Stuck Torah

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The Yahrzeit of Reb Baruch of Kosov zl (d. 1781) is commemorated on the 13th of Cheshvan. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

Admonition for the Way of The “Scoffer”

A story of Rabbi Baruch of Kosov, who entered a house of study and saw hot-tempered fighting of this one with that one over issues of religious law, and each one is lording himself over the other with his position and taunting his partner.

“Strange, strange!” mused Rabbi Baruch, “A house of study that is full of torah [that doesn’t ascend].”

A distracted mind of hot-tempered ones.

Rabbi Baruch raised them up.

“Words I said?” says Rabbi Baruch, “Thus did I say:”

“He who studies torah l-shmah / learning for the sake of learning itself, his torah ascends to high places, approaching the throne of glory; the house of study is found emptied.

“But if one studies torah not l-shmah i.e., with some other purpose in mind, then his torah does not ascend to high places, and the house of study is found to be full of torah [that doesn’t ascend].”

(From Every Generation)

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