Thursday, December 18, 2008

1:6:152: Study

The verse "The yoke shall be destroyed because of the oil" (Isa. 10:27) means, said R. Isaac Nappaha, that Sennacherib's yoke was destroyed because of Hezekiah's providing oil that burned in synagogues and in houses of study. What did Hezekiah do? He thrust a sword into the ground at the entrance to a house of study and said: He who will not occupy himself with Torah will be transfixed with this sword. After that, search was made from Dan to Beersheba, and no ignoramus was found; from Gabbath to Antipatris, and no boy or girl, no man or woman was found not thoroughly versed even in the laws of cleanness and uncleanness.

The task of daily study at times becomes tedious.  We so quickly sign up for Daf Yomi, a daily Mishnah, a daily Chafetz Chaim, a daily Rambam, a daily Tanya, a daily Tehillim, and, of course, our daily Chumash, our daily prayers, and other personal study.  But then our lives catch up with us:  we need to tend to so many other things, and the precious jewels that impressed us so much when we began the cycle start to look ordinary – much like the man who is surrounded by diamonds will eventually forget to treasure them.

But the essence of Jewish life, at least since the destruction of the Temple, has been study, daily study.  Our study has replaced our sacrifice offerings, it has become the center of our religion.  So, as we begin a season when the lights will displace the darkness, when those who follow the secular calendar make vows, please consider renewing your vow for daily study.  And may this blog thrive as we all generate energy for our renewed study.

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