Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

Taanis 7: Becoming a Proper Scholar

On this daf, we find that we should “consume the fruits” of a proper scholar, while we should avoid those who are not proper scholars.

Although it used to be that every Torah scholar had profound yiras Shomoyim, our modern times have unfortunately changed this. Rav Shlomo olbe attributed this to the fact that most people don’t learn sifrei mussar.

In reference to this issue, the Lev Simcha of Gur would say, “The rebbe Rav Yitzchok Zelig of Sokolov taught that scholars must have extra yiras Shomoyim.”

But what prevents Torah scholars from attaining yiras Shomoyim?

Rav Wolbe explains in a powerful letter: “Even a quarter of an hour of mussar every day has such a powerful effect on the entire person that there is a very special yeitzer hara that works to prevent one from dedicating the time. When I learn mussar, I always feel that even if I were to learn a thousand pages of Gemara with Tosafos diligently, daven with focused attention, and perform mitzvos, I would still lack genuine yiras Shomoyim without mussar. Although this sounds strange, that is the truth about the power of limud hamussar. What can one do to combat this difficulty? He must force himself to learn mussar despite it. Even though this is much more difficult to learn than any other segment of Torah, one needs to understand that learning or failing to learn mussar is a matter of life and death. Our master and teacher, the light of our eyes, Rav Yerucham of Mir, said that it is worthwhile to be created even if only for the sake of learning mussar” (Libom Shel Yisroel; Iggros Ukesavim 1:38).

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