Yom Kippur : Anybody Can Be A Talmud Chacham!

Our Rosh Hashanah started off "well" when a few hours before it began, we learned that my nine-year-old has Corona, the first of the family.  This, in turn, put him and two of his [unvaccinated] siblings into quarantine for 10 days.  So, they've been stuck at home going crazy.  Then we learned today that my six-year-old now has it, but still not his sister, which means those two are stuck at home for another 10 days.  My poor wife (I find excuses to leave).

Thankfully, children handle Corona well, so it's not a big deal.  My nine-year-old had a fever for two days and we didn't even notice anything with the six-year-old.  The good news is, the religious schools are no longer putting the entire class into quarantine as well, so at least the rest of the kids get to continue to learn (the government is thinking of following such rules).  Being that the vaccine is out for all who want it, and it shows that it works, and kids are not at risk, I'm happy that they are able to continue to live as normally as possible.  I saw quickly a headline in one of the papers that said, "The Health Ministry has found that 30 percent of children with COVID, have suffered and fallen behind, yet they are not sure if it's from COVID itself, or war, or terrorism, or being kept at home and not going to school."  I love that line.

Other than that, Rosh Hashanah was nice, and we're looking forward to Sukkos, and more importantly, after Sukkos, when EVERYBODY FINALLY goes back to school.

In the meantime, a special thank you to Moishe Murray for sponsoring the hosting of Frum.org for the next year and a half.  Being the hosting of the code that keeps the dvrei Torah online and sends it out every week is in his merit!

Rabbeinu Yona writes, "Delaying repentance is found only among the ignorant, who are fast asleep and do not take their situation to heart, they lack the intelligence and insight to quickly save their souls.  Some of them are removed from Hashem; they do not believe that the consequences of sin is punishment. [In contrast to this] the Gemara (Berachos 19a) says, 'If you see a talmid chacham who committed a sin at night, do not harbor thoughts against him by day, for surely he has repented.'"

Rav Shimshon Pincus learns something interesting from this.  If a talmid chacham is somebody who does tshuva immediately, then a person who does not, is considered an am haaretz and ignoramus.  Usually, when we hear the term "am haaretz" we think of somebody who does not learn or know Torah.  However, from here we see that even a person who sits and learns and knows a lot of Torah can be called an am haaretz if he does not do tshuva as soon as he can.  That seems pretty heavy!  Why is that?

Because the difference between a real talmid chacham and a real am haaretz is not so much on how much Torah they know, but rather it's based on their relationship with the Torah and Hashem Himself.

When a person sins, whether willfully or not, he distances himself from Hashem.  When a person does a mitzvah, and certainly the mitzvah of tshuvah, he moves closer to Hashem.  So even if a person knows the Torah backwards and forwards, if he sins and puts off or refuses to do tshuvah, he is in essence saying "What do I care if I'm close to Hashem or not?"  How could such a person be called a talmid chacham?

When we learn Torah, our goal is not simply to acquire knowledge.  Rather it is to use that knowledge to perfect our mitzvos and perfect ourselves to move closer to Hashem.  So, even if a person is not so well versed in the Torah, it's possible that such a person, as long as he is moving in the right direction, could be called a talmid chacham.  While the person who knows it all, but is not so interested in a relationship with Hashem, is called an am haaretz.

 With this mindset, we can properly go into Yom Kippur that will change us for the upcoming year.