Day 34/50: The Spice of the Torah

Day 34/50: The Spice of the Torah

אַתֶּ֣ם רְאִיתֶ֔ם כִּ֚י מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם דִּבַּ֖רְתִּי עִמָּכֶֽם

You have seen that I have spoken with you from the heavens.


The primary approach that Chazal stress in dealing with kedusha struggles is learning Torah, ideally the kind of learning that one must delve into, engaging his mind. 


However, Rav Michel Yehudah Lefkowitz, zt”l explains that Chazal make an important caveat when they teach us that “Hashem created the yetzer hara and He created the Torah as a tavlin [spice] for it” (Bava Basra 16a). Chazal do not refer to Torah as a refuah (cure), but as a tavlin (spice). Rav Michel Yehudah elucidated, “Chazal are teaching us that for Torah to combat the yetzer hara, one must experience a sweetness (geshmak) in it, just as seasoning adds zest to food. If one learns without sweetness, the Torah cannot protect him from the yetzer hara.


Therefore, it is imperative that a boy find sweetness in his learning. Some of the advice Chazal give regarding enjoying one’s learning is for a person to learn what his heart desires and in a place his heart desires.


On a similar note, the Torah tells us that it was only after Yaakov Avinu saw the agalos, the wagons sent by Yosef, that his spirit was revived. Yosef had sent the wagons in order to hint to the last sugya they had learned together, the suyga of eglah arufah. Yosef used this message because he knew that Yaakov understood there was only one thing that could have protected him from the nisyonos he faced in Mitzrayim: the Torah. After seeing the agalos, Yaakov knew with certainty that Yosef was still immersed in his learning and that revived Yaakov’s spirit. If Yosef was ”in the sugya,” then that meant that he was truly still ”alive”!

🌤️ Today I shall…

…seek to develop a geshmak in learning, so that my Torah will act as a medicine against the Yetzer Hara.