Not the Same Torah by Michael Winner/7/16/2021 On the way into the kollel last week, I was listening to a shiur by Rav Yaakov Leonard. He was speaking about Tisha B'Av and some of his thoughts on it.He pointed out the fact that out of 613 mitzvos, most of them are completely not applicable today. They are connected to the Beis HaMikdash or Kingship or our control over Eretz Yisroel. /the Torah today is only a fraction of the Torah that we used to have. I believe it was the Vilna Gaon (though I'm not sure, it wasn't clear), who said that if Torah "died" when the Second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, then during the time of Rav Ashi, who "sealed" the compilation of the Talmud Bavli, the Torah's skin and muscles were already eaten away, and all that was left were the bones. If during the time of Rav Ashi, which was what? 500-600 years after the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash, the Torah that was left was just the skeleton, what is that status of Torah today? We need not look farther then comparing the state of Torah before the Holocaust and afterwards. Those that were frum and learned, were on a far, far higher level of learning than we learn today. A teenager learning all of Shas was still something that was considered normal. Nowadays … thank G-d, teenagers are learning … but for most, they still need to push themselves just to sit and open a Gemara. A friend of mine once told me that he met an older man, who, as a young man, learned in the famed Mir Yeshivah, "back in the day." He told my friend that he didn't understand why men had to sit in kollel all day to learn, in order to learn properly. Why couldn't he understand it? Because he would get up early in the morning, learn for a few hours, daven, go to work for a full day, go home quickly, and go back to learn for several more hours. He probably put as much quality time in his learning as a full-time kollel member, and certainly his fellow "working men." In Aleppo, Syria, just a hundred years ago, there was an entire community of workers, pulling such a schedule every day. Your average "working man" was on some level, a real talmid chacham! But … we can't do that today. Our Torah is not the same as theirs. Our level, our Torah, is not the same as it was 100 years ago. What was it like 500 years ago? 1000 years ago? We have no idea. We cannot visualize such a thing, since we have no concept. However, they say that Moshiach is born on Tisha B'Av. Why? Because, when we take a serious accounting on where we are are holding, and when we have a yearning for "time of yore," then we infuse hope and growth into ourselves and into the nation as a whole. When we leave Tisha B'Av, with one small glimmer of change that we want to make a connection with the Torah of the past, we help build the future.Have a wonderful Shabbos and a meaningful Tisha B'Av.