The taste of Shabbat -Ki Tisa 5777
Rav Mordechai Elon
We will begin with a short story: When the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman from Liadi, was a young scholar, he was thought of by all who knew him as a genius. Even so, he had great desire to join the world
of chassidut, and traveled to Mezritch. There is no need to stress how unusual this was in the community of Mitnagdim in Lithuania, everyone
tried to dissuade him. They told him "You are young and gifted, a great scholar, you have two choices. You can to Either Mezritch or to Vilna!".
Vilna in those days was the center of learning, the seat of the Vilna Gaon. The Alter Rebbe answered:
"People go to Vilna to learn Torah, I know a little
about how to learn. People go to Mezritch to learn
how to pray , I don’t know how to pray". In the end
he traveled to Mezrich.
This deep and lovely story teaches us, that despite the fact that we think we learnt how to pray in the first grade (and perhaps this was the last time we prayed properly…), and we continue to learn how to
study all of our lives, we have to learn a bit how to pray too.
These are almost the exact words God tells Moshe in our parsha "Moshe, you know how to study, but now I will teach you how to pray".