This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein.
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmothers Channah Freidel Bas Sarah, and Shulamis Bas Etta
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.


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 וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה ●  V’Zos HaBrachah

שִׂמְחַת תּוֹרָה ● Simchas Torah

“Celebrating of the Shattered Luchos” 

Audio version:

     In the very last line of the Torah, in the wake of Moshe Rabbeinu’s death, the Chumash vaguely references the wondrous acts “Asher Asah Moshe L’Einei Kal Yisrael”-“which Moshe had done before the eyes of all of Yisrael” [Devarim 34:12]. This final expression, Rashi points out, is not a general description of Moshe’s deeds, but an allusion to a single act of his in particular, namely, his smashing of the Luchos, the Tablets of the Covenant, in response to Israel’s sin of the Cheit HaEigel, the worshipping of the Golden Calf [Shemos 32:19] (as Moshe Rabbeinu told them [Devarim 9:17], “VaAshabreim L’Eineichem”-“And I shattered them before your eyes”) [based on Sifrei 357, Shabbos 87A].

Indeed, the Torah’s final words understood in this light, we might say, are somber to say the least; certainly not the cause for celebration. However, whenever these words are read publicly, they are, in fact, read amidst the merriment of Simchas Torah, the Ge’onic Yom Tov celebrating our completion of the Torah.

The question is why the Torah would end off on the ironic and unpleasant note of its own seeming demise? And how could we mind this tragedy and then celebrate?

Perhaps we could argue that the passing reference to the shattering of the Luchos is just an unfortunate coincidence which meets us at this Siyum. And yet, perhaps there are many authentic answers and endless lessons to the Torah’s final message and memory. And perhaps, there is a gem hidden in the shards of the shattered Luchos that is worth celebrating. Where is it?

Chazal teach us that even a Talmid Chacham who forgot his Torah in his old age deserves respect as even the shattered Luchos were preserved in the Aron HaKodesh [Brachos 8B]. This point offers some consolation, but hardly a reason for celebration. Forgotten Torah is as great a tragedy as the shattering of the Luchos. In fact, Chazal also teach that if not for the fact that Moshe shattered the Luchos, we would never forget our Torah learning [Eiruvin 54B]! Where in this undoubted tragedy is the means for celebration? What do we gain from the ability to forget our Torah?

The answer is that we gain the need and opportunity for Chazarah, review of our Torah learning. If not for the shattering of the Luchos, we would learn the Torah once and not “need” to do so again to retain it. If we covered the material once, no matter how shallow the coverage was, that would be it. We would never look at it again with fresh eyes and a deeper sense of perspective, context and nuance. We would never achieve the true sweetness of the Torah learning which only comes from breaking ground, shattering our surface understanding and really working to attain and retain our Torah learning. Thus, at each Siyum, we pledge to return with a declaration of Hadran. Thus, on Simchas Torah, we finish V’Zos HaBrachah and return right to Bereishis. We go through a Chazarah process of our Torah and learn it with a greater sense of purpose, authenticity and accuracy the next time around. We learn it with newness and inspiration. That is the Simchah of the shattered Luchos. That is the Simchah of Simchas Torah!

We should be Zocheh to experience the true Simchah of Simchas Torah and the sweetness of Chazarah with true His’chadshus, and grow ever closer to Hashem through our engagement with His Torah forever, well beyond the arrival of the Geulah and the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Chazak! Chazak! V’Nis’chazeik!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg