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Friday, August 6

The Weekly Shtikle - Re'eih

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.


The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.


Five months ago, as we approached the month of Nissan, we would have read the haftarah of machar chodesh. However, since it was shabbas parshas hachodesh, that special haftarah was deferred. Now, once again, (at least according to most traditions) this special haftarah is pushed aside so as not to interrupt our momentum in the seven haftaros of nechamah. Our next opportunity this coming Teves will also be thwarted by Chanukah and the simple fact that Shabbos is also Rosh Chodesh. So we will end up going a full year-and-a-half without reading machar chodesh.

The pasuk in this week's overriding haftara, (Yeshaya 55:1) demands, "Hoy kol tzame l'chu lamayim," all who are thirsty, go to (drink) water. The gemara (Taanis 7a) explains that water is a metaphor for Torah. All who are thirsty shall go and learn Torah. Why is Torah compared to water? There is an approach I have heard from a number of different sources and found in R' Chaim Kanievsky's Ta'ama D'kra. We are taught (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 204:7) that there is a distinct difference between water and all other food and drink. All other food and drink require a berachah regardless, because under all circumstances, one derives a certain amount of pleasure from the food or drink. Water is different. One only makes a berachah on water if they are drinking it because they are thirsty. If they are drinking it because they are choking on a piece of food, for example, a berachah is not required because no pleasure is derived from it. Similarly, the only way to really fulfill oneself with Torah, is if you are thirsty for it. One who learns Torah without a genuine thirst for it, will simply not get out of it what he should.

R' Elie Wolf applies this idea to explain the famous gemara (Bava Metzia 85b) which comments that one of the sins which led to the destruction of the first Bais HaMikdash was that "They did not make a berachah on the Torah first." Many commentaries are bothered how it is possible that they did not recite Birkas HaTorah. There are various explanations given. With the above idea we may understand that they did not learn Torah out of thirst and thus, did not learn it in a manner that would require a berachah in the way that a berachah is required for water.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
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