Description: Chapter 6 - 04
Chapter 6 – 04
The first Mishnah in the sixth perek continues to say:
רבי מאיר אומר: כל העוסק בתורה לשמה זוכה לדברים הרבה ולא עוד אלא שכל העולם כלו כדאי הוא לו.
נקרא ריע, אהוב, אוהב את המקום, אוהב את הבריות, משמח את המקום, משמח את הבריות, ומלבשתו ענוה ויראה, ומכשרתו להיות צדיק וחסיד וישר ונאמן, ומרחקתו מן החטא, ומקרבתו לידי זכות
Rebbi Meir says, whoever toils in Torah Lishmah, merits a great many things. Not only that, but the creation of the whole world is worthwhile for him alone. He is called a friend, a beloved one, he loves Hashem, he loves all people, he brings joy to Hashem, and he brings joy to people. It clothes him with humility and fear, and prepares him to be a tzaddik, pious person, honest person, and trustworthy person, and distances him from sin, and brings him close to mitzvos.
This sounds like quite a package deal! The Mishnah isn’t finished yet with all the wonderful attributes that come as a result of learning Torah Lishmah. If we think about all these levels, it seems that very few people in a generation truly attain such madregos, and become tzaddikim of this stature. Maybe the gadol hador, and the greatest tzaddikim and talmidei chachamim become this great. Does that mean that everyone else isn’t learning Torah Lishmah? As we explained in the previous Dvar Mussar, learning Torah Lishmah isn’t a very difficult level to connect to. We have to learn Torah for the sake of knowing Torah! For the sake of knowing the mitzvos, how to do them, how to become a tzaddik, how to become pious, and how to be honest in business. That’s all Lishmah! Why then aren’t more of us that become great tzaddikim, humble, yarey Shamayim, a loved one of Hashem, beloved by all people, and loves all people?
I believe that the simple explanation is, learning Torah Lishmah indeed teaches a person all these qualities. More than that, learning Torah Lishmah gives a person a head-start on these characteristics. Besides getting inspired by the Torah and all the beautiful middos described that Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov demonstrated, the Torah also spiritually elevates a person, and opens his soul up, breaks the hold the body has over us, and allows us to achieve these middos tovos.
However, it doesn’t come from nothing! Work is required! If we are to attain the quality of anavah, of humility, that takes focus and self-inspection, honesty to a fault, and constant striving. It requires learning mussar, and understanding our self-worth, and the greatness of Hashem, and the great responsibility we have to achieve our potential. It requires us to be honest with ourselves how much of that we actually are doing. But without learning Torah Lishmah we would be blind to the whole concept! We would think we are fine the way we are! We wouldn’t find that place in our soul that demands us to change and lose a little of our haughtiness, and allow Hashem in our hearts to humble us!
The giants of Torah achieved humility which is not really fathomable to us. Rabbi Akiva Eger was famed for his tremendous humility. He writes a letter to his son, Rav Shlomo Eger, that he visited the city of Warsaw, and people had slept in the streets to save a good spot to just be able to view him as he entered the city. He writes, ‘mishnah lo zazah mimkomah, me’od me’od havay shefal ruach,’ the Mishnah didn’t budge from it’s place, as it says – be a very, very, humble person! It’s told that he was once in shul with Rav Yaakov of Lisa, his colleague, the Nesivos Hamishpat, and they gave him ‘shelishi.’ He simply fainted! It was to him the utmost disgrace of Torah that they gave him over the Nesivos. He couldn’t be calmed, until the Nesivos told him, they gave it to you because your city of Pozen is larger than Lisa! Then he was calmed and went to the Aliyah! We can’t imagine this – but this is only possible because Torah Lishmah can open up new vistas of humility we can’t possibly achieve on our own.