Torah Portion of the Week – Beshalach – How Faith Leads to Belief – Total Trust in God – A Powerful Parable about the Fancy Dishes – A Great Story about Rav Shach and Peace in Your Home – Maintaining ties to Beni Torah
The Torah Podcast Transcript
087 The Torah Podcast – How Faith Leads To Belief – Total Trust In God
Torah Portion of the Week – Beshalach
The verses start out like this. What’s happened here, you have a verse, chapter 14, verse number 13. This is when Bnei Yisroel are running away from Mitzrayim, and they reach the ocean. And Moses says to the people, “Do not fear. Stand fast, and see the salvation of Hashem, that He will perform wonders for you today. For that which you have seen in Egypt today, you shall never see them again. Hashem will do battle for you, and you shall remain silent.” Hashem said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Speak to the Children of Israel and let them journey. And you, lift up your staff and stretch out your arm over the Sea, and split it.” And the Children of Israel came to the midst of the Sea on dry land. And behold, I shall strengthen the heart of Egypt and they will come after them. And it will be glorified through Pharaoh, and through his entire army, through his chariots and through his horsemen. Egypt will know that I am Hashem, when I am glorified through Pharaoh and his chariots, and his horses.
So what happened is, the Jewish people came to the Yam, they came to kriyas Yam Suf and they were scared. And Hashem said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me?” Moses also started to pray. Rashi explains that Moses was praying for too long. It says, Hashem said to him, “Speak to the Children of Israel, and let them journey.” If you look in the Midrash there, they were really stuck. The Midrash says, “The army was behind them.” The army was coming after them, the entire Egyptian army, with their chariots, they’re coming from behind. “To the side, there were wild animals.” That’s what the Midrash says. “They looked up to heaven and they saw the angel of the Egyptians coming to protect the Egyptians. And in front of them was the Yam, so where were they supposed to go? And that’s exactly what the Ohr haChayim says. He asks, “What is God’s answer? Speak to the Children of Israel, so that they should move on.” What is that supposed to mean? Where were they supposed to go? They couldn’t go behind, or go into the ocean. They’re just supposed to walk into the ocean? So he answers, “We have an tradition based on Deuteronomy that says, You have weakened the rock which has begot you. That God’s respective attributes are strengthened or weakened in accordance with the deeds that we do, or that we don’t do, here on earth.’ Hashem was saying to Moshe, tell them to go forward, so that I could activate my attribute of mercy and perform the miracle that I have in mind. And He said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying to me, because the matter is not in my hands. The Jewish people themselves have to go forward. If they don’t go forward, I’m not going to be able to use my attribute of mercy.’” It’s “as if”, obviously Hashem could do whatever He wants. But that’s the way He built the world. He built the world that if the Jewish people do the right thing, so then His energies could come down and save them. So, He was telling Moses to tell the Jewish people to go forward.
And the Rabbeinu Bachye explains like this. “They only needed to demonstrate a little faith by moving forward. They are to journey from below to above, and the sea will part as a result. They were to call on the reserves of faith and elevate themselves to the level of Hashem.” In other words, if they would have had more faith, then the sea would have split by itself, and that’s exactly what happened. Because they had the faith and they went forward, and Moses told them to go forward, so they went forward and the Sea split. But it’s because of their faith.
And what does Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch say? The first step must be taken by them. They must first show themselves deserving of salvation, demonstrating their trust in God, a trust that leads to courage and fearless action. First, let them go forward and march into the Sea without reservation or concern. Only then will God pave the way to salvation. It’s only once they go forward that God’s going to step in.” Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch says the same thing. So really, if we have faith when we’re stuck, when we’re in a situation that’s very difficult, if we have faith, then Hashem will help us.
And you’ve got to hear this. This is Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, “Each one was saying, ‘I’m not going first.’ Each tribe was saying, ‘I don’t want to go first, I don’t want to go first. What happened? Kofetz Nachshon ben Amidav, Nachshon jumped forward and he went into the Yam. V’zoche meshum lehakrivas korban rishon, and because of that, he was zoche, he had the merit to bring the first korban, sacrifice. Why? It says, mi she kiddush shemi be’Yam, hu yakriv tehilla. The one who was mekadash the name of God at the Yam, he’s going to be the first one to bring the korban, to bring the sacrifice at the Mishkan, Temple.” So, Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz answers. He says, “Listen it’s strange.” He says, “We know that the Jewish people have built into them the ability to be mesirus nefesh, to give themselves over to death for the sake of God. Where do we see that? We know that Avraham Avinu, our father, went into the kivshon haaish, fiery furnace. We know that Yitzhak, his son, was willing to die on the altar for the sake of God, because God said so. So, why all of a sudden do we see that none of the Jewish people want to go forward into the Yam? That’s the situation. They’re coming from behind. God’s telling them to go forward, so go forward. What’s the problem?”
Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz says a beautiful chiddush. He says like this – a beautiful, new idea. He says, “Aino chinami, it’s true, l’hachnis l’Yam kedai lemesiras nafsho lemiso,” if the whole point was they were supposed to go into the Yam, they were supposed to go in and they were supposed to give over their souls, then it’s true, that they could have done. But He was really asking something else. God was asking something else. “Ela shehem misdava lehikanes leYam al menas l’hatzil.” Hashem was asking them, “Go into the Yam and you’re going to be saved.” They had a hard time with that. Likvos letoch kedai lechayos, jump in in order to live. It’s different. To jump in and know they’re going to die, okay they’re going to die. But what’s going on here? Very strange – we’re supposed to go into the Yam and we’re going to live? All of a sudden nature is going to change? And we’re supposed to think the sea is like dry land? To get to this madrega, this was a higher level. Only Nachshon ben Amidav, he is the only one that had that level. He’s the one who went foward, and he brought out God’s name by doing this, by having that faith.
The question is, what is the character that he had? What emotions did he have in order to be able to do this act? So, he wants to explain, there’s a possuk that says – here, I have the possuk quoted here, “Go out and call to the ears of Jerusalem, saying so, that I the Lord shall remember the lovingkindness of your youth, the love of your nuptials. You followed me into the desert, a land not sown.” So, the Jewish people when they went into the desert, they went in without even realizing it was a desert. This is what Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz says, I mean that’s Chazal. So he explains, “Le lo hargish klal,” because remember, I didn’t feel at all that it was a desert. We’re talking about people, women, children. All of them, all the Jewish people went into the desert and they didn’t think twice about it. Ain lifnaihem eleh Hakadosh Baruch Hu, they only thought about God. They didn’t think about food, water, shelter. They didn’t think of anything. Velo lesim lev lematzev havelatzam, they didn’t pay any attention to what was going on around them. The moshul is the famous moshul, parable, anesei vezorosei ima, like a baby in its mother’s arms, a baby in its mother’s arms doesn’t realize where he is. Wherever he goes, he’s in his mother’s arms. This is what the Jewish people felt when they went into the desert. They followed God into the desert to leave Mitzrayim. He’s saying, this is the type of emunah, this is the type of faith that a person has to have. Even though there are wild animal and thieves on the way, he has to feel like he’s a baby in his mother’s arms.
Listen to this proof. There’s a Gemara in Shabbos that says like this. We know on Shabbos there’s the 39 types of work that on Shabbos you’re not allowed to do. But it’s not just regular work. It’s the work that they did in the time of the Mishkan, when they built the Tabernacle. All the work, the types of work that they used to build the Tabernacle, that work you’re not allowed to do on Shabbos. So, one of them is to destroy things, to dissemble. They dissembled the tents and they moved it. So it says, “When you dissemble something, the only way that you were over a negative prohibition of Shabbos, is if you have a mind to rebuilt it in the same spot. So, the Gemara asks, “Wait a second. They took it apart to move it, to go to a different place. It’s a different spot. So, how can it be that they’re desecrating the Shabbos?” The answer is no. They only went to a different place because Hashem said, “Okay, now everybody has to move.” And since they went to a different place that Hashem said it’s like they didn’t move. A tremendous chiddush, but thats what the Gemara says. Keso solmanas levos makom domeh, it’s like they built it in the same place. It’s same thing as a baby in its mother’s arms. A baby doesn’t know where he is. It doesn’t matter where he is. No matter where he is, he is always in his mother’s arms. And this is the quality of faith that the Jewish people had when they went into the Yam, when they went into the ocean. They didn’t know what’s going to be. Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz says, they weren’t commanded to kill themselves. They were commanded to live, to walk into the ocean and live. And they went in with such tremendous faith that the ocean split for them.
