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Shabbat Parashat Vayeira 5774

Ein Ayah: An Ageless Truth Keeps a Nation Young

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 9:338)

Gemara: Rabbi Yehuda also opened with the honor of the Torah and expounded: “Listen and hear, Israel: this day you have become a nation” (Devarim 27:9). Is it so that this was the day that the Torah was given to Israel? Wasn’t this written some forty years later? Rather it is to teach you that the Torah is dear to those who learn it every day as the day it was given at Mt. Sinai.  

 

Ein Ayah: The essence of every nation is defined by its philosophies and its spiritual attainments. In general, philosophies change over time, becoming clarified and fuller, until they take on a new form. Therefore, nations experience a process of aging and weakening of their power until it reaches the point that they cease to exist in the form that they once did. After all, once the special spiritual/intellectual qualities, philosophies and traditions have totally lost their standing, there is no longer an internal basis for the nation. Under such conditions, when an external power threatens a nation, it cannot defend itself because it lacks the strength that stems from an internal pride that causes it to want to preserve its character.

Specifically in this regard, Israel’s covenant with Hashem stands to make us His eternal nation. The light of truth of the Name of Hashem that is upon us is the light that is eternal and limitless. It is the truth after which there is no other truth. No  matter what changes in regard to the philosophies, viewpoints, and intellectual tools, Hashem’s truth will become all the more powerful and correct in the eyes of all, in a grand manner. Therefore, within the Jewish Nation, living in accordance with its Torah, there is no old-age. The nation’s holy love of Hashem’s Name, which is like a warm and powerful fire, will never lose its original emotion, and will only grow in intensity. That is why it can be said about Israel at all times: “This day you have become a nation.” This day a new light of spiritual insight shines upon you, casting eternal light of divine truth. Indeed, the ultimate, complete truth will never grow old or lose its vigor, just like the heavens always lie above the earth.

This is why those who learn Torah always have a love for it like the day it was given. Those who study the Torah on an ongoing basis and thereby grasp the “tree of life” are the ones who feel the true life of the whole of the nation, as the nation operates in their shadow. These pillars of society are like the heart that gives life to the whole body, by providing the spiritual lifeline. They provide the eternal joy of the word of Hashem and its truth and give the nation the power to strive to continue to function in full force. The elite spiritual/intellectual leaders will continue to play that role until the blessed time comes when “all your sons are learned in the ways of Hashem” (Yeshaya 54:13). This is as the Rabbis learned from the pasuk about those times, “Those who come will be the rooted in Jacob, Israel will bud and blossom” (Yeshaya 27:6). The Rabbis explain (Shabbat 145b) that this refers to Torah scholars who make adornments to the Torah with their love of the eternal word of Hashem.

 

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