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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

Order of Acceptance of Spiritual Levels

Various Rabbis19 Tamuz 5769
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Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha said: why did the section of Shema precede V’haya Im Shamoa? It is so that one should accept upon himself the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom and afterward accept the yoke of mitzvot.

Ein Ayah: The commentators already pointed out that there was no real reason to ask why Shema should precede V’haya Im Shamoa, as it precedes it in the Torah. The matter is that it seems, according to the natural order, that V’haya Im Shamoa should come first because the main idea of reciting Shema is to attain shleimut (completeness) in recognizing Hashem. It is clear that this cannot occur without one becoming accustomed first to mitzvot, which straighten a person’s path and purify his personal attributes and opinions. Therefore, Shema should have been after V’haya Im Shamoa. However, that is in regard to the shleimut of the recognition. Regarding the basic level, which applies to all, the main thing is the acceptance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in regard to belief and acceptance of the inheritance of the community of Yaakov. Therefore, Shema must precede the acceptance of the yoke of mitzvot.

What to Do With a Long Life
Sumchus says: Whoever elongates the word "echad" ("one," within Shema) has his days and his years lengthened.

Ein Ayah: Long life is appropriate for one who set out a lofty purpose for his life. Under those circumstances, the greater the value of the means that help bring one to the goal, the greater accomplishments he can reach in that area. Therefore, he needs a long life so that he can obtain things that will enable him to reach his goal. This is not the case for one who has no purpose in life. In such a case, every moment in his life is isolated and, as these are fleeting, it makes little difference how many and how long these moments are.
The gain of stretching out the word echad is to engrain in his spirit that, since Hashem is one, He rules in His world on His own. All that He created was created just for this one special and lofty goal. We have to follow Hashem to make the purpose of our own lives an uplifting goal. If we do this, then we will merit long days and years, so that we can accumulate many actions that help bring about these important attainments. The quantitative accumulation brings a grander attainment.
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