REPEAT AFTER ME
The Book of Devarim, which we begin to read today, contains Moses' parting soliloquy to the Children of Israel which basically consisted of a summary of the first four books of the Torah.
The Book of Devarim, which we begin to read today, contains Moses' parting soliloquy to the Children of Israel which basically consisted of a summary of the first four books of the Torah. In fact, the word "Deuteronomy" taken from the Greek word Deutronomion actually means "Second Law", in essence a repetition of the Torah. It makes you wonder. What was the point? Why did Hashem include in the Torah an entire 5th book which primarily consisted of review? Were the first four books not enough?
Conceivably we can derive a significant lesson from the writing of this 5th, and seemingly superfluous, book. Perhaps, the following perplexing statement as told in the Talmud (Tractate Berachot) can shed a bit of light on the situation. The Talmud points out that when a person is reviewing something, he should review it 101 times. What is the difference between 100 and 101? The commentaries on the Talmud explain that, from a psychological standpoint, a person will review a concept 100 times simply to achieve such a lofty goal. The actual reviewing is being clouded by the person's acclaimed achievement. Simply put, 100 is a nice round number. To review something 101 times shows the supreme nature of the character of the person involved. While reviewing 100 times says, "Ah, I've completed my mission. I can go out and play ball now," reviewing 101 times says that you are going above and beyond the natural call of duty.
How often do we find ourselves at the end of a lecture saying, "Wow, that was incredible. I'm going to take these lessons and apply them to my everyday life." How many times do we learn something in a class that really inspires us? How often do we read an article in Torah from Dixie thinking how illuminating it was? Yet, just a day later, the lessons and inspirations have simply disappeared. Jumping back into our jobs and daily routines has erased what we learned just a day earlier. If we would only take the short time out to review -- to go over what we learned -- imagine how much more of a lasting impact these lessons would have. By implementing even the slightest regimen of review, we can use the lessons that we learn in a class or read in a book to actually catapult us to higher levels of Torah observance and practice without us even realizing it. Think of the consequences!! Think of the results!! It's literally mind-boggling.
Benyamin Cohen is editor of Torah from Dixie.
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