Dvar Torah for Parshat Matot-Masei
Based on Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom #67
“Lift the head” (Numbers 31:26). Rashi comments: Take an account.
Almost everybody who’s heard of Rebbe Nachman knows that he often stressed the practice of hitbodedut, taking time every day to talk to God in your own words about whatever in your life needs talking about.
A part of what one needs to talk about is, “How am I living? Am I going in the right direction? Making intelligent choices?”
To answer these questions we need wisdom. We need to seek it and then—not ignore it! All of us are learning Torah: we receive e-mail dvar Torahs, youtube classes, podcasts and Tweets. (Did I leave anything out? Yes.) Occasionally we actively feed ourselves by learning the good old-fashioned way. We open a sefer, a Torah book, and learn on our own.
It’s certainly worth every moment and every penny we spend to put Torah wisdom into our heads. But what happens with that wisdom? Do we hoard it, like an impulse purchase bought because it was on sale and then bring home to collect dust? Or do we use it to make our lives more Jewish?
The verse “Lift the head” refers to the spoils of war. In your battle to live an evermore Jewish life, you’ve succeeded in snatching some Jewish wisdom. Now, go lift your head! Take an account! You’ve pushed some Torah into your mind. Don’t stop! Lift your head and exercise that wisdom. Stop thinking of it as “kosher entertainment” and put it to work. Take it off the page and ask, “What is this teaching me about my life? How can I use it to make me more Jewish?”
Those Jewish sages you’ve studied offer you an opportunity to live a more dignified, refined life. It’s a great first step to use your time to learn what they have to say. But you must be pro-active. You must take stock to make sure that your life is organized in a wise fashion, so that your time and environment pulse with Torah. You have to make time for hitbodedut.
© Copyright 2009 Breslov Research Institute