Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Eternal Love: Understanding the Second Blessing of Shema

Tears for Torah

Rav Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin — known as the Netziv — was renowned for his tremendous diligence in Torah learning. At a young age, he took upon himself to learn twelve hours a day every single day of the year. Day in and day out, he was always studying Torah with passion and fervor. One year, shortly after the Yom Kippur services had concluded, his father– in-law and a few other Torah scholars were walking home. They heard the sweet sounds of Torah learning and went to see who could be studying so soon after the fast’s conclusion. The Netziv’s father-in-law smiled when they peered into the room and saw the Netziv already deeply engrossed in his learning.

Although the Netziv literally invested his whole life in his studies, he still attributed his success in becoming one of the greatest Torah scholars and leaders of his generation to his prayers. With the exception of Rosh Hashana, when some say that crying is forbidden, his tears would flow freely every day, twice a day, when he said the blessing of “Ahava Rabba” (“abundant love”) before Shema. He testified that on a day when he did not cry during this prayer, he did not have insights in his Torah learning (heard from Rav Shlomo Brevda).

The story is told of a student who visited Volozhin, where the Netziv was Rosh Yeshiva. Towards evening, the visitor prepared to leave but his host urged him to stay until the next day for the morning services. He told him that just seeing the way that the Netziv recited the prayer of Ahava Rabba would change his entire life (heard from Rav Don Segal).

Why is it that the Netziv and other Torah giants placed such emphasis on Ahava Rabba, and attributed their success in life to reciting this prayer with intense emotion? The answer clearly lies beyond its movingly poetic composition. Rather, Hashem’s deep love for the Jewish people is expressed in this blessing a number of times. By examining these expressions we come to a deeper understanding of Hashem’s great love for us and form a deeper, more passionate relationship with Him and His Torah.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON ACHAREI MOS AND KEDOSHIM:

View Complete List

Jumping To Conclusions
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

The Command To 'Be Holy' Was Given In A Mass Gathering
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Seeking Forgiveness Through the Goat of Azazel and the High Priest
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Parshas Acharei Mos and Pesach
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

(Re)Counting the Omer
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Justice Must Be Carried Out
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

ArtScroll

Commandments Bring us to Holiness
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Do it Because I am Holy
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Holy Kitchen, Holy Sidewalk, Holy Workplace
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

> Bread in Your Basket, but Not in Your Soul
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Encouraging His Children to Climb
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

In the "Judging Business"
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Love Your Neighbor: Who Needs Friends?
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Faith Healer
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Understand The Warning
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

In Pursuit Of Holiness
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information