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Pirkei Avot-Chodesh Av-Clarity Print E-mail

Three-Weeks-Churban-Mourning-Temple“If one learns as a child, what is it like? It is like ink written on clean paper. If one learns as an old man, what is it like? It is like ink written on blotted paper (Pirkei Avot 4:25). The holy Koretzer asked, “why discourage the older man?” The teaching may be understood in the following manner: One who learns as a child, namely as one who concentrates his thoughts on that which he is learning, and has no foreign thoughts at the time, is compared to ink written on clean paper; his learning will be engraved upon his mind, and in his heart. Thus, even an old man may learn as a child, if he displays the necessary concentration (Nofet Tzufim, page 58).

 

Jeremiah opens the third chapter of Lamentations bemoaning how difficult it has become for him to think with any clarity. He, speaking for the people, describes how the turmoil and suffering have caused them to be confused and distracted. The Koretzer would describe Jeremiah's lament as that of the old man described earlier; it is impossible for him to access his learning for his wisdom has faded in his turmoil.

Kinah 9 describes the confusion of the people before, during, and after the destruction of Jerusalem: “How they have hurled My glorious crown from My head, and erected an idol in the Throne of Honor's stead. Because they abrogated the conditions counseled by My profits, for He said, ' If you follow My laws.'”

Not only have the people lost their wisdom, God Himself describes His experience of having His glorious crown ripped from His head. The people lost their wisdom, “He devoured my judges, first distorting their judgment,” the Kinah continues. When the people cease to find wisdom in God's Torah, and they cease to listen to those who share God's wisdom; all wisdom is lost.

i-Grow-Spiritual Tools-Nine Days: The conditions of exile make it increasingly difficult to have the necessary clarity to study Torah with the concentration a child.

We cry in Hebrew month of Av, meaning, parent, we cry as children. If we cry as children, we must then make an effort to study Torah as the child described in the Mishnah above.

We must use the Three Weeks to study Torah with extra concentration; the concentration of a child, the same child who is crying to his parent.

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