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Sustaining the World

by Avraham Shoar

In his youth, the writer, Avraham Shoar, was the chavruta (study partner) of Rav Kook in the beis medrash of Lutzin. He tells that young Avraham Yitzchak’s diligence was extraordinary. If a short amount of time passed without learning Torah, he felt real anguish: a actual physical pain:

One day (tells Avraham Shoar), he told me: “I have decided that two nights a week, we should learn mishmar (extended learning). Two nights a week, let us learn until dawn.”

I remember one such mishmar night, typical of the character of this extraordinary man. We were learning Chulin from the Talmud together. We were engaged in halachic dispute. I stood my ground, and we argued at length until we at last came to a shared understanding.

It was late. We were learning at the bimah. Around us was silence. In the adjoining dormitory, all the students were already asleep. Before us, burning above the holy ark, was the ner tamid—the eternal light. And we took a short rest from our toil and sat and conversed.

He said to me in a secretive voice: “Do you know, perhaps just the two of us are now sustaining the entire world. Perhaps the Holy One, blessed be He, is judging the world right now. And mankind’s sins are being considered, and they outweigh the good.

“Now the angel Michael, the one defender out of a thousand, picks up the words of our Torah learning and places them on the scale, and our words of Torah help outweigh the other side. If so, we have merited to sustain the entire world. And we are still just children. This is the first year that I am wearing tefillin, and as for you, you are not even bar mitzvah.”

As he spoke, I was lifted to the highest worlds. I could see, almost with my own eyes, the heavenly host: the fiery scale, the angels and cherubim. They were weighing the acts of humanity, and behold, they placed upon the scale the page of Chulin that we were learning, with the commentaries of Rashi, Tosafot and the Maharsha. And this page gave merit to the entire world.”

As I sat, submerged in my visions, Avraham Yitzchak’s voice continued. I heard him say with great simplicity: “A day will come when and I will be great in Torah. And then...” He touched me so that I would turn to him, and I saw his face burning, his eyes brilliant and sparkling like fiery coals set in milk. And he whispered: “I will go to the land of Israel, to the holy city of Jerusalem, and I will found a yeshiva there, like Kerem Beyavneh. And students from all over the world will gather there, and ‘from Jerusalem will come forth Torah.’”

These were the youthful dreams of Rav Kook.

These were his desires and yearnings when he had just become bar mitzvah.

Malachim Kivnei Adam, pp. 4-5

Tags:

Sustaining

the

World



by

Avraham

Shoar



















In

his

youth



the

writer



Avraham

Shoar



was

the

chavruta

(study

partner)

of

Rav

Kook

in

the

beis

medrash

of

Lutzin





He

tells

that

young

Avraham

Yitzchak’s

diligence

was

extraordinary





If

a

short

amount

of

time

passed

without

learning

Torah



he

felt

real

anguish:

a

actual

physical

pain:



















One

day

(tells

Avraham

Shoar)



he

told

me:

“I

have

decided

that

two

nights

a

week



we

should

learn

mishmar

(extended

learning)





Two

nights

a

week



let

us

learn

until

dawn





















I

remember

one

such

mishmar

night



typical

of

the

character

of

this

extraordinary

man





We

were

learning

Chulin

from

the

Talmud

together





We

were

engaged

in

halachic

dispute





I

stood

my

ground



and

we

argued

at

length

until

we

at

last

came

to

a

shared

understanding





















It

was

late





We

were

learning

at

the

bimah





Around

us

was

silence





In

the

adjoining

dormitory



all

the

students

were

already

asleep





Before

us



burning

above

the

holy

ark



was

the

ner

tamid—the

eternal

light





And

we

took

a

short

rest

from

our

toil

and

sat

and

conversed





















He

said

to

me

in

a

secretive

voice:

“Do

you

know



perhaps

just

the

two

of

us

are

now

sustaining

the

entire

world





Perhaps

the

Holy

One



blessed

be

He



is

judging

the

world

right

now





And

mankind’s

sins

are

being

considered



and

they

outweigh

the

good





















“Now

the

angel

Michael



the

one

defender

out

of

a

thousand



picks

up

the

words

of

our

Torah

learning

and

places

them

on

the

scale



and

our

words

of

Torah

help

outweigh

the

other

side





If

so



we

have

merited

to

sustain

the

entire

world





And

we

are

still

just

children





This

is

the

first

year

that

I

am

wearing

tefillin



and

as

for

you



you

are

not

even

bar

mitzvah





















As

he

spoke



I

was

lifted

to

the

highest

worlds





I

could

see



almost

with

my

own

eyes



the

heavenly

host:

the

fiery

scale



the

angels

and

cherubim





They

were

weighing

the

acts

of

humanity



and

behold



they

placed

upon

the

scale

the

page

of

Chulin

that

we

were

learning



with

the

commentaries

of

Rashi



Tosafot

and

the

Maharsha





And

this

page

gave

merit

to

the

entire

world





















As

I

sat



submerged

in

my

visions



Avraham

Yitzchak’s

voice

continued





I

heard

him

say

with

great

simplicity:

“A

day

will

come

when

and

I

will

be

great

in

Torah





And

then









He

touched

me

so

that

I

would

turn

to

him



and

I

saw

his

face

burning



his

eyes

brilliant

and

sparkling

like

fiery

coals

set

in

milk





And

he

whispered:

“I

will

go

to

the

land

of

Israel



to

the

holy

city

of

Jerusalem



and

I

will

found

a

yeshiva

there



like

Kerem

Beyavneh





And

students

from

all

over

the

world

will

gather

there



and

‘from

Jerusalem

will

come

forth

Torah

’”



















These

were

the

youthful

dreams

of

Rav

Kook





















These

were

his

desires

and

yearnings

when

he

had

just

become

bar

mitzvah





















Malachim

Kivnei

Adam



pp



4

5





 Good Luck!