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Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha


"........................And Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before G-d." (18:12)

Rashi comments on "before G-d" as follows:" From here it is learned that he who derives enjoyment from a meal at which Torah scholars are seated, it is as though he enjoyed the (shine) splendor of G-d's presence." (Berachot64)

How can we begin to understand this statement, and what lesson can we learn from it ?

I would like to , Bezrat Hashem, propose an original answer. The Torah is teaching us the following fundamental principal about human nature, as follows: The very thing a person derives enjoyment from is a strong indication of who he actually is in reality. When a person can find pleasure when viewing Torah scholars at a meal, it indicates that he appreciates and values Torah learning and the people that study it to a very high degree. This person has surely generated a tremendous love for the Torah, and this causes him to react with pleasure when in the presence of Torah scholars. Every person is innately self-centered and will react with pleasure only when he or she is deriving pleasure personally from any given activity, especially eating. Yet, when a person feels a sense of satisfaction from viewing Torah Scholars eating this means that this person has an emotional attachment to Torah which is unique and powerful. Such a person has his priorities right. This, therefore, is tantamount to deriving enjoyment from G-d himself. A very important question can be asked, In what do we find pleasure in? The answer to this question can actually give us an indication of our own spiritual level ! Have a good Shabbos


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