If you have not yet signed our Condolence Book please take a moment to do so. The book will be presented to the families of the 73 IDF Soldiers killed in last week's tragic crash, as well as the Speaker of the Knesset, the Prime Minister, the President and the Chief of Staff at the shloshim commemorations. Please encourage the friends you see in shul this Shabbat to do the same after Shabbat is out
Thank You Again and Shabbat Shalom
The Midrash draws an analogy between the light of the menorah and the light of the Torah. Just as the Menorah's light dispels darkness and illumines the way, so too the Torah provides spiritual light and direction in life.
The Gemara teaches, "Even if a person only reads the Shema once in the morning and once at night, he fulfills the Torah's injunction, 'This Torah shall not depart from your mouth, and you shall study it day and night." The question is obvious; How can a person, by reciting the Shema in a few minutes, be considered to have spent the entire day from morning until evening immersed in Torah study?
The Chiddushei Ha-Rim replies with a comparison to the Menorah lit by the Kohen Gadol in the Mishkan. When the Kohen ignites the menorah, he is considered to have created "an eternal flame lit before Me (Hashem)."
Even though the Kohen does not stand at the menorah applying the flame continuously, his one-time act of kindling creates "an eternal flame." Thus, the Chiddushei HaRim concludes, one moment of dedicated effort can effect the outcome of one's entire day.
Similarly, if one concentrates intently intently on the Kriat Shema, focusing upon its themes of kabbalat ohl malchut Shamayim and kabbalat ohl mitzvot, his entire day can be ignited by its inspiration. The Shema, recited over a few intensive minutes, can provide proper spiritual direction for the whole day.
Similarly a commitment to the Torah, its mitzvot and its values, provides direction in and throughout life enabling adherents to navigate through the spiritual darkness, decay, anarchy and chaos that surround us. This is essentially the call of the prophet, Hoshea: "Return O Israel toward the L-rd, your G-d." If the direction is on target, the journey will be positive.
Rabbi A. Mark Levin
Rabbi Levin is the Rabbi of Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth Congregation, Memphis, TN.