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"Good morning class."
"Good morning Rebbe!"
"Thank you for the wonderful welcome. Class, let us begin our study of the parashas ha'shavuah with a question. Who knows two ways to get oil from olives?"
"I know one way, Rebbe. Grind them up into little pieces, filter out the sediment, and you are left with oil."
"Very good, Chaim. Does anyone know of another way?"
"Press them by hand until a little pure oil comes out. Pour off the pure oil by itself."
"Excellent, Avi. The second way yields much purer oil, because there is no sediment. Now, let me ask you another question, class. Has anyone ever pressed olives by hand to get out the oil?"
"I have, Rebbe!"
"Wonderful, Shlomo. Please tell us about it. Was it hard work?"
"Very hard work, Rebbe. I needed to use all of my koach (strength) to put enough force on the olives to squeeze out the oil."
"Shlomo, I am sure that you can appreciate the way that the olive oil for the Menorah in the Beis HaMikdash was made. It was the purest oil possible - pressed and not ground. This perfect oil kept the lamps in the Menorah burning continually. Class, there is deep symbolism burning in the lamps of the Menorah."
"Please enlighten us, Rebbe."
"Rav Yonason Eibushitz illuminates the subject with the well known fact that the Menorah symbolized Torah learning. The Torah has the power to light up our minds, our lives, and the world. However, we must learn it properly. The clear meaning and depth of the sugya (Torah subject) is not always readily understood. It requires work. One must learn and re-learn sugya over and over again. One must examine it from different angles. Praying to Hashem for Siyata Di'Shmaya (Heavenly Assistance) in learning is essential. Finally, after much effort you master the sugya."
"Wow, Rebbe. that is quite a job."
"Yes, class. Rav Eibushitz compares the exertion required to succeed in learning to that needed to press the olives. Just as the fuel for the lamps of the Menorah requires lots of koach to produce, so too the spiritual light of Torah learning requires maximum effort. There is another aspect of the Menorah light which is symbolic."
"Please tell us, Rebbe."
"The flame of the Menorah was referred to as 'Ner Tomid' - the continual light. It was always burning. Similarly, our learning must be tomid with 'hasmoda' - constancy. We must learn all of the time - morning, afternoon, and evening; Erev Shabbos, Shabbos, Yom Tov, vacation time - constantly. Why? Because the Torah is easily forgotten. It must be continually reviewed so that it will not be lost and forgotten."
"I see, Rebbe. We have to put our full effort into understanding what we are learning. Then once we know it, we must constantly review it to guard against forgetting it."
"Precisely, Chaim. If you follow this formula, you will be illuminated with the knowledge of Hashem's Holy Torah."
"May all of our lights burn brightly!"
Kinderlach . . .
The Torah is our spiritual light. We want its glow to be pure and clear. Therefore, we need absolute clarity in our learning. How do we get that clarity? By working on the sugya - examining it, analyzing it, and thinking it through from beginning to end. This is hard work - like the pressing of the olives for the oil of the Menorah. Once we have achieved clarity in the sugya, we must constantly review it in order to remember it. This is like the light of the Menorah that was constantly burning. Rav Eibushitz gives us the two keys to successful learning - work hard . . . always.
"It is a real privilege to be your guest Mr. Shearim. Thank you for granting me this interview."
"The pleasure is all mine, young man. Ask whatever questions you like."
"Our school class wants to know how you became wealthy, Mr. Shearim."
"That's simple, young man. I developed a product and sold it to people."
"Many people do that, Mr. Shearim. However, they do not become multi-billionaires like you."
"Correct, young man. I kept changing my product, making the old one obsolete. People constantly came back to me for a new update of the product. I kept making sale after sale to the same people. That's my secret. I make customers dependent on me. If you make them independent, you'll never see them or their money again."
Kinderlach . . .
The wealthy man made his riches by making people dependent upon him. His goal is to take, take, and take from them. The more he takes, the wealthier he becomes. The Rebbe who teaches Torah is just the opposite. His goal is to give, give, and give Torah knowledge to his students. The more he gives, the wealthier he becomes. Who is really richer? Money comes and goes. Even the money that stays does not go into the next world. Torah is always with us. And. It is worth much more than money. Learn well, kinderlach, in order to teach. Then give, give, and give Torah. You will become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams.
"You shall make holy garments for Aharon your brother for glory and splendor" (Shemos 28:2). The Malbim explains the spiritual aspect of the middos (measurements) of these garments. Although the Torah appears to be explaining the character and construction of the external clothing of the Kohanim, in reality it is detailing the internal garb of their souls. Those holy Kohanim who serve Hashem must clothe their souls in good middos (character traits), proper ideas and attitudes. The holy external garments were only a means to teach the Kohanim that they must fix up their souls and their middos, which are the internal garb of the soul. Then they will be truly fit to serve Hashem.
Kinderlach . . .
"Middos Tovos are the measure of a person. Let's go around the Shabbos table and see how many middos tovos we can name." "Patience." "Very good Leah!" "Always telling the truth." "Excellent, Rivka!" "Speaking softly." "That's so important Ephraim." "Being organized." "That helps everything go well, Ahuva." "Not wasting anything." "I can see you appreciate what Hashem gives you Doni. Okay, let each one of us pick a middah and work on it this week. Next week we will report back with our success stories."
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