A new proverb was added to the Mishlei section on Monday June 19.
Acquiring the wisdom of the Torah is a very demanding activity. Despite the fact that we think of the Torah as a parchment scroll on which its words are written, the essence of Torah is the knowledge that exists in the mind of each Jew who keeps the Torah. This knowledge is far more voluminous and complex than can possibly be contained in the words on a scroll. It is referred to as the Oral Torah because it is meant to be studied and taught through the power of speech.
Tremendous vitality and energy are required to fuel the process of acquiring and preserving the knowledge of the Oral Torah throughout a person’s lifetime. This means that one cannot be relaxed about one’s approach to Torah learning. A person whose attitude in life is shaped by general lassitude will fail to measure up.
What about a person who is not ready to approach Torah energetically. Is that so bad? Mishlei argues that the failure to build some degree of Torah knowledge is tantamount to destroying it, for Torah cannot exist in the mind without energy and commitment.