Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Olam Haba -- Guaranteed

Some people say it every day, but we all say it at least once a week:
tana d'vei eliyahu: kol hashoneh halachos bechol yom, muvtach lo sh'hu ben olam haba -- It was taught in the yeshiva of Eliyahu (that's right, Elijah the prophet; a prophet doesn't come out of nowhere you know) all who learn halachos every day are guaranteed membership in the world to come.
R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, z"tzl, notes with some surprise that the tana is giving an open guarantee for olam haba.  Not an eitza tova (good advice), a guarantee.  Note, by the way, that the word is "halachos"; plural.  Because of this, the vasikin minyan learns two halachos each day; before or after davening, depending on time of year.  (I've heard that other minyan do the same; that is to say, I've heard that there are other minyanim and I assume they do the same.)  Besides the guarantee, the wording is interesting.  It doesn't say "oseh torah u'mitzvos" or even  "oseik ba'torah"; simply "shone halachos" -- review Jewish law.

The key is in the proof text (Chabakuk 3:6):
sh'ne'emar, "halichos olam lo" (the ways/manners of the world are His); al tikra "halichos" ele "halachos" (don't read "ways/manners", rather read "Jewish laws")
That certainly clears things up, eh?  The normal way that people interact with each other really belongs to HaShem, so change the vocalization a bit and say "Jewish law"; which proves that one who learns halacha (sorry, at least two halachos) each day is guaranteed to be a ben olam haba.  Crystal clear.

I heard many years ago that whenever Chazal tell you to read a word differently, they are telling you what the author's underlying intent was and that the word used is to be understood as an explanation of the word Chazal say to read instead.  When Chabakuk says says "halichos olam lo", he really means to say that halacha is much, much more than a list of rules.  Things don't "just happen", things are guided and happen for a purpose.  What is guiding the world?  Halacha.  When you realize that every situation is actually "halacha l'ma'ase" (practical/functioning halacha) and when you review that by regarding everything you learn and experience as halacha, then halacha and halicha merge into one.  There is no learning that is not doing; no doing that is not learning.  At that point you are conducting yourself in HaShem's world as HaShem conducts Himself in your world.

That's a ben olam haba; guaranteed.

Comments

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: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

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…