16 Sivan 5779 / Wednesday, June 19, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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The Torah of Life    

The Torah of Life

The purpose of our Torah - the “Torah of life” - is to bring a person to a state in which he is alive at every moment of every day of his life—that he overflows with yearning…


Know and understand that desire is the root of Creation and the purpose of the entire Torah. Desire is the path, the instrument and the power with which to attain everything in life. Desire is the entire character of a person and of his service here in this world. And practically speaking, one's desire is the very character of his or her life! A person without desire is dead, and a person with desire is alive.


I once went to a yeshiva to deliver a talk. I saw that although the students were learning and praying, they were gloomy and rigid, almost dead. I asked them, “Is this a yeshiva or a cemetery!?”


If a person’s Torah learning doesn’t inspire him to constantly kindle his desire, then the very essence of that learning is missing. As the verse states, “I, too, gave them rules that were not good and judgments through which they should not live” (Ezekiel 20:25).


This is the opposite of the verse, “You shall observe My rules and My judgements, which a person will do and live by them” (Leviticus 18:5). Hashem gave us the Torah so that we may truly live. “You who cling to Hashem your God are alive, all of you today” (Deuteronomy 4:4). “Life” is desire. It is clinging to Hashem—because only clinging to the Source of life is called life. And how do we cling to Hashem? Only by means of desire, yearning and longing for closeness to Him and for doing His will.


“Life” means that a person is filled with a desire for Hashem, a desire for learning Torah, a desire to pray.


“Life” means that a person is filled with a positive desire.


The purpose of our Torah, which is the “Torah of life,” is to bring a person to a state in which he is alive at every moment of every day of his life—that he overflows with yearning, with good and strong aspirations. He looks forward with yearning to the time of prayer, to meet with the Creator, to thirstily drink every word of the holy Torah, to experience the holiness of the Sabbath and to keep every mitzvah.


A person attains perfection when he is always filled with the desire to do Hashem’s will, when his inner being burns with a mighty, permanent longing, seeking and desiring: “How may I do the will of God? How may I please Him? How may I expand my service of Hashem and go forward in my service of Him?”


Once, Rabbi Nachman of Breslev was asked why the Baal Shem Tov valued his daughter Adel so much. He answered: “Because every day she came to Hashem with yearning, and she asked herself, ‘What more can I do that will please God?’” (Siach Sarfei Kodesh II 72).


In accordance with this, we can understand that desire is the entire Torah, the Torah of life, the Torah to live by.

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