Now, the famous Beis HaLevy from Parshas Bereishis explains the splitting of the Red Sea. He says, “The Jews attained the first level of fear when they were in Egypt. But at the Red Sea, they were propelled by tangible evidence, and they reached the second level which in the future, the Jewish people will reach again when the Mashiach comes. The water hardened beneath their feet and it formed an arch over their heads, and there were walls and sides, like the Avos de Rebbe Nosson says. They glimpsed Hashem’s relationship with the creation itself, first hand because it says, “Until God split the Red Sea, there really was no fear of Hashem.” They didn’t have fear of Hashem. It was only with the splitting of the Red Sea that they received the real fear of God. It says like this. “Once a person realizes that any other potential threat has no ability to exist because why? Because God’s creating everything. So, He’s not afraid of anything else. Hashem is constantly bringing into being. Walking through the Sea is no more frightening than walking on land. Once you realize that God is the one controlling everything, so what’s the difference where you go? You’re like the baby in your mother’s arms. Even if he’s threatened by a harmful beast, he doesn’t have any fear, for they have no intrinsic power. For they are also created anew at every moment.” And this is why it says, a beautiful thing. “In the days of the Mashiach fear is going to disappear. All fears except for the fear of God aren’t going to exist in the time of the Mashiach. Like the verse verse in Yeshayahu says, ‘The wolf will live with the sheep.’ What does it mean? It means the sheep will not be afraid of the wolf. Why will the sheep not be afraid? Because everybody is going to be afraid of Hashem since God is going to be revealed. So, everybody’s going to understand that they were being created by their Creator. “Hashem said, ‘Tell the Jewish people they should go forward with no fear in their hearts.’ And because they did so, they were worthy of seeing the Sea split, which enabled them to perceive clearly this dimension of Hashem’s relationship with the world, and fix firmly this mode of fear in their hearts. Like the verse says, ‘Do not fear.’ Do not fear anything else. ‘Stand and see the salvation of God.’” It’s unbelievable.
What did the Jews see at kriyas Yam Suf? They saw that the world is totally digital. Hashem is creating the entire creation at every moment. Hashem is the one controlling everything. He’s the one making the creation. There’s no difference between the dry land and the wet sea – no difference. And this is like what I spoke about last week, in last week’s Parsha. It said, “Hashem told Moses to offer the korban Pesach.” So, Moses couldn’t understand. How are we going to shecht the lamb in front of the Mitzrim, Egyptians? This is their God. We’re going to sacrifice this lamb in front of them? How’s it going to be? So, Hashem said to him, “By your life, Yisroel will not depart from Egypt until they sacrifice this pagan deity before their very eyes.” Also, they had to realize that only Hashem was the one controlling everything. But you see, the point really is, that faith leads to belief. If a person has faith and he goes forward, then he’ll have actual belief, because he’ll perceive it with his own eyes. The Jewish people perceived it with their own eyes.
Now, you’ve got to hear this – this is great. We know on the first night of Pesach that they faith. And on the seventh day which was the Yam, they perceived Hashem. They saw with their own eyes that God ruled over the ocean, that God can take the ocean and make it into dry land. But on the first night of Pesach when they left, then they also had faith, but they didn’t have the true fear of God. And it also corresponds, to the seven days from the first night of Pesach until the splitting of the Sea. What does that correspond to? The seven days of creation. “Just as I created the world and told Yisroel to remember the Shabbos, remember the creation. The creation was created on the first day, and on the seventh day God rested. So too, they should remember the miracles that I performed for them in Egypt.” And he said, “Corresponding to the seven days between the redemption and splitting of the Sea were the seven days of creation of the Shabbos.” It’s unbelievable, because Shabbos is also a time of realizing that God is the Master of the Universe. We stop working, we stop doing everything and we just let God do His thing, and we sing before God. That’s exactly what happened at kriyas Yam Suf, we sang before God. Oz yashir Moshe. And this is what the Sefas Emes is saying. The Sefas Emes says, “Hashem’s presence in the world was revealed to all observers. The Benei Yisroel saw the intervention of human affairs, and they would sing shira. For the moment at least, the fact that Hashem was hidden was gone. The hester was completely gone.” The Jews at kriyas Yam Suf saw God with their own eyes. Ze keli veanavehu, keilu – they pointed, but God doesn’t have a body, obviously. But it’s like they pointed to God and they saw him. This is what happened at kriyas Yam Suf.
