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A Timely Torah Message By Shaya Gross


[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.]

Parshas Shoftim begins with the Torah instructing us to set up a judicial system. In doing so, the Pasuk describes that one who wishes to go to a judge should go to a judge [or in modern-day terms, the Gadol] ‘that will be in that time.’ Seemingly, the Torah begs us to ask the apparent question of ‘would we have thought to go to a Gadol of a previous generation who has already passed on?!’ Of course we know that we can only go to a Gadol living in our generation! Why then does the Pasuk emphasize that one should specifically go to the Gadol of TODAY?

Rashi explains that even if the modern-day Gadol is not as great as the Gedolim of previous generations, one should still go to him. One should not say, ‘oh, we don’t have Rav Moshe Feinstein anymore, and therefore I’m not going to seek out anyone else for Daas Torah.’ Rather, the Torah tells us not to make such a mistake, and “go to whomever is a Gadol in your time.”

Rav Henkin derives another lesson from our Pasuk: Why does the Pasuk emphasize, ‘the judge that WILL BE in your time?’ The Pasuk should just say ‘you should go to the judge of your time?’ He answers that it is an instruction to the judge that he must ‘be in touch’ with his generation. He must be attuned to, and familiar with his generation, their issues, their Yetzer Haras, and their struggles.

Just as it is ridiculous to think that one can win a modern-day war with bows and arrows, as technology and weapons have changed tremendously throughout the generations, the same applies with the spiritual war against the Yetzer Hara. The Yetzer Hara changes his tactics and weapons from one generation to the next.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon Gedolim to be knowledgeable and equipped to deal with the challenges that the people of THEIR generation are struggling with.

With this lesson in mind, we can appreciate a beautiful vort from Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov. Many times when the Gemara remains with an unanswered question, the Gemara says ‘Tayku.’ Literally, the Gemara is saying “leave it” [as a question]. However, we know that Tayku is also an acronym for ‘Tishbee Yitaaretz Kushyos Viabyos,’ which means that Eliyahu Hanavi [when Moshiach comes] will answer all the difficult questions that have troubled our sages throughout history.

Rav Levi Yitzchok asks why specifically will Eliyahu Hanavi be the one to answer all the difficult questions and not any of the other Gedolim and leaders of Klal Yisroel?

Rav Levi Yitzchak answers that it is because Eliyahu is the only Gadol that never died. He ascended to Shamayim in a fiery chariot, and is still living in every generation from his time, until this very day, and until Moshiach comes. Thus, only he is truly in touch with and attuned to every generation’s issues. Only Eliyahu will be the one fitting to answer all the difficult questions of the previous generations!

Although the lesson in this essay seems geared specifically to Gedolim, I think it is very applicable to parents as well. The philosophies, styles, technologies, and Yetzer Haros that many of ‘the readership’ grew up in are immensely different from what today’s youth grow up in. The message of our Pasuk holds true for parents as well who need to understand that their children are living in very different times. It is essential to seek guidance from present-day mechanchim and therapists who are in touch with what today’s youth are struggling with, and not to necessarily rely on methods used in the past.

{May we all gain a deeper understanding of what our children are facing and thereby grow closer to them and help them to overcome the obstacles that life throws their way.}

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