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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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Sivan 3

If one read and reviewed his studies but did not serve an apprentice ship to scholars, he remains unlearned (Berachos 47b).

We can learn more about tennis by seeing a pro in action than by reading a book about how to play good tennis. Book learning certainly has value, but observing a professional performance is much more impressive.

One of the mitzvos the Torah lists is to say Shema Yisrael twice daily. I had learned about the proper kavanah (concentration) needed when saying the Shema, and I had heard lectures on the subject regarding the intensity of meditation required. One day, I attended the vasikin minyan (sunrise communal service) at the Kotel (the Western Wall), and I heard the Shema being recited the way it should be said. All that I had read and heard beforehand now became galvanized and took on new meaning.

If you have the opportunity to watch any expert performing in his or her field, do so. Watch a tzaddik pray, a matriarch light the Shabbos candles, and a scholar learning Torah. These indelible experiences can give life and spirit to your own actions and convert the knowledge you have accumulated through book learning into more meaningful experiences.

The Torah states that at Sinai, the entire nation saw the sounds (Exodus 20:15). Many commentaries ask how sounds can be seen. Perhaps the Torah is saying that the Israelite observed how their leader Moses acted, and so were able to see that which they had previously heard.

Today I shall...

try to reinforce those character traits that I know are correct by observing how good people implement them.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) mysteries, May 24, 2012 9:34 PM

Seeing the sounds might mean be the sights too. With the event being so awesome the people would have experienced different sensations. Sounds may be the appropriate word for the line and tone.

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