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How can I find joy in Torah learning?

by Rabbi Shlomie Chein

  

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Question:

Where is the pleasure in studying and living by the Torah? I like learning but all I see are stories and laws. I believe it is holy, but I do not see the pleasure in it.

I am 19, and have been learning inconsistently but watched programs such as 'Rabbi X' from time to time. Otherwise I have been reading the Chumash from time to time alone. Once in a while I join my religious friends to learn Torah and still do not see the joy in it.

SeekingJew

Answer:

You remind me of a story.

There once was a poor man who lived on simple means. One day he decided it was time to live the good life, and enjoy living. It was time to upgrade his diet and eat some real gourmet food.

So on his way home from Synagogue he stopped by the rich man's house and asked the cook what she serves the rich man for breakfast. The cook informed the pauper that she serves the rich man cheese blintzes, and then went on to tell him how the cheese blintzes are made.

If you want to discover the joy, meaning and richness in the Torah, you need to experience it authentically. If you water down the Torah, you will water down its taste.
The poor man goes home with the good news and asks his wife if she could make cheese blintzes. She says "sure, how do I make it".

He pulls out his list and starts reading:

Pauper: We need white flour.
Wife: we don't have white flour.
Pauper: use what we have.
Wife: ok. What else?
Pauper: we need 6 eggs.
Wife: but we only have 2.
Pauper: use what we have.
Wife: Ok. What else?
Pauper: 4 tablespoons of sugar
Wife: we can't afford sugar.
Pauper: skip it.
Wife: Ok. What else?
Pauper: Fetta Cheese, cream cheese and cottage cheese.
Wife: but we only have a little butter.
Pauper: So, use the butter...

And so off she went, right into the kitchen to make "blintzes" out old dark flour, 2 eggs instead of six, no sugar, and a little butter.

The poor man could not wait. He was ecstatic. Ah, now he will finally live the rich life. Breakfast will once and for all be a delicacy. Life will be enjoyable.

And hour later his wife comes out with her piping hot "blintzes". The poor man says a blessing and digs right in.

He chews, makes a face, looks at his dear wife and says "I'll tell you the truth: now that I have tasted blintzes, I don't know why people make such a big deal out of them."

If you want to discover the joy, meaning and richness in the Torah, you need to experience it authentically. If you water down the Torah, you will water down its taste.

What you need is a good Yeshiva. Spend six months learning at Mayanot (www.mayanot.edu) in Jerusalem, and you will see why people rant and rave about our beautiful heritage.

If you can't start Yeshiva just yet, find a local Chabad Center, join some of their classes, and see if the rabbi can learn with you one-on-one from time to time.

Check it out www.chabad.org/centers


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Torah
Mitzvot » Education

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Yeshiva
(Pl.: Yeshivot) Religious school which teaches Jewish studies. Most Yeshivot offer secular studies too.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Chumash
The Five Books of Moses.