Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Ki Seitzei

Passion For Progress

By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch

"Remember what Amalek did to you on the way when you were leaving Egypt ...you shall wipe out the memory of Amakek from under the heaven - you shall not forget." (Devarim/Deuteronomy 25:17,19) Consistent with the maxim that the Torah contains no extra letters, no less extra instructions, the Talmud (Megilla 18a) explains that "remembering" is a physical, verbal expression, versus "not forgetting", which is done in the heart.

No, it is not. Not forgetting is a memory function, something that occurs in the brain, not the heart. How do we understand the Talmud?

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1) reminds us that our nature is that the brain recalls readily that which our heart yearns for passionately. The Torah is instructing us to instill into our heart an appreciation of the corrosive evil of Amalek, an evil that allowed them to attack our forebears in the wilderness - even though they knew they would be decimated in battle - simply to demonstrate that G-d's Chosen People were not untouchable. Once we understand that the human is capable of such depravity, and this knowledge shakes us to our core, we will be vigilant to guard ourselves from such degeneracy and, perforce, we will not forget Amalek.

Similar, notes Rabbi Feinstein, is the basis of the teaching of Rabbi Dostai bar Yannai in the name of Rabbi Meir (Pirkei Avos/Ethics of the Fathers 3:10): Whoever forgets anything of his Torah learning, Scripture considers as if he bears guilt for his soul, as it says, "But beware and guard your soul exceedingly lest you forget the things your eyes have seen." (Devarim/Deuteronomy 4:9) How can we be culpable for failing to remember? We should have such a passion to instill the truths of Torah into the depths of our heart until the totality of our bodies and souls yearn for Torah and mitzvah fulfillment. With such a yearning, forgetting would be impossible.

We find ourselves more than a week into the month of Elul. For a week the shofar has been blown every morning, calling us to wake up and return to G- d and His mitzvos. But we have done this already, last year, two years ago, and the year before that... How can we make this year different? Maybe the problem is not WHAT we decide to improve, but HOW we decide to improve.

A laborer who toiled from morning till night for his daily bread once asked Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, founder of the Mussar (2) movement: since he only had ten or fifteen minutes a day to dedicate to Torah study, to what realm in Torah should he dedicate himself? Rabbi Salanter encouraged him to learn Mussar, for if he toiled in Mussar for those fifteen minutes he would discover that he, indeed, had much more time available for Torah study.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) 1895-1986; Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem in New York City; leading Halachic/Jewish legal decisor of his time and one of the principal leaders of Torah Jewry through much of the last century

(2) introspective study of Jewish ethics, with a focus on self application and improvement


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies · 5007 West Keefe Avenue · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

"Now I Have Someone To Blame" – That's Just The Beginning
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

The Simile of the Dust of the Earth
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

The Light of Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Kedusha of Galus - Thinking in Parallel
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Getting What You Pay For
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5767

To Achieve Your Goals and not Cause Jealousy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

> Analyzing The Imagery of A Familiar Chanukah Poem
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Suffering From Success
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

I Did Not Know
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

ArtScroll

'Mehadrin' - An Understanding of the Concept
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Chanukah Oil: A Real No-Know
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Why Eight Days?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Leaving Ya’akov For Yisroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Leaving... a Good Impression
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Tithing All His Possessions
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

A Double Loss!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information