Last night I got one of “those” shopping carts. Finding it blocking the supermarket door, I figured this cart was somehow meant for me. As I prepared to push it down the aisle, though, my misfortune became clear: the wheels forcefully veered to the right. My shopping experience would now be marred by the constant need to realign my shopping cart!
Man would naturally take advantage of every opportunity to grow in his relationship with the Creator, if it were not for a force that constantly pushes him off his desired path. The human soul has every desire to reunite with its source, the Al-mighty Himself. While the nature of our spirit is to mature and reach upward, our physical nature stunts the growth and pulls us in undesired directions.
These challenging circumstances are a product of the Creator Himself, designed to make our relationship with Him a result of meaningful victories over opposition. Something that comes easily is worth very little. Fortunately, G-d also provided us with the means to curb this physical force and set the wheels of our soul back on course. “I created the inclination towards evil, and I created the Torah as it’s antidote.” (Talmud Kiddushin 30b)
The Torah reading of Bechukosai begins “Im Bechukosai Teileichu – If you go with my statutes.” Rashi‘s commentary understands this as an imperative to toil in Torah study. The root word of “BeCHUKosai”, Rav Tzadok HaKohen ztl explains, is “Chok” which refers to something engraved. Devoting time and energy into a project has a symbiotic effect — the project leaves an impression on those laboring over it. Says Rav Tzadok, intense Torah study, wrapping ones mind around the infinitely profound wisdom of G-d Himself, engraves the soul. The greater the dose of intense Torah study, the deeper impression it makes on the spiritual. As a result, the wheels of the soul are gradually realigned, and Man is pulled back on course in his relationship with the Al-mighty. This is what is meant by “Teileichu – you will go.” As we said, the soul naturally goes forward in its growth, its progression towards its Heavenly Source. The toil over the Torah’s wisdom gets engraved on ones heart and sets the soul back on that course.
Rabbi Mordechai Dixler
Program Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org