Thursday, July 12, 2012

‘Quotes that matter’

“He who guards the fig tree shall eat its fruit, and he who serves his master shall be honored” (Mishlei 27:18)

The parsha continues discussing Moshe appointing a new leader over Bnai Israel. Moshe did not want Bnai Israel to be like a flock without a shepherd. So to, Hashem told Moshe that He had already chosen a leader, but it was not one of Moshe’s sons. He said, “I have chosen a leader, Yehoshua, he who guards the fig tree shall eat its fruit, and he who serves his master shall be honored.” Although Moshe’s sons were as wise as Moshe’s student Yehoshua, Yehoshua’s love for Torah exceeded theirs. He invested every ounce of his energy to Torah.  He spent every minute he had to increase his knowledge and wisdom of Torah. He was always the first one in the Bait Hamedrish- place of studying Torah-, and the last one to leave.  Because of his commitment and love for Torah, Hashem had blessed the fruits of his labor. From this, it is clear that not only are we rewarded for the Torah knowledge we amass, but also for the pure devotion we put into our studies.

Moreover, why does Hashem liken a student of Torah to that of a fig tree? Most trees, such as the olive, date, and vine, bear their fruit all at one time. The fig tree however, produce their fruit in astonishing amounts all at different times, and the fruit are picked off gradually, rather than all at once. Furthermore, the Torah is likened to a fig tree because just as a fig tree constantly has fruit ripening on it, a Jew too, must constantly devote himself to learning Torah, because there is always more to learn and master, a Jew is continuously ripening in many areas of his life and in his personal development. One cannot expect to become a scholar overnight, rather years and years of harvest are necessary to bear him intellectual fruit.

Rather than getting discouraged from the mass amount of Torah there is to learn and comparing oneself to scholars who know so much more, we should keep in mind that they too where once at a level where they didn’t know as much; however, through much toil and discipline they become as fruitful as the fig tree, and they continue to ripen throughout their lives.

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