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Hasmada Without Hesech Hadaas

In Bereishis, Perek Mem tes, posuk chof zayin, the posuk tells us that Yaakov blessed Binyamin by saying he is compared to a wolf that attacks and eats the spoils in the morning and in the evening divides his spoils. Rashi explains that this is referring to the future. “In the morning he eats the spoils resulting from his attack” is referring to the time of Shaul Hamelech, who was a descendant of Binyamin. Shaul Hamelech lived at the beginning of the rise of kings in Klal Yisroel. “In the evening he will divide his spoils” is referring to the time of Mordechai and Esther who also were descendants of Binyamin. They lived at the time of evening, the galus of Bavel. The posuk tells us that he will have spoils in both the morning and the evening. The Targum Unkelos says that the posuk is referring to the Korban Tamid of the morning and evening that will be completely eaten.

From either of the above pshatim we see the importance of continuing our actions from morning until night. This is otherwise referred to as hasmada, learning and doing mitzvos continuously without a stop. Whether or not there is a break makes a difference le’Halacha. If one does the same mitzvah over and over non-stop, without hefsek, once he makes one bracha it covers all the mitzvos. For example, a person only makes birchashaTorah once in the morning and it suffices for the learning of the entire day. Another example would be if one eats and continues to eat the entire day, one would only make one bracha.

What happens if someone is doing a mitzvah continuously but takes a nap in the middle? Does he need to make a new bracha or is the original bracha sufficient? On one hand, the Mishna Berura in siman ches, seifkoton mem bais says if a person takes off his tzitzis while taking a nap, he must make a new bracha on his tzitzis upon awaking. Conversely, if a person sleeps during the day he does not need to make a new birchas haTorah.

It would seem from the above that there is a difference between limud Torah and doing another mitzvah, like tzitzis. When it comes to learning Torah, even if a person goes to nap, he is not meisiach daas (does not stop thinking about it) and will continue to learn when he will awaken. When it comes to the mitzvah of tzitzis, a person could and is meisiach daas from the mitzvah, hence requiring him to make a new bracha.

We see from the above differentiation of how important hasmada and non-stop learning is. Continuous learning is part and parcel of the mitzvah, hence one is not required to make a new bracha. This is so since it is considered as if he is continuously doing the mitzvah through his hasmada and non-stop thinking and waiting to continue learning. It is known that Elyahu Hanavi came to the Remak and told him that it is a big segulah to say the posuk of “There is a fire constantly burning on the mizbeach and should never be extinguished.” The reason it is a segulah is because it teaches us that there is a constant continuity when it comes to the fire of Torah and one is never supposed to be meisiach daas.

It is no wonder that Binyamin, who never sinned, got this bracha of hasmada and was zocheh to have the Bais Hamikdosh built in his portion. May we all be zocheh to attain hasmada and no hesech hadaas.