Friday, June 3, 2011

For Openers

I’ve decided to create a blog. I hope you don’t mind. I think it will reflect my yeshiva background. I prize my yeshiva background highly. I mean for the blog to be used casually. I’ll only want to say interesting things. And post interesting posts. I’m not out to bore you. But don’t feel obliged to read the blog. Or to follow it. I’m sure you’ve got better things to do. That’s as it should be. But if you must read it, feel free to respond. And feel free not to respond. Ok. Thanks.

There's a story about a savant who sought admission to the Gra's select cadre of pupils. He approached the Gra, pleading earnestly for permission to join. The Gra responded sternly. He said that the only students he accepted were students who learned Torah lishma -- meaning for the sake of learning G-d's Torah. He told this prospect that to gain possible admittance he would have to subject himself to a severe test. The petitioner signaled his willingness to comply. Thereupon the Gra instructed him to seclude himself in a room down the hall, and to study the verse with which the book of Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles) opens: Adam Shes Enosh. After ensconcing himself for a full fifteen minutes, the would-be pupil emerged from the room, reporting to the Gra that he had completed his study of the verse. Whereupon the Gra said to him in rebuke: If all it took was fifteen minutes for you to turn bored from concentrating on a verse consisting of three names, it is proof positive that you do not learn Torah lishma.  Devastated, the savant took leave of the Gra; and the Gra bade him farewell.

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