The Reason For It All!
“In the beginning Hashem created the heavens and the earth.” Bereishis (1:1)
Silas Hardoon (1851-1931) was a business tycoon. In 1927 He built the Beth Aharon Synagogue in Shanghai, China, in memory of his father, Aharon. The story goes that Silas Hardoon’s father appeared to him in a dream and asked him to build a shul. Silas did not build the shul in the center of town, but far away from the reasonable and accessible location for the public. The shul had two hundred and fifty-two seats, a huge kitchen and dining hall. The shul was unused and remained empty for years.
The Mirrer yeshiva left Europe, as a group, escaping the Nazis and the Russian communists. They traveled through different countries, until they eventually reached Shanghai, China. They needed a building to house the yeshiva. They ended-up using the Beth Aharon Synagogue. The Synagogue was used for the very first time, fourteen years after its completion. Its kitchen and dining hall were exactly large enough to accommodate all the students. The number of seats in the synagogue numbered 252, the EXACT NUMBER OF STUDENTS and Rabbis of the Mirrer yeshiva. Coincidence?? (Silas’s Folly: The Beth Aharon Synagogue in Shanghai and How it Saved the Mirrer Yeshiva by Vera Schwarcz. Operation Torah Rescue by Yecheskel Leitner)
The Talmud (Avodas Zara 2A -2B) states that in the future, Hashem will bring a Torah scroll and say, “Anyone who engaged in its study should come and take his reward”. Immediately, all the nations of the world will come before Hashem to collect their reward. The Roman Empire, the most important of all the nations, will come first. Hashem will ask them what they were involved with. They will respond that they established many marketplaces, built many bathhouses, and accumulated much silver and gold. They will say that they did all of this only for the sake of the Jewish people, so that they would be free to engage in Torah study. One example that Rashi explains is that the Jews would have the convenience of being able to purchase all their needs in the marketplaces. Thus, they would have more time to learn Torah. Hashem will respond to the Romans, “Fools! Are you attempting to deceive Me? Everything that you did, you did for your own needs.” … The Roman Empire will leave, and the Persian Empire, the second most important empire, will come before Hashem. They will tell Hashem that they built many bridges, conquered many cities, and fought many wars. And they did all of that only for the sake of the Jewish people, so that they would engage in Torah study. Hashem will send the away, also telling them that everything that they did was for themselves and not for the benefit of the Jewish People. Hashem will have a similar exchange with the rest of the nations of the world.
Rav Yitzchak Zev Halevi Soloveitchik zt”l (Chidushei Maran Riz HaLevi) asks, how the nations of the world could have the chutzpah to tell Hashem that all their accomplishments were for the goal of making it easier for the Jews to learn Torah? How could they tell Hashem an obvious lie, knowing that Hashem knows the truth? Hashem knows that their intent was NOT to help the Jews learn Torah!
Rav Yitzchak Zev Halevi Soloveitchik zt”l gives an amazing answer. Rashi (Bereishis 1:1) says that the world was created for the sake of the Torah and for the sake of the Jewish people. Similarly, Rav Yitzchak Zev Halevi Soloveitchik zt”l says that everything that is done in the world, including every invention and innovation, from the time of Creation to the end of time, has one purpose. The purpose of everything is to make it easier for Jews to learn Torah!! Currently, we don’t comprehend how everything done is for our sake. In the future, it will become known.
Now we can understand why the nations of the world lined-up to receive their reward from Hashem for helping the Jews learn Torah. At the end of days, it will be clear to all that everything that happened in the world was to help the Jews learn Torah. The nations were Not lying to Hashem. Their claim of all that they did was to help make it easier for the Jews to learn Torah is the truth! The nations will say that all their actions benefited the Jews learning Torah and they should be rewarded for that. Hashem’s response to them will be: “Fools!” Your intentions in all that you did were totally selfish. You did everything for yourselves and not for the Jews. Your actions which benefitted the Jews were guided by Hashem. Therefore, you will receive no reward for them.
Even though Mankind has free will, Hashem guides that everything that occurs. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THE WORLD for any other purpose.
Fourteen years after Silas Hardoon built a synagogue, it became clear that his actions, orchestrated by Hashem, were for the benefit of Jews learning Torah!
When a train was built from Peterberg, Russia to Berlin, Germany, Rav Chaim Brisk zt”l (Rabbi Yitzchak Zev’s father) said that the purpose of its construction was to enable yeshiva students to easily reach the most important and prestigious yeshiva in Volozhin. Rabbi Chaim Brisk explained that this was so because everything that is done in this world is for the Torah and those who learn it. (Yalkut lekech Tov by Yaakov Yisroel Beifus)
Everything that occurs in the world is for the benefit of Jews learning Torah!
The Torah is so special, it is the raison d’etre, the purpose of our existence.
We are so privileged that Hashem granted us this very special gift!