October 16, 2006

Lishmah: As a Small Child

Filed under: Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 6:14 pm


Taken from my book, The Forgotten Torah


The forgotten Torah of Har Sinai 

By Moshe Steinerman 


Lishmah: Like a Small Child: 


Why does Hashem make a person inherently smart and others simple minded. We know from Kabbalah that everything depends upon a person’s tikkun, task they must complete in this world. Some people simply do not need a great IQ in order to complete themselves but I’d like to take this a step further while sitting here in the holy Idra. 


The entire goal of seeking wisdom is in order to come to lishmah, a level of totally doing for Hashem’s sake. Most that search for wisdom are doing so in order to gain prestige or money. They don’t realize that true wisdom is the understanding that there is Hashem in all places. Years and years of study are totally wasted on these unfruitful gains in false wisdoms. The person becomes wise but not lacks street smart. What I mean by street smart is the relation of the world to Hashem and rather then drawing them closer to this; their wisdom pushes them further from true reality of a world of G-Dliness. 


“Shlomo HaMelech explained that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of Hashem.” This fear can only be attained through lishmah. So let us define what lishmah is in relation to this chapter. Lishmah means that I am not learning Torah for me but for the sake of the Shechinah and the Holy One blessed be He. Which you should understand to mean that it doesn’t matter how much I attain from the learning itself but what I am giving to the world by my learning. 


The Gemarah teaches us that the entire world is sustained through the Torah learning of small children. This is because their learning is pure without ulterior motives but let us take it one step further. Since the entire goal of learning as stated above is to sustain the world, and the children’s learning does this, we then can understand from this that we too must learn Torah like a small child. 


When we begin to learn Torah just for the sake of the mitzvah itself, our learning bares fruit. We are then able to see the relation of this world to Hashem’s G-Dliness. Hashem’s light becomes apparent in all things. If you asked a children, why are you learning Torah, most would respond with a simple answer, “For Hashem”. It is quite straightforward to them. This is because of their purity as being free from sin. We too must work to purify ourselves and reach this level of learning of simply, “For Hashem”. 


As a child we understood the world through simple, pure eyes. Now as adults, we have forgotten this. With Hashem’s help, we will remember this always. 




  1. Is this why it is easier to learn torah as a child? As we learn on pesach at the seder in one of our haggadas it tells us that the older we are the harder it is to learn new things, so every seder it is possible to learn more, and also why we read torah every year for there is always to learn more. For children can study torah “with no alterior motives” it discourages the satan to medle in and distract him, for when we are older and things are harder, the satan can take advantage of our strive to study.

    Comment by Asa Yitzchak — October 18, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

  2. This is beautiful, thank you!!!

    Comment by Yosef — October 18, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

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