Shabbat Hagadol

Shabbat Hagadol

I know someone who hates to be around me because he feels that it stifles him. Whenever he is at my house he says to his wife that he wants to go home. He wants to eat a ham sandwich and watch a football game. I was once at his house and he was kind enough to partake of the ham in front of me. His excuse is that he wants to be free to do as he pleases.

Is this man really free? He is enslaved to all of his desires. If you always do as you please your are not realy free.

On Passover the Jews were freed from slavery. Soon after they were freed they were commanded to serve G-d. The most difficult commandment given by the Torah is to constantly study Torah. Some say that you should do nothing other than study it.

Why was the Torah given in the desert? The Midrash answers that it is to demonstrate that just as the desert is not sown or worked so a person who studies Torah will be freed from labor.

We are told another story. Once a learned man was on a ship. His comrades asked him what he is selling. He told them that it is a secret. They searched the ship high and low and could not find anything. Pirates soon attacked the ship and stole everything. The men swam ashore to a small island in the sea.

The learned man found the local synagogue and started teaching. The residents gave him clothing and food and appointed him their mayor.

Yehoshua was commanded to study Torah constantly. Lo Yamush Sefer Hatorah Hazeh Mipicha – Do not stop having the words of Torah on your lips! The Midrash (Taneh deveh Eliyahu) tells us that if Yehushua who studied Torah with Moshe Rabbienu was commanded to study all the time. Even more so a regular person should always study.

You should dedicate at least three hours a day to study Torah. This will give you real freedom. Dedicating your self to Torah study is the most enlightening endeavor you can do. It is more important than any of the other pleasures of life which vie for your time.

Let this Passover be the beginning of true freedom through studying Torah