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.


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: 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: 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…