Over Shavuos, I got to read some interesting and inspiring thoughts. Here is one thing I wanted to share with all of you from one of my favorite speakers/writers, R' Shimshon Pincus zt"l.
The Kuzari states that there are four levels in creation:
Domem - inanimate object, such as a rock
Tzome'ach - growing thing, such as a plant
Chai - an animal, like a lion
Medaber - a speaking living thing, a human being
Just like you can't compare the level of a rock to that of a plant, you cannot compare a plant to an animal - it is on another whole level completely. And the speaking human being is even higher up on the rung than an animal because it has the ability to think and make choices.
R' Yerucham Levovitz, the mashgiach of Mir expounds on that and says that above those four is another rung on the ladder and that is the Yisroel - the Jew. The same way each level is in a totally and complete different category than the one preceding it, the Jew is different than the regular human being who can speak and think and choose right over wrong because we are blessed with the Torah.
Now, there is a sixth level which is even higher than the level of the Jew!!
That is the level of one who toils in Torah. He is on a totally different plane! He is above the level of a regular Jew who does the mitzvos because he is busy with the greatest treasure, the treasure that made us into the chosen nation that we are.
If you would try to explain to someone who has not been exposed to Judaism what it means to live the live of a religious Jew, he just cannot understand it. He doesn't understand how a Jew can keep shabbos. Doesn't it feel like you are in a prison?, he thinks. He can't relate to the fact that a Jew is able to spend 25 (plus) hours without a TV (try explaining to him that a Jew can live all his life without one!), without turning on the light, answering his cell phone, checking his emails, going in the car, turning on the fire to cook food...it feels to him like a real jail!
But if we wanted him to understand what shabbos is all about, how beautiful, how sweet, how precious it is to spend a day away from all the things that distract us from our real purpose in life, how special it is to spend a day together with our families and connecting to Hashem, he would have to experience it himself! We would have to tell him, come with me, come spend shabbos with me and then come again and again until you can feel the glow, until it enters your heart, until you can realize on your own what makes shabbos so special and why we do not feel like we are in prison! It is a day like no other!!
And the same is true for the ben torah. He is on a different level completely than that of a Jew. If you'd try to explain to someone who doesn't understand the value of Torah learning as a goal in itself, and the purpose of sitting and learning all day just to learn Torah, you will run into a brick wall. You cannot explain it to him because he cannot relate to it!
Ahhh, you really want to understand?! Come with me, into the bais medrash! Come for a day, two, three...until you fully experience what it means to learn with diligence, without interruption, just to learn until your face is glowing and your eyes are shining from the depth and awe of the lessons there are in the Torah!
That is the greatness of torah - it elevates the one who learns it to a completely different level of kedushah, of holiness!
How lucky we are to be part of a nation who is full of people who learn for the sake of learning!
This post is not intended to cause hurt in any way to anyone who is not learning. It is meant to give strength to those who see the value in what Torah learning is and appreciate that it is a zechus to be able to be connected to those who learn Torah!