Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Banishing exile's darkness

Last week, I got a surprising phone call. I was asked if I would sing at a yeshiva's siyum on Thursday, right after the fast of the 17th of Tamuz. As the the three weeks would have already begun, this meant that there would be no music, just my voice to lead the dancing and to provide a musical interlude between speakers. I was happy to join the Yeshiva in their simcha.

I got tremendous chizzuk from the siyum, which was made by the bachurim and yungerleit who were mostly ba'alei teshuva (and extremely bright ones at that). A number of different speakers gave over their thoughts and inspirations, but one of them - the last speaker - caught my attention the most. The entire time he spoke, it was with pronounced emotion and sincerity, and he regaled us with stories of his father's rebbe, Rav Shlomo Heiman. One of the things that caught my attention was his theme about Torah, geulah, and churban, which I will soon share with you.

After he finished speaking, I asked one of the members of the staff of the yeshiva who the speaker had been, and he told me that his name is Rav Samuels, and he is one of the Rabbonim of the kabbalah yeshiva, Sha'ar Hashamayim in Jerusalem. Rav Samuels speaks once a week to the guys in the yeshiva that was making the siyum, although his discussions do not center around kabbalah. It struck me that I had only seen a similar type of truly joyous and sincere personality once before, and it was Rav Gamliel Rabinovich, one of the other Rabbonim at Sha'ar hashamayim.

In his speech, Rav Samuels pointed out that although all joyous occasions are pushed off until after the three weeks, we still join for the joy of a siyum. Not only that, but the joy of completion of a maseches of gemara even allows us to eat meat during the nine days! Clearly, the mourning that we are to be aware of during this time of destruction is completely banished by the simcha of Torah.

Another interesting thing we see is that in the kaddish that is said after a siyum, there is an unusual text that is said. We say Yisgadal... Hashem's name should be made great, in the world which will be renewed, and the dead brought to life, and bring to the next world, and rebuild Jerusalem, and bring the Temple into it, and remove idolatry from the land, and bring the service of Hashem therein, and make Hashem king... It then continues with the regular kaddish. The obvious question here is, Why is this whole concept of Moshiach spoken of at a siyum?

What we clearly see is that the light and power of Torah is what has the ability to banish the darkness of exile and bring Moshiach. When we complete a maseches in Shas, there is a powerful light that is brought down from heaven, bringing the redemption closer. This is also true on a certain level whenever we learn Torah. The higher the level of learning, the greater the light that is brought down. This very light takes away the sadness of exile, and replaces it with the joy of redemption, even in middle of the exile itself!

ע"כ דבריו - end quote of Rav Samuels.

The deeper sources state that in fact, the learning of the inner wisdom of the Torah is what will ultimately bring the final Geulah to our people. The more we connect with that light, the more the light of the Torah will shine. Only this light has the power to remove the darkness of exile and bring the ultimate Light of Moshiach.

No comments: