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Is Torah a Burden or a Gift?
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Avot 3:9 The Torah doesn’t say that the Torah was given on Shavuot and according to Rebbi Yossi it wasn’t given on Shavuot, it was given on the seventh of Sivan! Why do we call it זמן מתן תורתינו. Further, even if the Torah was given on Sivan 6, it was broken (on the 17th […]
Things That Affect Your Memory
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Avot 3:9 One transgresses the prohibition of forgetting Torah if he/she actively does something things that causes one to forget. Horayos 13b lists five things that cause one to forget one’s learning and five things which cause one to remember one’s learning. If one would learn as if one was standing at Matan Torah one […]
Learn as if You’re at Har Sinai
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You are not liable for forgetting your learning unless you actively forget it. Forgetting doesn’t only mean completely forgetting, it also means if something doesn’t make an impression on you. Doing things that promote forgetfulness, not reviewing what you learn. Ma’amad Har Sinai was an unforgettable experience. The Ramban says that if we learn in […]
Don’t Forget Your Learning!
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Avot 3:9 The mishna says that if someone forgets his learning he is חייב מיתה, it then qualifies that by saying it only applies if a person actively tries to forget what he learned. According to the Abarbanel it is a continuation of the previous mishna where it says that stopping to admire nature while […]
Stopping to Admire a Tree (part 2)
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Avot 3:8 The Rambam says that the way to come to love and fear God is by observing nature and trying to understanding its complexity. Elsewhere he says that one does so by learning Torah! Nature and Torah are both vehicles for achieving love and fear of God. However, nature can also lead to the […]
Stopping to Admire a Tree (Learning while Travelling)
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Avot 3:8 If a person is learning while traveling and stops and says “how beautiful this tree is,” he has endangered his life. Why is the consequence so severe? Abarbanel: When a person is learning he is connected to our life source. The person’s stopping his learning is thus detaching himself from the life source. […]
Subjective Luxuries and Stolen Capabilities
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Avot 3:8 תן לו משלו שאתה ושלך שלו R. Eliezer ish Bartuta gave everything he had to tzedakah (which is in line with his statement). How much can one give to tzedakah? Abarbanel: why is this mishna quoted here? Once we see in the previous mishna how important learning Torah is, this mishna adds that […]
Ten, Five, Three, and Two Who Learn Torah Together
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Avot 3:7 If ten, five, three, two or even one are studying Torah, the Shechina rests among them. Ten represents a community According to the Abravanel, Rebbi Chalafta comes to argue on the previous mishnayot – how to keep oneself from sinning. He argues on the Mishna that says that not only does one get […]
Accepting a Yoke Upon Oneself
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Avot 3:5-6 In this world one must accept a yoke upon oneself either the yoke of Torah or Derech Eretz. Why? Because our reward in the World to Come is greater when it is earned rather than given as a gift. Delivered at the OU Israel Center, December 31st, 2018, 23 Tevet 5779