Now, look at this. When Moses and the Jewish people sang expressing the recognition that all existence comes from Hashem, they evoked a similar reaction throughout the creation. The whole cosmos recognized it. That they also exist only because of Hashem, and that Hashem, God gives life to the entire universe every single day and the entire universe started to sing. When the Jewish people started to sing at the Yam, he says the entire Universe also started to sing. And if that’s true, from then on they continued to sing, so why don’t we hear it? Because we’re not tuned into it. You’ve got to hear this, this is unbelievable. So too on Shabbos that’s why we sing Shabbos songs, because Shabbos is a time where we realize there’s a Master of the Universe, because we don’t do any work. We don’t do anything, we’re not allowed to drive. We’re not allowed to turn on electricity. We can go for walks, we can enjoy ourselves, because we recognize that Hashem rested on that day. What’s rested? A thing and it’s opposite. Hashem created the creation during the seven days, and on the seventh day he rested. But if we sing songs – you’ve got to hear this – he says, If we sing songs on Shabbos, we can extend the Shabbos into the week. Which means the same kind of idea that we said before. Just like you had the level of faith that didn’t lead to belief, it was only after the seventh day when the Jews actually were at the splitting of the Red Sea, that they got to the level of faith, to the level of belief. So too, on Shabbos you can take that Shabbos and extend it into the week. It’s really working the opposite way. The Shabbos is a time of belief, and you can extend it by singing on Shabbos. You can extend it into the rest of the week, where you may not only have faith and you don’t really have belief, but you can strengthen yourself. That’s what it means. He wants to say this about kedushah, holiness. If all the Jews would just keep one Shabbos, the Meshiach would come. That’s what Chazal tells us. In other words, you have the Shabbos, the kedushah, the holiness of Shabbos would extend beyond Shabbos, so then the Mesiah would come.
This is the question of faith. Now practically, how does this whole thing work out? You’ve got to hear this, this is Rav Moshe Feinstein. Rav Moshe Feinstein says, “Just like the verse we said earlier, ‘Hashem said to Moses, why do you cry out to Me? Go speak to the Children of Israel, let them go forward.’ And we explained that this meant that they should have had faith. They came to the Yam, they came to the Sea and there was nowhere to go. If they faith, the Sea would have split. Eventually, they did have faith and they went forward and the Sea split.” And the Beis HaLevi explained that when the Sea split, they saw God creating the creation. They saw the world being digital – not analog, digital. Every second, the world’s being created – every second. You are being created, the planets are being created. Hashem is creating the creation at every moment. And they saw it, they saw that. The way they got to that level, the whole chiddush of the first path where we saw all the different meforshim explain, the way that they got to that level was the faith that they had to go forward. The way it works is, we saw the Chazal that said, “God put in man’s hands, that if man goes forward, then God will help him. If man doesn’t go forward, man doesn’t have faith, so God’s not going to help him. But if man himself goes forward, then God will do miracles for him in situations where he couldn’t believe that he’d be able to do such a thing.” This is what Rav Moshe Feinstein says. He says, “Therefore, anyone who is capable of teaching Torah is required to do so, because why? Because just as Moses knew Hashem would rescue the Jews from the Egyptian army, pressing them against the Sea, also a Torah educator must know that since Hashem promised that the Torah will not be forgotten by the Jewish people, so for sure his efforts will not fail. This also applies to any mitzvah. Any good deed that a person feels and understand that this is the right thing for him to do, he should not give up. He should not feel that he doesn’t have enough money, that he has all kinds of excuses, “I can’t do this, and I can’t do that.” It’s just there as a test. That was the test of kriyas Yam Suf. If a person goes forward, Hashem will open up the Yam, the ocean, in front of him. If you go forward, Hashem will help you. This is the faith. This is what we learned by kriyas Yam Suf. This is the lesson that we learned from kriyas Yam Suf, that when things are difficult, if we go forward, Hashem will help us. And if we don’t go forward, fine, we don’t go forward. Hashem gives you a situation, God gives you a situation. If you go forward, God helps you. But if you give up, you don’t do anything, so, you don’t go forward. But if you would go forward, so then God would help you.
It’s a very scary situation. Why is it so scary? It’s scary because you think that why you failed was really just because you gave up, but not because you were lacking the capability. And really, maybe you were lacking the capability. But if you would have gone forward, God would have given you extra strength to go forward. God would have helped you, and given you extra super capabilities, because there’s tremendous potential inside of every human being. We don’t know how much potential we have. We have tremendous potential. We just get stuck by our own belief systems. But if we have the faith to go forward, God will help us more and He’ll give us more faith. If you have experience, success breeds success. If you go forward you’re successful in the small thing which you thought you couldn’t do and then you say, “Well, I could do that,” so then the next level is when you go further and further. You’ll be able to get more and more success.
