Thursday, May 21, 2015

472 - Rav Wolbe's Tenth Yahrzeit

Pirkei Avos begins, "Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Yehoshua and Yehoshua transmitted it to the Elders." How is this introduction germane to the rest of the Avos which deals entirely with middos and ethics? Rav Wolbe (Daas Shlomo) quotes Rav Yeruchom Levovitz's answer to this question. Chazal are informing us that one should not think that when he acquires Torah that it is to remain a personal acquisition. The Torah he learns must be transmitted to others.

This idea is so essential, says Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash, Bereishis 6:18), that it should be conveyed to boys as soon as they enter Yeshiva. They must be cognizant that all the Torah they acquire in their years in Yeshiva should be shared with Klal Yisrael. A grandson related that when he entered Rav Wolbe's Yeshiva at the age of seventeen, Rav Wolbe handed him a copy of The Jewish Observer, and told him to read the article written by Rav Pam about the spiritual holocaust taking place in America. When he finished reading the article, his grandfather asked him, "What are you going to do about this?" He was only seventeen at the time, but Rav Wolbe felt it important to instill in him a sense of achrayus (responsibility) toward the klal. 

We don't live in a bubble. Chazal tell us that "kol Yisrael areivim zeh la'zeh" - every Jew is responsible for the deeds of all other Jews. There are so many Jews that know nothing about Judaism, and the responsibility to teach them lies upon us. Rav Wolbe once asked a grandson if he volunteers for Lev L'achim, an organization in Israel which sends avreichim around non religious neighborhoods where they knock on doors and ask the residents if they are interested in learning about Judaism. The grandson answered in the negative and excused himself by stating that as an American, he is uncomfortable speaking the Hebrew language. He then asked Rav Wolbe if he should move back to America to enable him to do kiruv in his mother tongue. "Maybe," responded Rav Wolbe. The achrayus one needs to feel for the klal might be great enough to make the life altering decision of picking up and moving to a different continent!

Why not invite a neighbor for Shabbos, join Partner's in Torah or ask a colleague if they are interested in a weekly study session. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that many people are genuinely interested in finding out more about their heritage. You don't have to be a kiruv professional to teach a non-affiliated Jews. Any religious Jew knows so much more than his secular counterpart. How can you keep all your knowledge bottled up when there are Jews thirsting for a few drops of spirituality? Take the initiative today and make a change in someone else's life. This is the very first lesson of Pirkei Avos and it is the mantra of all our great leaders throughout the generations.

Gut Yom Tov!

No comments: