Rabbi Alex Carlebach
Chabad of Lyndhurst
Rav Yosef said if not for “THIS DAY” – Shavuot – how many Yosefs would there be in the marketplace? (Talmud, Pesachim 68b)
אמר רב יוסף אי לאו האי יומא דקא גרים כמה יוסף איכא בשוקא?
Thursday morning, 19 March, was the first day shuls in South Africa were closed. The Torah reading was not heard in public ever since. A week later the entire country was placed into lockdown. In what way is the average family to survive? What are people going to do with themselves, seeing that up till then the working day or schooling took up most of their waking hours? How does one keep one’s sanity?
Boruch Hashem, our Holy Torah provides such a meaningful lifestyle. One of the many things realised during this period is how much the Torah enriches our lives. Not only on a community level, but also on a personal level. There is good reason to get up early every morning: Putting on tefillin and saying Shema at the proper time. Our daily shiurim, like Chitas Rambam Daf Yomi, etc, keep one day from running into the other. The beauty of Shabbos, Pesach and our Yomim Tovim adds a richness and dimension to our lives, which I don’t believe is equalled in other ways of life.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe asks a few questions on the above statement of the Talmud, including why stress: “hai yoma” – “ this day”? Isn’t Rav Yosef’s point rather: “If not for Our Torah,” rather than the day of Shavuot? Let him rather say: “If not for the Torah” then how many Yosefs would there be?
A part of the Rebbe’s answer refers to what G-d Almighty did on Shavuot. It was much more than giving us the Torah. After all, Torah was studied by the patriarchs as well as the Jews in Egypt. On Shavuot, G-d gave us the ability to refine and uplift ourselves and the entire world. To lift up the physical and mundane and make it spiritual and infuse all with a Holiness.
Perhaps this is a reason why living by our Torah Lifestyle even during this time of the COVID-19 virus gives meaning, upliftment and spirituality to our lives.
My friends, let us all enrich our lives by embracing more of our Torah lifestyle and thereby deserve redemption.
Chag sameach – gut Yom Tov.