WORDS OF CHIZUK
FOR GIRLS AND WOMEN

(MEN CAN READ IT TOO)

By RABBI SHLOMO PRICE

In reality, I mainly gear my sichot for boys. Obviously, being a Rebbi in Neveh Zion (a boys' Yeshivah) explains the "method to my madness".

However, I have heard from some students that their parents and sisters also download the pages on the Neveh Zion website and enjoy the sichot tremendously. In fact, one young girl made it her business to personally visit me when she was in Telz Stone and thank me for the sichot.

Taking this into consideration, when I recently heard a tape of a sichah for women by Rav Shlomo Brevda, I decided to try to give over part of his beautiful inspiring message.

He mentioned a famous Gemara (at least to women it is) in Berachos 17a where Rav asks Rav Chiya "Nashim Bemai Zachyan?" -"What merit do women have (to get Olam Habo)?" Rav Chiya responded that it was the merit of encouraging and helping their children and husbands to learn Torah. (In fact, it was the custom then for the wives to allow the husbands to travel to a different city to learn.)

The Vilna Gaon asks on this Gemara. What is the question of Rav about the merit of women? Women have many mitzvos, which consequently gives them much merit. (They are obligated in all Negative commands and all Positive commands that are not dependent on time).

The Vilna Gaon answers with a Gemoro in Sotah 21a. The Gemoro elaborates on the posuk in Mishlei (6:23), "Ki Ner Mitzvah VeTorah Ohr". It compares Mitzvos to candles and Torah to light. Rav Brevda explained that true light is the light of the sun (See Metzudas Dovid who says "the light of the day"-authors note). Consequently, the difference between the light of Torah as compared to the light of a Mitzvah is the same as the difference between the light of sun and the light of a candle, which is about trillionfold. So one mitzvo doesn't come anywhere near the mitzvo of Torah. Even hundreds of mitzvos don't compare with the Torah . It's like comparing hundreds of candles to the light of the sun. It doesn't come anywhere near it.

The Gemoro there applies this point in 2 ways.

1) In the Next World, the spiritual light and reward for Torah is much greater than for a Mitzvoh.

2) Even in This World, a Mitzvo protects one from suffering and physical danger, but not from the yetzer haro-evil inclination. Torah, on the other hand, does.

The Vilna Gaon concludes, that now we can understand the question of Rav in the Gemoro Berachos. Of course, women have the merit of Mitzvos, but why should they be left out of the merit of Torah which is so much greater in the Next World?
In this World too, they want to be protected from the yetzer horo?

Rav Chiya answers that they can get the merit of Torah by developing an attachment to the Torah through their husbands and children.

Consider the women who work hard in the house with all their household duties, the messes, and medical situations that children can create. They suffer and they are lonely. They would like to "speak their heart out". Nevertheless, they encourage their husbands to go to a shiur in Torah. Through this attachment they get the protection and reward of Torah.

In fact, Rav Brevda pointed out that, as much as we admire some of the men who learn Torah, we should admire the women more.

The men feel the tremendous pleasure of Toiling in Torah. Working on a difficult piece an eventually seeing even a drop of light can be a tremendous feeling of ecstasy.

However, what satisfaction do the women feel? She works hard and then the kids get hurt and she has to calm them and make supper....

Rav Brevda concluded this point by assuring that he has a very good source for this. He heard it from Rav Aharon Kotler, z.t.l. the Rosh Hayeshivah of Lakewood, 48 years ago (1949).

Rav Aharon said that we get a sippuk-sense of fulfillment from our learning. What do the women get? we sometimes "batul"-waste our time in middle of learning-women are constantly busy.

Rav Aharon stressed that the women will share in the reward for our learning Torah but they wont share in our bitul Torah.

Rav Brevda recalls that some of the "yunger-leit"-members of the kolel were arguing with Rav Aharon. They asked him, "Are you saying that my wife will get more out of my own Torah than I will?

Rav Aharon answered emphatically, "Yah!! Gleib mir vos ich zog!!-Yes!! believe me what I say!! Women are sacrificing more than men, especially in our generation.

(I would like to add that certainly, the sacrifice of some women who move out of their comfortable neighborhoods to a neighborhood which will be easier for their husbands and children to find a shiur or a Rebbi will not go unrewarded.

How much more so, if they leave their families and luxuries of America to enhance their ruchniyus-spirituality in Eretz Yisroel- Author's note)

I hope that this will be somewhat of a chizuk to the women to encourage their husbands and children to learn more. Realizing that all sacrifices that may result will bear tremendous fruit can help you endure it, as you gladly endure the hardships of childbearing and childrearing when you realize what nachas will result.

I also hope that the future "nshei chayil"-wives to be will also take this into consideration when they are choosing a proper zivug-mate.

May Hashem help us to learn these things and make it a part of ourselves and we will live a happier life in this world and the next.

List of Rabbi Price's sichot
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