them.

Interestingly, it seems that to remember to do the mitzvos only requires surrounding yourself with reminders.  Keeping your mind on task and desires in control requires imbibing the torah and making it part of you.  To pass our great and precious heritage on to the subsequent generations requires immersing yourself totally in Torah and Mitzos.

I hope that helps me to stay on track tomorrow morning.  By the way, at the rate we are learning, it looks like we should be making a siyum in 5805 or thereabouts.  You are all, bli neder, invited.  Should be quite a party.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…