19 Apr The Power of Mishnayos
In our Friday night Kiddush, we intone, “Ki vo shabbas mikol melachto asher bora Elokim laasos – For on the Shabbos day Hashem rested from all the work which He created to continue performing.” The simple meaning of asher bora Elokim laasos is that Hashem created a perfect world to continue perpetuating itself. Like the rain cycle, the orbit of the sun, the lunar activity, the ecology of the planet and so on. Of course, it is still powered every day by the will of Hashem. As we say, He is “Mechadeish b’chol yom tomid maaseh bereishis – He renews the acts of creation every day.” But, this renewal is with the equipment that Hashem put into place during the six days of creation.
Rav Avidgor Miller, Zt”l, Zy”a, shares another meaning. Asher bora Elokim laasos: Hashem created man to be productive, to constantly be usefully industrious. It is for this reason that when a couple would come to Rabbi Miller with marital problems, the first thing he would investigate was whether the husband was employed, because a man who isn’t working and is not productive is deeply unfulfilled and is liable to be an unhappy camper. And, an unhappy person is usually not a successful partner.
However, I would like to speak about a third interpretation which I recently saw in the new Hagaddah (a must read) of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Zt”l, Zy”a, the great Rav of Yerushalyim. He reveals that the word ‘laasos’ has a gematria of 806, the same gematria as the word Mishnayos. I believe this teaches us that one of the primary reasons that man was created was to learn Mishnayos. This is consistent with a thought of the Kitzur Shulchan Orech who states that the study of Mishna is of supreme importance since Mishna has the same letters as neshama, our soul. Thus, the very purpose of the essence of our live is to spend time learning the Mishna.
If you say to yourself, “I don’t have time for Mishnayos,” ask yourself, “Do I have time for the Yankees or the Mets?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you certainly can find time for Nashim and Nezikin, Moed and Kodshim, and yes, for Zera’im and Taharos as well. And if you say, “I certainly don’t have time for the Yankees and the Mets,” let me give you an incentive to find time for Mishnayos. In his preface, the Medrash Talpios reveals to us that Yakov’s son, Asher, positions himself at the portal of Gehenom and doesn’t let anyone enter who regularly studied Mishnayos. The Medrash proves this from the verse, “Mei’Asher shmeina lachmo,” and the Hebrew word shmeina has the same letters as the word Mishna, thus biblically connecting Asher to Mishnayos.
Now, I’m pretty sure that most of my readers are not foolish enough to think that they’re lily-white. Rather, they are very aware that after 120 years, they will have to account for much naughty behavior: The occasional lapse of Lashon Hara, raised voices against a spouse or a parent, the neglect of Torah, the lack of concentration in prayer. Which of us would not want to invest in fire-protection against the scary flames of hell? Thus, each and every one of us should find sometime during the day or the night to have a daily dosage of Mishnayos power. (I invite you to join my study of the global Mishna Yomis where you can learn with me two Mishnas each day in less than 15 minutes. You can hear the Mishna Yomis by dialing my direct number on Kol Haloshon at 718-906-6471 or you can hear it on TorahAnytime.com as well.)
In the merit of learning Mishnayos, may Hashem bless us and our loved ones with long live, good health, and everything wonderful.
Please learn and daven for the refuah sheleima of Miriam Liba bas Devorah, b’soch shaar cholei Yisroel.