1. State of the world during Yemos Ha’Moshiach
  2. Ameilus ba’Torah
  3. Stories about Rebbi’s ameilus ba’Torah1

“והשבתי חיה רעה מן הארץ” (כו:ו)

From this pasuk, the Raavad is masig on the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 12:1) who says that the world will continue to function according to natural law even once Moshiach comes, and the nevuos that describe miraculous things like wolves living with lambs, etc. is simply a mashal and chidah.  The Rambam explains that the idea of this mashal is that the non-Jews, who are likened to wolves and leopards, will no longer pose a threat to Klal Yisrael.  Rather, everyone will embrace the truth, and not steal, but eat only that which is permissible in a pleasant manner with Klal Yisrael.  So too are all the meshalim meant to be understood in such a manner, and  during the time of Melech Ha’Moshiach it will become known exactly what each mashal was referring to.

The obvious question, which is pointed out by the Radvaz, is what is the Raavad’s hasagah?!  What is it about that pasuk that poses any more of a difficulty on the Rambam than any other pasuk?  It can also be understood as a mashal!

I heard the following pshat from my uncle, Rav Aharon Soloveitchik z”l.  In the back of Maseches Brachos is brought the 32 middos of darshening the Torah of Rabi Eliezer bno shel Rabi Yosi Ha’Glili.  Number twenty six is that unlike Nach where many things are a mashal – a mashal means that there is no literal pshat; the pshat is the nimshal of the mashal – , in Torah there are only three meshalim: 1) al mishanto, 2) v’zarcha ha’shemesh alav, 3) u’farsu ha’simlah.  So, the Raavad’s kashya on the Rambam is that the pasuk v’hishbati chayah raah min ha’aretz is not one of them!

Regarding the etzem inyan of what it will be like by yemos ha’Moshiach, it’s a mefurasheh Gemara in Brachos (34b) that this is a machlokes whether the miraculous nevuos are referring to Olam Ha’Bah but “ein bein yemos ha’Moshiach l’olam ha’zeh elah shibud malchiyos bilvad”, or the time of Moshiach will be totally different from the way the world functions now (and Olam Ha’Bah is “ayin lo raaseh Elokim zulascha”).  The Rambam paskens like Shmuel who holds that there won’t be any changes in the natural order of the world.

There is a Gemara in Shabbos (30b) that says Rabban Gamliel darshened that l’asid women will give birth every day.  By any standard, that would require a massive chiddush in the briahL’fi the Rambam, you have to say that Rabban Gamliel is going like the other shitah.

The Gaon in general holds that a lot of times when there seems to be a machlokes, it is not really a machlokes, and that is how he explains this inyan.  He says that based on the Gemara that says the existence of the world is broken up into three groups of 2,000 years, and the last two thousand are called the tekufah of Moshiach, really Moshiach could have come at year 4,000.  Since from then until the year 6,000 is still part of the assigned kiyum of the world, it would have been a matzav of “ein bein yemos ha’Moshiach l’olam ha’zeh elah shibud malchiyos bilvad”.  And that is what the shitah of Shmuel is referring to.  However, if Moshiach winds up coming at the end of the 6,000, then the time of Olam Ha’zeh is up and the nature of the world will completely change.  And that is what the other shitah is referring to.  The Rambam remains a Rambam; the Gaon had his own shitos that sometimes differ from the some of the Rishonim.  (“Rebbi where is this Gaon?”  “The Gaon?…ehh…somewhere in Kisvei Ha’Gra.” [ed. note: it’s in the Gaon’s pirush to Sifra D’Tzniusa, Pirkah Kamah – I found it with the Otzar Ha’Chochma, but it was not easy to find!]).  In terms of waiting for Moshiach, we are already after Mincha Gedolah on Erev Shabbos.

(Audio Recording, available here:


“ואם לא תשמעו לי” (כו:יד) להיות עמלים בתורה…ומה תלמוד לומר לי אין לי אלא זה המכיר את רבונו ומתכוין למרוד בו (רש”י)

Rashi is mashma that if someone is not ameil ba’Torah he is considered makir es Ribono u’miskavein limrod bo.  The fact that a person always finds room for improvement in ameilus ba’Torah, both in eichus and kamus, doesn’t chas v’shalom mean that he was a makir es ribono u’miskavein limrod bo.  The essential point is where is the lack of ameilus coming from.

There is something called being nichshal in the yeitzer hara of bitul Torah.  That is what we are all always doing our best to work on, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute – and we need strategies to do this – and we hope that each year we are doing better than last year.  But being nichshal in the yeitzer hara of bitul Torah is not called makir es Ribono u’miskavein limrod bo.

However, someone who excuses himself from ameilus ba’Torah and thinks “shalom alai nafshi” because he views learning Torah as just another mitzvah bein ha’mitzvos and he therefore doesn’t need to exert himself in it, and kol sheh’kein if he totally dismisses learning Torah, that is what Rashi is referring to that is a makir es Ribono u’miskavein limrod bo.

Every year we need to refresh our shmias ha’ozen of this nekudah that ameilus ba’Torah is not a middas chasidus.  It is the alef, the very first and most important thing.  It’s the alef of the brachos and the alef of the klalos.

The most basic awareness has to be that when one has time – meaning there is no petur taking him away from learning – one has to learn.  Of course, it’s easier said than done, and it’s something that of course needs constant chizuk and that we struggle with.  But that is the point, even when it happens that one is nichshal and is perhaps not doing at the particular moment what he could and should be doing, he must at least be aware of what the mitzvah of Talmud Torah b’etzem is about, to be ameil ba’Torah.