A Powerful Parable
The verse said, “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance of Hashem, and He will perform for you this day.” The same verse as before. He says, “One time a wealthy man had an only daughter. He was looking for this perfect guy for his daughter. He found a guy, but he was really a very poor guy, but also a very good guy. He was what they were looking for. So, everyone praised this father-in-law. They told him, “Listen, this guy’s very rich. He has all kinds of things. He’s got this wonderful collection of dishes. They have precious gems in them, he has all these things.” So, the boy decided fine, they were happy with him and he was happy with them, and he was going to marry now his daughter.
At the engagement party, the father-in-law took out all these fancy dishes. So, the chassan, he wasn’t so used to such good food. The food was unbelievable. He was eating all the good food. He didn’t even notice at all the elegant dishes, he was so busy eating. Sometime later, a couple of months go by. The chassan says, ‘You know, I heard that you have these beautiful collection of dishes. I would like to see them.’ So, the rich man was stunned. He said, ‘What do you mean? Didn’t you see it at your engagement party? We brought out all the dishes, the beautiful dishes with gems in them.’ He didn’t even notice the dishes, and he was embarrassed that he didn’t notice the dishes at all. They were so busy eating.” That was the moshul, that was the parable. What’s the nimshal, what it is comparable to?
It says that the Jewish people were so subdued by the suffering that they had from the Egyptians for so many years, they were so terrified at the Yam when the Egyptians were running after them. They were so terrified, they didn’t pay any attention that Hashem was saving them. Like the verse says, “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance of Hashem, which He will perform for you this day.” In other words, don’t be distracted. Look and observe the great miracle that God is going to do for you. But the Jewish people, they were so scared of the Egyptians, they didn’t realize that God was doing a miracle for them.
Great Stories – Rav Shach
Rav Shach was the greatest Rabbi of the last generation. During the Gulf War, there were many missiles that fell around Bnai Brak where Rav Shach lived. So, one time Rav Shach was giving a lecture to the entire yeshiva, and he was teaching Talmud. When he was teaching, he had a tremendous idea. He was so excited he said to them, “The idea I just told you is a foundation and even has the power to push a missile into the sea.” This is a true story – at the end of the lecture, all of a sudden the air raid sirens go off. All the students run into the bomb shelters. Rav Shach was too tired, he stayed upstairs. He didn’t go downstairs. And then they all came back when the air raid cleared and they all prayed the evening prayers, maariv, and then everybody went home. When Rav Shach got home, he asked his family, “By the way, do you know where the missile fell?” They said, “Yeah, it fell into the sea.”
Peace in Your Home
Rav Moshe Aaron Stern speaks about peace in your home, and he speaks about maintaining ties to bnai Torah. It’s very important, even if a person is not so religious, to be connected to religious people. And he says, “That’s a thing that can change a Jew’s house around. The Chazon Ish said…” He brings the Chazon Ish. “Today’s Yeshivas are the wilderness to which we flee. The Ramban said, ‘If the whole world is evil, the Jews should flee to the wilderness and live over there, and just not be involved in the world.’ Today, the yeshivas are the wilderness to which the Jews flee.’” We have to run to the yeshivas. So, Rav Hutner said, “The Torah mentions in the Torah itself, there’s two structures. There’s the Mishkan, this was the Tabernacle that the Jews built in the desert, and there’s a teiva. That was the ark that Noah built. When do we have the Mishkan? When everything was good, when the Jews were not being persecuted. There wasn’t all kinds of craziness in the world. So then, we had the Mishkan. We could serve God with the Mishkan. But the teva was when the flood raged outside, there was a tremendous flood. And therefore, everybody had to run inside of the teva. So he says, “The yeshivas are like the teva of Noah. When there’s a flood outside, when the influence is too great to stay holy, to stay kadosh, and it’s too difficult for us, we have to run to the yeshiva.” So therefore, if you have person who needs to go to work because he can’t make it in the yeshiva, so he has to go to work, he has a big family, he doesn’t have any other form of support, so therefore what does he have to do? He has to make sure he keeps connection to yeshivas. It’s been proven many times that the connection with Torah and shiurim and chevrusas turn the house into a entirely different place. Women, make sure your husbands sit and learn. Make sure you have a connection to the Torah. If you don’t have a connection to the Torah, you’re going to go down. The level is going to go down.
