The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 4 August 2012 / 15 Av 5772

Love and Understanding

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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"How should we pray for Heavenly help in solving this problem?"

The problem at hand was understanding some extremely difficult point made by one of the classic commentaries in the Talmud.

The one faced by this challenge was Rabbi Meir Simcha Hacohen, the rav of the Latvian community of Dvinsk and author of the Ohr Somayach commentary on the Mishneh Torah of Rambam for whom Yeshivat Ohr Somayach is named. He and a study partner had decided to pray for Divine assistance in solving their problem and he now asked his chavruta how he intended to pray.

"I will ask G-d to open my eyes to the wisdom of Torah," came the reply.

"And I," countered Rabbi Meir Simcha, "will pray for a greater love of Torah!"

To his chavrutas query as to how greater love of Torah would help solve their problem, Rabbi Meir offered this explanation:

"It is a common occurrence for a baby to cry for no obvious reason, and all attempts to stop the crying prove unsuccessful. Neither pacifiers nor sweets nor cuddling calm the child. Then the mother walks into the room, takes the baby in her arms and silence prevails. What is the secret? The mother, who has the greatest love for the baby, also has the greatest capacity for understanding its needs. The same applies to us. The more we love the Torah the better we shall be able to understand it."

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