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ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאת

So now, write this song for yourselves. (31:19)

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Chazal derive from the above pasuk that each Jew is commanded to write a Sefer Torah – or, at least, participate in the writing of a communal Sefer Torah. As this is the last of the 613 mitzvos, we glean from here that the entire Torah must be recorded for the purpose of knowing and understanding its mitzvos. Without learning, there can be no knowledge; and, without knowledge, there can be no observance; and, without personal observance, we have nothing to transmit to the next generation. Why is the mitzvah to write a Sefer Torah enjoined to the individual as if to say that each and every Jew must write his own personal Torah scroll? This is ostensibly not a simple undertaking.

The Melitzer Rebbe, Shlita, explains the underlying lesson to be derived from this mitzvah. It is quite common in frum, observant, circles that a boy/son who is born into an observant home will usually go to the right day school/cheder, followed by yeshivah/kollel, thus allowing him to follow the prescribed path delineated for the Torah Jew. From the cradle throughout his life, this young man complacently follows the pattern set forth for him by his parents, rebbeim, community. Born frum – lives frum – it should be sufficient. No. Hashem wants effort, excitement, enthusiasm in frumkeit. Complacency means that one acts by rote, without meaning. Furthermore, posits the Rebbe, such observance will not ensure that the tradition will be transmitted to the next generation. When parents carry out their religious observance because “that is the way I was raised,” it is quite possible that their children will not feel it necessary to raise their children in a similar manner, because they themselves have had little to no feeling vis-à-vis observance. When a son sees his father go to shul as if it were a funeral which he has to attend: entering late; barely davening; remaining long enough so that he can have breakfast with the kiddush club – is it any wonder that the son does not value davening?

Each and every Jew is enjoined to write his own Sefer Torah, to add to what his parents taught him, to innovate, to do more, act better, achieve greater heights in Yiddishkeit. Which father does not want to see his son overtake him spiritually? To write one’s own Sefer Torah requires commitment and money. One must be willing to spend. In order to have this attitude, one must appreciate the value of the mitzvah. This can only occur if he observes his parents’ willingness to spend for Torah. If a son grows up in a home where education takes precedence      over the mundane and material expenditures which are currently the vogue, then he will follow suit and commit to a life of Torah values. Otherwise, his life will be one long cruise, in which glorifying the physical and venerating material excess is the new value system for determining success – and frumkeit.

Only one who appreciates and loves Torah to the point that it becomes the centerpiece of his life will write his own Torah, act in a manner that demonstrates that his religious observance is not something he inherited, but a life that he has chosen for himself.