Even a person who’s sat in yeshiva for years, even a scholar, if he goes to work and doesn’t keep connection with Torah, his spiritual level is going to go down. He brings a beautiful proof, you’ve got to hear this. There’s a famous story of Yossie Meshayseh. What happened with him? The Romans were scared to go inside the Beis Hamigdash, when they destroyed the Beis Hamigdash, the Temple, the Romans were too scared to go inside. So, what happened? They convinced him, you go inside. You’re a Jew – he was Jewish. He wasn’t scared. He went inside, and he brought out the Menorah. And they said to him, “Listen, this is not fair. You have to go back inside a second time, and bring out something else.” So, he refused to go back inside the Temple, and he died al kiddush Hashem. They killed him, just because he refused to go in.
So, the Ponevitcher Rav they asked, “Wait a second. This guy was such a bad guy that he was willing to go in and help the Romans steal the kelim, from the Beis Hamigdash, all the vessels, the gold and the silver out of the Beis Hamigdash, because the Romans were scared.” He was a Jewish guy, who was willing to go inside and take all the stuff, and bring it out of the Temple and give it to them. He also got a piece of the action, but he was willing to do it. What happened all of a sudden with this guy? They say he died al kiddush Hashem. He sacrificed his life for the sake of God. The answer is, because he went in the first time. Since he went in the first time, the influence was so great inside of the Temple, he realized when he came out, “What am I doing?” He got a spark of holiness. He realized that, “I’m doing the wrong thing,” and he was willing to die al kiddush Hashem. He was willing to sacrifice his life to not go back in. So, even a few minutes in the Beis Hamigdash altered his personality. This is what the Ponevitcher Rav said.
So too, the same thing. You have to keep a connection with religious people. If you’re not religious, you must be connected with religious people because they’ll influence you. He also brings a proof from Shmuel HaNavi about Shaul. It said, “Shaul one time, he removed his royal clothing and went among the prophets.” What happened? He himself started to become a prophet. He started to prophesize. It’s like the Chazal says, that if you go into a perfume shop even for a couple of minutes, you come out smelling good. If you go into a tannery, you come out smelling bad. There is a thing called influence. A person has to be very careful how he’s influenced. Therefore, a person has to fix a fixed time. Every Jew has to fix a time to sit and learn Torah. If you don’t sit and learn, you’re not going to be influenced.
He told a story, one time there was a milkman, a Jewish milkman. He said, “He took this job just because he knew in this neighborhood he was going to deliver milk to the yeshivas. Since he’s going to deliver milk to the yeshivas, he’s going to be influenced by the yeshiva. That’s why he took that job.” And the Torah itself, the Ashich wrote the Torah itself could protect a person from all the impurities of this world. Because, what happens? Once a person does bittul Torah, we know that if a person is suffering and doesn’t know why, so it’s said that he has to think that it’s bittul Torah, and he wasted time. He had time where he could have sat and learned, and he didn’t learn. But it’s not exactly like that. It’s like the Torah protected him, and since the Torah protected him, if you took away the Torah, he starts to get punished for all of his other sins. In other words, what does it mean that if a person sees that bad things are happening to him, that he has to think that it’s bittul Torah? It’s not the bittul Torah itself, aino chinami. It’s also true that bittul Torah itself is a very big avera, wasting time when you could have grown spiritually, you could have influenced yourself. You could have uplifted yourself, and you wasted your time. That is a very big sin. But it’s more than that. The fact that you didn’t uplift yourself during that time it is going to bring all your other sins to the foreground.
He brings a moshul like this. He says, “One time the king had a court musician, who gave tremendous pleasure to him. People informed this king, ‘Hey, wait a second. This musician, he did adultery. He robbed, he murdered, he spoke against the king.’ But the king said, ‘Listen, anybody who touches the musician, he’s going to get killed. Don’t touch him.’ What happened? One time, the musician got in a fight with somebody and the guy drew a sword and cut the musician’s right hand off. After that, the musician couldn’t play music. What happened? When the musician showed up, the king killed the musician.” Because really, the guy deserved to die but as long as he was able to play music and give pleasure to the king, so the king left him alone.
Also, if a person sits and learns Torah so Hashem says, “Listen, leave him alone. It’s true he has all kinds of sins, all kinds of bad things. But I get so much pleasure from him learning Torah. The fact that he’s trying. He wants to grow, he wants to uplift himself. I get pleasure from that.” So, he lets him live and all of his sins, he pushes off to the side.
Rabbi Eliyahu Mitterhoff