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לא יהיה בך עקר ועקרה

There will be no infertile male or infertile female among you. (7:14)

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We, as human beings, will not be plagued with infertility. The pasuk continues on with a similar blessing for our sheep and cattle. The Baal HaTurim makes note of an incredible gimatria, numerical equivalent, that corresponds with the pasuk, Lo yiheyeh becha akar va’akara, which amounts to 834. Likewise, the words b’divrei haTorah, “in the words of the Torah,” also amount to 834. This implies a connection between Torah study and fertility, which is explained by Horav Shlomo Levenstein, Shlita, as a demand for a person to be mechadesh chiddushim, innovate original commentary and elucidation, to apply creativity to one’s learning. The Torah is hereby guaranteeing us that there will not be a paucity in creative learning. There will always be those who will be mechadesh chiddushei Torah, whose creative insights will bear fruit to the Torah.

The Reishis Chochmah (Shaar HaKedushah 4) writes that, just as a Jew has a mitzvah to be fruitful and multiply in the physical sense, so, too, should he be innovative in his Torah learning, by intuiting and being mechadesh chiddushim.

In discussing the last mitzvah of the Torah, the mitzvah of Kesivas, writing (a) Sefer Torah, the MeGaleh Amukos (Parashas Vayishlach) observes that the first mitzvah in the Torah is Peru U’revu, be fruitful and multiply, and the last mitzvah is that of writing a Sefer Torah. This teaches us that it is similarly important to be “fruitful and multiply “in divrei Torah.

The Torah in Vayikra 18:5 states: U’shemartem es mitzvosai, v’es mishpatai asher yaaseh osam ha’adam v’chai behem, “You shall observe My decrees and My laws, which man shall carry out and by which he shall live.” The Netziv, zl, understands this azharah, warning, not as a general exhortation concerning mitzvah observance, but as a specific command to be an oseh, a doer, to create and innovate in Torah. We ask Hashem daily to grant us the ability lilmod u’lelamed, lishmor, v’laasos, u’lekayeim, “ to study and teach, to guard and to do and to fulfill the mitzvos.” Laasos applies to the mitzvah of limud haTorah, the process of studying Torah. It must eventually lead to laasos, creative, intuitive, insight and chiddush, original novellae.

We make the mistake of thinking that the ability to be mechadesh is directly connected to one’s acumen. This cannot be further from the truth. One creates; one works at something which is his. When one’s attitude toward a given subject or item is dispassionate, “It’s not mine, so why bother?” he will not be able to innovate. Ki heim chayeinu v’orech yameinu, “For they (the words of the Torah) are our life, and the length of our days.” When one views Torah as life – his life, when it is his source of longevity, he learns as if his life depends on it. He will then have no problem being mechadesh chiddushim. They will flow like a natural spring.

In speaking with my Rav, Rabbi Aharon Dovid Lebovics, regarding this idea, he shared with me what he had heard in the name of Horav Leib Mallin, zl. David Hamelech says, V’ruach kodshecha, al tikach mi’meni, “And Your Holy Spirit, do not take from me” (Tehillim 51:12). Ruach Kodshecha, Your Holy Spirit, is a reference to the ability to be mechadesh chiddushei Torah. Apparently, David HaMelech felt that the power of innovation, of creativity, is derived from the Creator of the Universe.

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