Thirsty for Torah

Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Parshas Lech Lecha

Everyone of us over the age of thirty have heard from our doctor. “Drink eight glasses of water a day or you will be sorry.” How many people do it? Maybe for a day. The Vilna Gaon explains that the nature of water is such that it requires thirst. One can drink soda, coffee or almost any beverage but in order to drink water in any abundance requires thirst.

Torah is compared to water. We can try to push as much Torah as we wish onto ourselves our children and the community. It won’t work unless there is a thirst. We can write books, have web sites, make libraries, CD’s, it won’t work. There has to be a thirst, and when there is a thirst, anything will work. We provide all the answers, but if nobody is asking the questions the answers will go unheard. Rashi wrote on the whole Torah by the light of one candle, without a Word processor. Men and women studied Torah under the most adverse conditions, because they had the thirst. Today we have the best bait in the world, but no one will take that bait unless they are thirsting for it. How many people have asked me to talk to their sister or their cousin? It won’t work unless there is a thirst.

There will be ten famines in the world. One of them took place during the time of Avraham Avinu and it forced him to leave Eretz Yisroel. There were eight others. The last will take place prior to the coming of the Moshiach. It was prophesized by the Prophet Amos. He said “Days are coming when there will be a famine in the world. This last hunger will not be for bread and the thirst will not be for water, but it will be to hear the word of G-d”. This last famine explains the Medrash is the most difficult of all the famines. Kashe Shebakulan.

This is an interesting prophecy. It would seem that the Amos should rather predict a time of great Torah learning, a renaissance. This last famine is the famine we’ve been waiting for. They will finally be standing in line, but it won’t be a bread line, it will be a kedusha line. Everyone will be looking for a way to catch a glimpse or to hear a word. To say that we won’t be able to deliver is a bit too cynical. After all there are thousands of young men and women on various levels eager to teach the Dvar Hashem. So why is this the most difficult of all? Why is it considered a famine, which has such a negative connotation?

The answer is that the abundance of Torah is not the issue but rather its absorbency into the generation. We have to deliver what they are thirsty for! Without thirst all the water in the world will not absorb. Amos is talking to us; there is a thirst in the world, address the thirst. Offer the product the world is thirsting for.

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