The Power of Learning Torah After Prayer

On the last daf of Maseches Brochos it is said by Rabbi Levi bar Chiyah that one who goes from the Beis HaKnesses to the Beis HaMedrash will merit to receive the Shechina, as it says in the posuk, “They go from strength to strength, they will be seen to Elokim in Tzion.” In our current time, considering that we daven and learn in the Beis Medresh, rather than having separate locations for tefillah and learning Torah, this means that if you sit after davening and learn Torah, you’ll merit to behold the Shechinah. The question we are faced with is, “What does this mean to receive the face of the Shechinah, and why should learning after davening be such a special thing to bring you such a merit?”

If we can translate the situations of today to what those of 2000 years or so ago were, and similarly the other way around, we can perhaps see why this is such a huge deal. Up until fairly recently, the Beis HaMedrash was not the same place as the Beis HaKnesses, oftentimes they were separate buildings in entirely separate locations. So in order to learn after davening, you had to leave where you were comfortably davening, and walk however far to the Beis HaMedrash itself in order to learn. Not necessarily everyone would want to do such a thing or would have enough time, so there was a reasonable degree of mesiras nefesh in this practice. Nowadays, we have everything essentially in the same room, in other places they have a Heichal HaTorah just for learning, but that is not the most common practice. The first reaction to finishing davening for many of us is to toss our tallis and tefillin back in the bag, and get on to eating breakfast or making l’chaim and shmoozing. However in order to receive the Shechinah, we have to take time after davening and set it aside specifically for learning Torah rather than being involved in our personal needs and desires. So why does this practice have such an effect on a person?

In the section of the Zohar HaKodosh said Shabbos night by some (VaYak’hel 207b), it says that the three times the Shem Elokim is used alludes to three aspects of this Shem, that being Elokim as Malchus in this world, as Gevurah in the Zeir Anpin, and as Binah in the Mochin (Divine Mental Attributes). When you involve yourself with Torah, which includes all the Shemos HaKedoshim and is completely one with Hashem, you have to seek to understand it. Once you’re on the level of understanding on an intellectual and emotional level (as it says in Maamar Posach Eliyahu that Binah lives in the heart), you can access this aspect of Binah, which is also the place of tshuva. When you learn Torah after davening and genuinely understand it, this accomplishes tshuva for yourself. Binah is reflected in Malchus, which means that after you’ve spent time learning and you go back out into the world, you can now see the Shechinah, that being Hashem’s Presence. If we’re only involved in narishkait and corporeal things, then it is difficult if not impossible to truly behold Hashem’s influence on the world and how He runs everything perfectly, let alone to see the splendor and light that is the Shechinah in this world. However, if we take time after davening and push off our own needs and desires for just a few minutes, we can then merit to beholding Hashem’s beauty as it is constantly manifesting around us.

I’d like to encourage everyone to add just a little learning after davening Shachris at the very least, and hopefully over time that little bit can become more. Hashem should bentsh us all with simcha and all sorts of goodness, that we should all have the ability to go from strength to strength, with this we should also merit to m’kabel P’nei HaShechinah, and we should merit to the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu swiftly and within our days.

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