Sunday, August 2, 2009

Spirit of the Law: Shabbos 72:19

He brings the halacha that uncooked foods which cook fairly quickly may not be left in a hot oven from before Shabbos unless they are cooked (enough to be edible from) before Shabbos. If one placed a food that was not yet cooked into an oven that will not be cooked by Shabbos, the food is prohibited until after Shabbos.

The Eglei Tal writes in his introduction to Hilchos Shabbos that the main mitzva of Talmud Torah is to take pleasure and joy (sass visameach) in one’s learning. Learning in this way causes the words of Torah to be absorbed in ones blood!" Interestingly although the Eglei Tal was a Chasidic Rebbe, when someone showed this piece to the Chazon Ish, zt"l, he looked very pleased and said “This is the ultimate goal of the Litvasher path!—“Dos is shpitz Litvak!”

In a similar vein, Rav Wolbe, zt"l, writes in a letter: "The main way to develop ahavas Hashem is that one feels such great pleasure in every word of Torah and Emunah that this learning Torah is literally the ultimate pleasure for one –tachlis ha’hana’ah.” (This is how he learns the famous Rambam in Sefer Hamitsvos.)

Anything learned in this spirit draws down tremendous holiness. Of course, some people take pleasure specifically in a particular sefer or method of learning. The Mishnas Chasidim writes that one who feels drawn to learn a particular type of learning should spend most of his time doing this, since usually feeling a draw to some particular holiness signifies that this is likely his personal rectification.

It is important to note that the Mishnas Chasidim says clearly that one should learn some of each major category of Torah. Yet one should still spend most of his time learning what speaks to him.

(Many Yeshivos focus mostly on learning in depth since without proper analytical skills one will lack true comprehension of what he learns. Another reason for this is because this sort of learning is easier to enjoy since it is intellectually stimulating.)

The Mekor Chaim explains that subjects or material which one knows he should learn and are "easily cooked" -- easy for one to learn through should not be put off for "Shabbos" when one thinks he will have a better opportunity or a higher state of consciousness. The reason why is that one must seize his opportunity whenever it presents itself to him. One who puts it off and does not learn this material through even in a shallow manner by doing what he can, will not be able to learn it until after Shabbos, that is it will not work out according to his plan. Either he will be unable to learn it through even if he is afforded the higher consciousness of Shabbos or the foreseen better times will not come.

Of course one who truly loves to learn will use every moment he can to connect to Hashem, the One who gave the Torah. Another clear point: there are many levels of expression of this love but the main thing is to begin fresh the moment one catches on that he has fallen or erred.

Once someone asked the Kotzker Rebbe if it was better for him to work now full time until he has saved enough to learn full time or if he should just make whatever time he could to learn even as he worked.

The Rebbe responded that he should learn as much as he was able while he worked. "This is a clear mishna in Avos: Don't say I will learn when I have time since perhaps you will not have time. The explanation can also be read, 'since you are a person who is not going to have free time to learn.' It is quite possible that Hahsem wants one to learn even though it is difficult for him."

Sometimes, Hashem's plan is for someone to work to overcome the difficulties involved in stealing time. Clearly this is more precious to Him than a person who has time on his hands to learn but no obstacles that must be surmounted, since the reward is commensurate with the difficulty experienced.


yehupitz said...

Thank you for that beautiful thought on Torah Lishma.

Please correct me if I am mistaken. My reading of that halacha in the KSA and its source in Shulchan Aruch 254:8 is that placing a quick-cooking food is forbidden only if the fire is not "garuf v'katum", not covered with a blech. If the stovetop element (and/or controls) is covered, the concern that one might "stir the coals" is eliminated and one may place the not fully cooked food on the fire soon before Shabbos.

Please correct me if I misunderstood.

Micha Golshevsky said...

B'simcha rabbah!
You are correct (this emerges from 253:1 as well.)
There is a machlokes regarding whether a "blech" is enough of a covering, however. The Chazon Ish says it is not (he holds that you need an empty pot over the fire which diminishes the flame much more than a blech) and the Ketzos HaShabbos is unsure.
But the custom of Yerushalayim brought in Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah is that a blech is enough of a covering and this is the opinion of most great poskim.