Closeness to Hashem
C h a p t e r E ig h t
T h e N o t En t ir e l y Err o n e o u s D e s p an ir of
D e v o t in g O n esel f to T o r a h St u d y , Due to t h e
W o r r y of Fa il u r e D u e to La c k o f T a l e n t or
Sta m in a . They Still C a n Su c c e e d in T o r a h

  1. There are many who in the truth of the matter very much
    want to devote themselves to study the holy Torah. But they
    hold themselves back, thinking that they have no hope
    succeeding greatly in amassing knowledge and understanding in
    Torah. This brings a person to despair from investing great
    effort into Torah study since the dividends do not seem to be in
    proportion to the investment.
  2. There are also many who seemingly want to dedicate
    themselves to the study of Torah but are afraid that they will be
    unable to maintain the commitment. This fear holds them back
    from dedicating themselves to learning, since they think that it
    is worthless to be committed for a short period.
  3. in truth this approach is mistaken for a number of reasons.
    We see the first in the gemarah Sanhedrin 99, which comments
    on the verse, “The soul which toils, it will toil for him”, it
    explains that a person who toils in Torah, Torah will labor for
    him in another area [it seems that the explanation here is based
    on the double expression o f‘toiling’ in the verse]. Rashi explains,
    “The Torah goes to Hashem and beseeches that He reveal to him
    the reasons in the Torah” [this topic is discussed in chapter 2
    above[, it is clear that the success requested by the Torah for the
    person concerned, is a supernatural success, since success within
    the limitations of nature do not require prayer. [It is logical to
    deduce from here that just as the Torah requests for Torah
    understanding on his behalf, it also requests that he have the
    ability to maintain his study of Torah since they are both
    dependant on the illumination of the Torah joining with the
    light of his soul). If he despairs of learning Torah, reasoning that
    it seems as if he is unable to succeed, he errs. He may be able to
    succeed naturally in some measure, but if he labors in Torah he
    will merit supernatural success which he even measure.
  4. There is another reason why a low self evaluation of one’s
    abilities is mistaken. This is from the Zohar, explained at length
    in the writings of the Arizal and clarified in the Nefesh Hachaim –
    sha’ar 4. It is a very great fundament that there are different
    types of soul. There are souls which are more outstanding and
    those which are less so and there are many different ways to
    explain this, but there is no place here for that. Many of the
    types of outstanding soul will cause an incredibly strong desire
    to learn Torah, so one can have great success in Torah study. It
    is clear in the Zohar and in the writings of the Arizal and the
    Nefesh Hachaim, that through studying the holy Torah, a person
    can merit to extend the soul that he already has, adding another
    very holy soul, taken from an extremely high place. With this
    extension, he is able to change his entire spiritual condition for
    the good, literally from one extreme to the other. If so, any bad
    self evaluation of one’s future strengths is erroneous since his
    assessment is based on the soul that he has already, without
    calculating that he could acquire more for his soul, which would
    change his entire situation.
  5. The Maharchav elaborates on this in the name of the Arizal.
    He speaks about how forgetfulness weakens the Torah learning
    that one has already worked on. One forgets one’s learning and
    therefore doesn’t feel that he has gained anything by the
    learning. The Maharchav writes in the name of the Arizal, “This
    is incorrect because, in the future a person will remember
    everything that he ever learnt. Included in these words are two
    types of arguments against the excuse to lessen one’s learning
    because of the likelihood to forget it. (1) Even if he will forget,
    it is only temporarily forgotten, and he will benefit from this
    learning forever, since he will remember it in the world to come.
    (2) The point of remembering it in the world to come isn’t
    simply as a reward or a gift for his hard work, rather it is
    because the moment a person learns Torah, the radiance of that
    piece of Torah joins with the light in his own soul, and become
    eternally united. This already causes a person to remember his
    studies forever, just there are layers which cover this light, and
    withhold the memory from him. In the world to come these
    layers fall away.” It comes out from this that although a person
    may not remember what he has learnt in this world, it still has
    great significance. From the moment that he learnt the Torah,
    there are more lofty spiritual lights attached to his soul, greatly
    raising his spiritual level.
  6. The fact that success in Torah study comes to a person
    beyond all limited measure is something that has proven itself
    throughout the generations. Many of those who became world
    giants were not suited for Torah study right from the start.
    Some had little talent and some seemingly had opposing
    character traits to those of diligence. Even so many
    Strengthened themselves and succeeded in becoming leaders of
    Torah Jewry. Of course one who has great talent or inclination
    towards diligence, and all the more so with a combination of the
    two, will likely to have abundant success in Torah, Hashem
    forbid that we minimize the value of these things. However even
    someone who does not have these attributes can accomplish a
    great deal. We see this in massechet Avot, “Whoever learns
    Torah in poverty will in the end study it in wealth.” It is said in
    the name of the Maharal Diskin that this applies not only to
    monetary poverty but also to deficiency in talent, where despite
    all a person strengthens himself to learn Torah. He will merit a
    wealth of abilities. [Far be it from us to belittle talents. Of course
    a person blessed with prodigious talents must take care to
    utilize them for Torah, as we see with the Maharil Diskin himself
    who from a young age, although blessed with great genius
    worked and toiled with incredible diligence in Torah, indeed
    quite incomprehensibly, and as is well known merited to levels
    in genius which were beyond all laws of nature.)