Devar Torah - V'Eschanan

Thursday, 26 July, 2018 - 10:03 pm

What is truly New and Exciting?? 

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

In the sixth aliyah of this week’s parsha of Ve’eschanan within the parsha of the Shema the Torah states: “These words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart.”  

“The Sifri (Ve’eschanan 93) explains the reason that Moshe adds the word Hayom, this day, as if he were commanding all the commandments on that day for the first time. This means that the mitzvos should forever be something fresh in our minds. We should not relate to them as something deja vu, something which has lost its freshness and therefore its appeal. It should always be like some new decree the depth of which we have not yet explored. You should view them as if you had received them from Mount Sinai only this day” (Rabbenu Bachaya)

In Likutei Torah (In the maamar “Tzion b’Mishpat”) the Alter Rebbe asks how commandments such as Krias Shema, Tefillin etc. can feel new every day if they are the same and seemingly unchanging. (When it comes to Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur we see an outpouring of emotion but for an average “V’Hu Rachum” for Maariv nightly we don’t see the same excitement even though the  “V’Hu Rachum” (which contains Krias Shema) reaches a higher level than Kol Nidrei.)

Chassidus provides the answer.

When I was in yeshiva in France in 5735-1975 studying under R. Nisan I took note of his approach to saying Krias Shema in Tefillin before Chassidus in the morning. Every day R. Nisan would slowly and carefully, patiently and with much effort take 20 minutes to say the three paragraphs of the Shema...every day! As he stood there, rubbing his head, working in out with such toil and tenacity I realized what it means that the mitzvos should forever be something fresh in our minds, that every mitzvah is “These words, which I command you this day” and that they “shall be upon your heart. 

On an average Wednesday night the Rebbe Rashab once said to the Previous Rebbe: “This Wednesday night never was before and will never be again (meaning that every day is truly unique). The great opportunity that a neshama down in this world has to perform mitzvos even a neshama in Gan Eden pleasuring from a ray of the Shechina does not have. A neshama in Gan Eden would give it all away, all for one tzitza or to give a kiss to a Sefer Torah down in this world. This opportunity to have the direct connection with Hashem is only achieved through the Torah and mitzvos of this world. It is so special because Hashem has given it to us and it is for this that we were created.

The Alter Rebbe explains that this awareness, that the Torah and mitzvos are  so special because Hashem gave it to us, “Which I command you (literally ‘mitzavcha’ meaning connected with you) this day” is the source of of simcha and inspiration that makes the Torah and mitzvos new every day.

Since Hashem is infinite and beyond time and space, being connected with Hashem draws down Hashem’s presence from beyond time and space into our daily experience within time and space. This is the source and feeling of newness that comes with each and every day that we apply ourselves similar in our own way as R. Nisan did in his way.

Chassidus provides the insight so that we eventually come to realize that the Torah is speaking not to someone else or some other generation but to us, here and now, directly. Chassidus with avodah is not a subject or a philosophy, it’s life itself.

I am calling out to all of our youth to say that we don’t need to take trips to far away lands or to do other things to look for excitement and variety because it is truly found within Chassidus Chabad in the greatest possible way. All it needs is our participation. The Rebbe is welcoming all of us with open arms. We open our arms in return when we take “These words, which I command you this day” and place them on our hearts. With this may we merit the revelation of Moshiach now.

A Good Shabbos

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