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THE ART OF BEING ANGELIC
If you want to bring up your kids to be angels and not monsters, the only way, is through connection to Torah. Not to force the Torah, but to somehow get them interested in the discussion of Torah topics. The difference between engaging and preaching, is if you are opening Torah discussions on their terms, and things that connect to their world: their beliefs, their version of success, their needs, desires, wounds, interests, role models, and what they are proud of. We need to engage our children in Torah discussion, as best as we can. At the Shabbat table, on vacation, and when out and about. We need to bring them up by putting them in an environment, that the Torah’s way of thinking, is the normal way of thinking.
The passuk tells us about the Cherubim that need to be on top of the Aron Hakodesh. The Cherubim are faces of angels, angelic faces that resemble young lads. (Sukkah 5b) The question is, we find another time that the word Cherubim is used. When Adam was sent out of Gan Eden. וַיְגָ֖רֶשׁ אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן֩ מִקֶּ֨דֶם לְגַן־עֵ֜דֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֗ים וְאֵ֨ת לַ֤הַט הַחֶ֙רֶב֙ הַמִּתְהַפֶּ֔כֶת לִשְׁמֹ֕ר אֶת־דֶּ֖רֶךְ עֵ֥ץ הַֽחַיִּֽים: When Adam was sent out of Gan Eden, G-d put at the entrance of Gan Eden the Cherubim, and the sharp bladed sword that would spin, to protect the way to the Tree of Life. Rashi there, explains that the Cherubim are not just angels, with a youth’s face. Rashi explains there, that the Cherub is an angel that is a monstrous angel, מלאכי חבלה.
One second. Is the Cherub an angel that is a youth face, like it is referred to upon the Aron, or is it a monstrous angel, like it is at the entrance of Gan Eden??
The answer is, what type of Cherub you will get, depends on where you put the Cherub. Put a Cherub on the top of the Aron, connect it to Torah, it will have a baby face, a pure face. Put a Cherub outside Gan Eden, out in the open, and it will grow up to be a monster, a מלאך חבלה.
Nothing will keep you or your children frum, nothing will keep them Orthodox, like being connected to Torah. The Midrash Eicha teaches, הלואי אותי עזבו ותורתי שמרו, מתוך שהיו מתעסקין בה המאור שבה היה מחזירן למוטב G-d says, I wish that they left Me, but they still keep My Torah! Because when dealing with Torah, the light of the Torah will bring them back to being good.
What an interesting way for G-d to speak! I wish they leave Me, just they should keep learning My Torah? Why does G-d speak this way? Isn’t learning Torah a way of connecting to G-d? So why does G-d say, that I wish they leave Me?
Many people justify, not going to the Bet Midrash, not going to learn Torah or to hear Torah classes, alone or with a study partner. You ask them, Why can’t you come to learn Torah? Why can’t you make time for Torah? And the answer is, because I am too busy, and I believe in G-d that I will stay religious, and my family will stay religious, because I am busy doing things that are important. I believe in G-d that me and my family will stay strong, at work, at school, when on vacation, even without keeping my Torah study.
G-d says, I wish you would not trust in Me that everything will be okay, without Torah! Stop believing in Me that you can just ignore My Torah, and just stay Frum, stay Orthodox. There is no such thing as an Orthodox Jew. Either the Jew is a Torah Jew, A Ben Torah, or not a Torah Jew. Orthodoxy, without Torah study, eventually goes stale. They eventually will see the results, of not being connected, the purity will eventually leave their face, or the face of their children.
So how does one get back into learning Torah? How does one get others, to get back into learning Torah?
Here are the six steps to explore your desire to learn and to strike the spiritual match, before you actually get into the zone. Step 1. Decide what you want to learn. What interests you. There are so many options. 1. Look at all the options, and then decide which one speaks to you most. 2. After you see all the options, then you need to ask another question. How much time do you have available to learn what you want to learn? And what do you need to learn from all the things that you want to learn? 3. Decide how much information you want to cover, and how in depth you want to go. 4. Decide who you want to learn with. In a group setting? Or on a one on one? Or maybe to learn alone, while listening to a certain recorded daily shiur? Someone who understands you, and relates to you, someone who you appreciate their style. 5. Set up a place that is most convenient for you to learn, and a place that is most conducive for you to focus and disconnect from all distractions of learning. This should be a place where you can learn daily. 6. Find a time in the day that is most conducive for you to learn every day at that hour. Try to have it “Stacked”, or linked, to another habit that you do every day. Like right after prayer, or right after gym, or when on the way to work.
But don’t make the mistake, of waiting until all 6 steps are complete, in order for you to start! You need to just start, and eventually look how you can fill these. It is so hard, to restart learning, when none of these are in check. And the reward for learning, without these in check, just because you are trying to get back into it, is tremendous!