by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir
It is a Jewish custom that when a child reaches the age of speech, his father accustoms him to saying, “Moses prescribed the Torah to us, an eternal heritage for the congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 33:4). Already from earliest childhood, a child hears that the Torah is an inheritance, and that it belongs to the entire Jewish people. The Torah does not belong just to this individual or that, or to this movement or that. Rather, it belongs to the entire Jewish people till the end of time.
Before the Sinai Revelation, the Jewish people repented, abandoning their divisiveness and uniting, as it says, “They had departed from Rephidim and had arrived in the Sinai Desert, camping in the wilderness. Israel camped opposite the mountain” (Exodus 19:2). Rashi comments, “As one man, with one heart.” From their receiving of the Torah, about 3000 years ago, until today, the Jewish people have never ceased to learn, teach, and fulfill our holy Torah. The Torah is a book of life. As it says, “It is a tree of life for those who take hold of it” (Proverbs 3:18).
Today, our generation, the generation of the rebirth and of ingathering of the exiles, is facing spiritual, social and political crises, as we sense today. The means of rectifying this complex situation is to foment a change in culture and education, and to establish Torah learning as a national value of the first order. All Jewish children, and adults as well, should be learning Torah, as was the situation during the time of King Hezekiah, who passed a compulsory education law. If during the dark exile, Torah learning illuminated the Jewish souls, ensuring their survival, all the more so in the Land of Israel and State of Israel, that the Torah learning of myriad Jews should strengthen the spirit of the nation.
Our holy Torah belongs to the entire Jewish people, and to every individual Jew. We shall certainly be the living fulfillment of the blessing, “Our Father! Merciful Father! You, who are ever compassionate! Have pity on us and inspire us to understand and discern, to perceive, learn and teach, to observe, do and fulfill gladly all the teachings of Your Torah” (Blessings of the Shema).
With blessings for a joyous Shavuot holiday,
Looking forward to complete salvation,