On Sunday evening, May 15, the community gathered at Beth Gavriel for an energizing shiur given by Rabbi Eliyahu Yormak, a rebbe at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin. Rabbi Yormak began, “We just finished the chag of Pesach. Hashem should load us with brachah. The mitzvos of Pesach are an endless z’chus and bring endless k’dushah.” He shared that the amount of merit we accrue from our mitzvos depends on how we relate to the mitzvah.
Rabbi Yormak posed the following question: What does it mean that Pesach is the time of freedom? It’s not so simple, because we say in Maariv that freedom is permanent. “How can we celebrate permanent freedom from Egypt when Jews have gone through and are still going through so many hardships and terrible tzaros? What does freedom mean? He taught that learning Torah is freedom. The freedom we celebrate on Pesach brings us to the level to be able to receive the Torah. There is clearly a connection between leaving Egypt and receiving the Torah on Shavuos. He then asked, “What does cheirus mean?” The Gemara says that when Mashiach comes, Hashem will bring everyone, including all the nations of the world, to din. The goyim will say that they built bridges and cities, and they had wars, so that B’nei Yisrael could learn Torah. Hashem will say no, you are fools. You did it for yourselves. Rabbi Yormak said that there is a question on this Gemara. First, how can the goyim think that Hashem won’t know what is in their hearts? He then taught that the question is bigger than that. Why did Hashem call them fools instead of liars? The answer is that all oppressors did things for their own reasons, but Hashem runs the world. He never let anything happen in the world that wasn’t for the sake of Israel to learn Torah. The truth will ultimately be revealed to the world that everything they did was for the sake of B’nei Yisrael but the nations will receive no merit because it was not their intention to help B’nei Yisrael learn Torah. When Mashiach comes, we’ll see that every event happens for B’nei Yisrael to learn Torah.
Rabbi Yormak taught that Hashem created the world to do good for us. He created the world so that there would be a B’nei Yisrael and that we would receive the Torah. “Hashem didn’t create the world for us to have fancy houses and cars or to play baseball. The purpose of the world is learning Torah.” He then asked: Why is this the purpose? He answered that “according to the M’silas Y’sharim, Adam was only created to have the greatest joy, which is to cling to Hashem. Real good is clinging to Hashem, and the way to do this is to learn Torah. The greatest joy is to make Hashem proud.”
He went on to explain that we cannot answer why tragedies happen. “A father patches his son because he loves him, and he does it with love. Hashem does everything like a loving father. Everything He does is for our good. We live here but there is an Olam HaBa.” He taught that in this world your neshamah is in galus with the guf (the body). “B’nei Yisrael became different because we use our guf as a servant to the neshamah and to holiness.” All the physical parts of the world are for the spiritual. He emphasized, “Learn Torah and you become holy. Everything in this world is here so we can learn and keep Torah.”
Rabbi Yormak explained that, with the g’ulah from Mitzrayim, we received the ability to live a life of freedom – to rise above the guf. “We don’t always live up to that, but we have that ability to rise up.”
There are 600,000 letters in the Torah, which is the number of Jews who received the Torah at Har Sinai. Every Jew is intrinsically connected to the holiness of the Torah. He emphasized that “coming out of Egypt made us able to receive and learn Torah and that is the way to make Hashem proud… The more effort and struggle you put into the Torah, there is nothing more geshmak!”
He concluded that Z’man Cheiruseinu (the Time of Our Freedom) leads to Torah and the holiness of Hashem. When we count s’firah every day, we should have in mind that “Hashem made me holy to receive the Torah. Every person should strive to grow in his commitment to Torah. When you learn Torah, it becomes your Torah. It becomes you yourself. When a Yid learns Torah, it affects everything he does.”
He said, “If you want to be a happy person, learn Torah.”
This shiur can be viewed on TorahAnytime.
By Susie Garber