Thursday, December 26, 2013

376 - Shavuos

Regarding the importance of setting aside time every day for Torah learning, Rav Wolbe (Igros U'kesavim vol. II pg. 144) wrote the following insight in a letter:

"I was happy to read in your letter that not only did you find a job, you also set aside time for learning with a chavrusa. Daily learning is so crucial for a person, that even if he doesn't always taste the beauty of the Torah, he must nevertheless make an effort to learn every single day in order to ensure that he retains his identity. It is essential to preserving one's identity, not just as a ben Torah or a Jew, but simply as a human being! One who, chas v'shalom, doesn't set aside time to learn will quickly find himself in a position (such as that mentioned in Koheles), 'And man's superiority over a beast is nil!' This is something which requires constant effort and strengthening."

In the following letter, he writes in a similar vein: "There is something else that I wanted to tell you: I am involved with a couple in which the husband has become increasingly short-tempered, and his behavior is seriously affecting his wife, his children and the whole atmosphere in the house. His wife commented that the winter actually started off very well, and it is only recently that things turned sour. Why was the beginning of the winter any different? The answer is because he had a set chavrusa in the mornings. As the winter progressed, they had to put their session on hold for a while and they didn't succeed in getting back to their learning session at all.

"How much did he learn to begin with? One day he learned an hour, one day a half an hour, one day he couldn't make it and one day his chavrusa couldn't make it; yet, they had a designated time for learning. This alone was enough to change his demeanor and make him less irritable!

"You aren't irritable by nature. You are a very emotional person and sometimes your emotions erupt. Yet, you are also balanced and you know how to control yourself. However, since you stopped learning, your moods have been intensifying. These moods of yours are 'lifting you up on their waves like a ship that is storm struck' and you are becoming more and more irritable. The segulah of learning is that it strengthens one's rational thinking thereby enabling one to keep his moods and emotions in check.

"One doesn't have to be a masmid to see these results. As long as he has some sort of structured seder, and learns even a small amount of time (as was the case with the husband above) he will see the effects of his learning!"

The segulos of Torah are infinite. From Rav Wolbe's letters we get a glimpse of some of these benefits. We see how setting aside time daily drastically changes a person's behavior to his benefit and the benefit of all those around him! If we don't have a set time for learning, now is the time to designate one. If we have already designated time we must ensure that the time is utilized properly thereby allowing us to gain the most from our Torah study!

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