Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nida 70b - Success in Learning

Someone recently reffered me to a  teshuva of Rav Wosner where he discusses the way to succeed in learning. He emphasizes the importance of looking everything up in Shulchan Aruch to understand the conclusion of every sugya which was the way of the Chasam Sofer and R. Akiva Eiger. He writes that when the Chazon Ish was young he would always learn the Tur and Beis Yosef after finishing a sugya and his friends would tease him that he is going to be a school teacher.  The Chazon Ish commented "Baruch Hashem I did what I did", clearly attributing his style of learning to be a factor in becoming the Chazon Ish.
At the end of the Teshuva, Rav Wosner writes that the main thing is to daven to Hashem for success in learning, citing our gemara that to achieve success one must both study and daven for siyata dishmaya.
The gemara asks how one becomes wise, and answers by limiting business activity and focusing on learning. The gemara then questions that it doesn't seem to work for all, to which the gemara answers that one also needs to seek mercy from the one who distributes wisdom - Hashem. The gemara then tells a mashal of a king who made a feast and distributed the food to all those who were beloved to him. The gemara ends by saying why do we suggest be ma'rbeh b'yeshiva if it is really dependent on davening, to which the gemara says that you need both.
However, the mashal in the gemara seems strange. The gemara is trying to emphasize the importance of being mevakeish rachamim and beseeching Hashem to grant wisdom. Yet, the mashal is simply about a king who distributes of his feast to those who are beloved to him. It would seem that the mashal to Tefila should include these people requesting or even begging the king to share his food with them. If the entire point of the mashal is to illustrate the power of prayer, why doesn't the mashal even include it? I would like to suggest that the function of Tefilah is not merely to make a request of Hashem and ask for success in learning. The function of Tefila is to develop a relationship with Hashem, recognize that He is the source of wisdom and become one who is beloved to Him. Therefore, the mashal doesn't include the request. The emphasis of tefillah isn't on the request but rather it is the method of becoming an o'heiv - one who is beloved by Hashem. The mashal is simple. If you are an o'heiv of Hashem He will distribute wisdom to you as a king distributes his feast to those who are beloved to him.

No comments: