Torah has the power to protect those who study it, yet the land of Israel destroyed [during the time of the destruction of the Temple]? Why didn’t the Torah study guard the Jewish people? This question was posed to the Sages, to the Prophets, and the heavenly servants, and no one could answer. Finally Hashem answered this question – although the Jewish people were studying Torah, in essence they abandoned it when they failed to recite the blessing on the Torah first” (Nedarim 81a).
The Talmud specifies that this severe punishment was meted out because they did not recite the blessing first. This implies that they said really said the blessings on the Torah but did not say them before all of the other blessings with all of the other ones, but did not say it first. Why should the blessing on Torah be recited before any of the other ones?
Torah is more than another branch of knowledge; it is the life sustaining force of a Jew. When studying Torah, it should be with an excitement and zest that Torah is the focal point of our lives. We give expression to this feeling by reciting the blessings on Torah as soon as we wake up, before the other blessings of the morning (with the exclusion of three that we must say immediately, see first article).
Torah distinguishes us from all of the other nations of the world. The blessings before studying Torah help us to appreciate the exclusive status that Hashem bestowed upon us.
Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org