The Eirav-rav-niks within Klal Yisrael – and that does not mean biological descent, but a mixing in of the neshamos of the Eirev rav – have for many years been calling the lomdei Torah parasites.  It is a mefurasheh pasuk that the world is kept up by Torah.  So, if anyone is a “parasite” it is those that do not learn Torah.  But we have nothing against them.  There are many fine baalei batim that recognize that the kiyum of the world is because of the lomdei Torah.

It is crucial to understand that it is the lomdei Torah that are the truly productive members of society, and those that are oskin b’yishuvo shel olam are not of a productivity level anywhere near the lomdei Torah.  But we have nothing against them.  We don’t mind carrying them on our shoulders.  But those that are mehapech the yotzros and hofech kearah al paneha, and consider themselves to be the productive ones and are rodef the lomdei Torah, that is miskavnin limrod.

There is a mixture of Amaleik in the Eirev RavAmaleik only comes when it’s refidimrafu yedeihem min ha’Torah.  Otherwise he is a sleeping dog.  That rifyon amongst the lomdei Torah in the Beis Ha’Medrash occurred between Pesach and Shavuos.  The current events of the Eirev-rav-niks pashut waging war on the lomdei Torah needs to serve for us as a wake-up call.  It’s a world of HashgachaAmaleik only, only comes when there’s a rifyon in Torah.

It appears that the Hashgacha is also setting up the camps as we approach yemos ha’Moshiach.  The Chafetz Chaim said already in his time that it’s ikvesa d’Meshicha.  We are already in the end of the ikvesa d’Meshicha.  The war against the lomdei Torah is being waged primarily by yechidim.  But the lines are drawn by how people feel about it.  Those that feel pained by the attempt to cut off support from the Olam Ha’Torah, they are mitztareif to the camp of the lomdei Torah, and those that are sameiach b’leiv and think “yeah I always felt they were taking too much,” that is where the lines are drawn.

(Audio Recording, available here:


I asked Rebbi how to prepare for Yevamos over the summer. He said to learn the Mishnayos well. He looked down for a minute. Then he said “By ‘well’, I mean at least forty times.”

If anyone else had told me that I would have thought it was a joke. But after the Rebbi told me that I began to push myself much harder in my learning.

(Reb Yehuda Esral, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 33)

For several years, I had the privilege of meeting Rabbi Twersky as he was leaving yeshiva and walking to his car.  Many times I saw him just stop walking and stand there for five to six minutes, apparently doing nothing.  One day, I gathered the courage to ask him why he was stopping, or perhaps if he was tired I could take his bag.  He replied that as he was walking he was thinking in learning and sometimes the thought got too complicated that he could not walk and think at the same time, so he stopped walking.

(Reb Yossi Koff, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 33)

Everyone knew that before the seudah at Rebbi’s house there was the famous learning seider in Shul.  One week, we learned in Shul for close to three and a half hours after Maariv.  After two hours, I passed by Rebbi to get a seifer.  As I walked past him, he called out to me, “Are you hanging in there?  I get such a chizuk when I see people coming back from their seudos to learn, and fall asleep over their Gemara’s”.

(Reb Baruch Vann, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 34)

The Rebbeh’s leil Shabbos seider after Maariv was legendary.  I remember learning in the back of Bnei Torah as the Shul emptied out after davening, and people would stop to ask, “Do you boys need a place for the seudah or are you going to Rabbi Twersky?”  There were no other possibilities in anyone’s mind.  His leil Shabbos seider was one of kind.

(Reb Ephraim Weiss, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 36)

When I was new to the shiur, we were learning Bava Kama and Rabbi Twersky finished the shiur by asking us a question of halacha l’maaseh based on the sugya we were learning.  We discussed the different ways to look at the issue based on the different Rishonim and sevaros in the sugya.  At the conclusion of the discussion, someone asked what Rebbi felt was the bottom-line conclusion.  He responded by saying that no bottom-line answer needs to be reached, and that the point of such a question is to keep it in your head so that when you want to take a walk you will be able to think about the different sevaros and shitos that come out of the sugya.  (It was snowing that day and he mentioned that we would probably want to take a walk to enjoy the beautiful day.)

(Reb Leon Mayer, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 39)

I once approached Rebbi and asked him if there was anything special I should accept upon myself as a form of hakaras ha’tov to Hashem for allowing me to return to Eretz Yisrael.  I was hoping Rebbi would share some secret form of avodah with me, or tell me some uniquely appropriate hanhaga that I should undertake. Instead, Rebbi just looked at me and said in only the way he could, “Naftali, just learn. But really, really learn!!”

(Reb Naftali Eichen, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 40)

I was once stuck on a Grach al ha’Shas, and someone suggested that I should ask the Rebbeh for pshat.  I had never asked a question to the Rebbeh before, and I approached with trepidation. He was in the middle of learning a Ran in Yevamos.  As I approached, he looked up at me, smiled, and said non-chalantly, “What’s up?”  I told him that I didn’t understand a Reb Chaim, and began to explain where I had gotten stuck in the shtikel.  He seemed a little distressed.  He asked to see it inside, and as I brought him the Grach al ha’Shas his eyes lit up, and he said, “Baruch Hashem!  I thought you were talking about a Reb Chaim in Seifer and that I had forgotten one of them!”

(Anonymous, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 41)

I remember we were walking out of Yeshiva on our way to a Pidyon Ha’ben (I think it was bein ha’sedarim), and we passed by Rebbi who was learning outside the front door by his shtender.  We mentioned to him that we were on our way to a pidyon ha’ben, and it is brought down regarding the chashivus of eating from a pidyon ha’ben that it is equivalent to a person fasting pei-dalet (84) taaneisim.  The Rebbeh answered us with a smile, “But a Daf (dalet-phei) Gemara is even better!”

(Anonymous, Kuntreis Divrei Zikaron, page 42)

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