The Arrival at Har Sinai

Contrary to logic, one who learns Torah full-time is not a “taker” who lives off the community. For the world to exist and for the Torah to be sustained, there must be a partnership between those who study Torah and those who work. 

5 min

Kalever Rebbe

Posted on 31.05.23

When the Jews arrived at Har Sinai to receive the Torah, the pasuk tells us (Shemot 19:2), “and Israel encamped there opposite the mountain”. Rashi explains that the word “encamped” is written in singular form, to teach us, that the Jews were so unified they were like “one man with one heart.” 

Why was it necessary to increase and strengthen achdut (unity) before receiving the Torah?  

You Get More Than You Give

There are many people who feel that those who spend their entire lives pursuing Torah study in yeshiva are constantly taking from other people, because they depend on the charity of others to support them. 

However, the truth is, these tzaddikim and dedicated students give far more than they take. The Divine brachot for everyone’s livelihood and sustenance, flows into this world solely in their merit. As the Midrash taught (Vayikra Rabba 34:8) “the pauper does more for the philanthropist than the philanthropist could ever do for the pauper”.  

The Forest in Romania

R’ Shlomo of Bobov, zt”l, once told me a wondrous story, that he had heard from R’ Isaak Lefkowitz from Margareten: 

R’ Isaak and his partner owned a large forest in Romania that they had purchased from a non-Jew. The tone of the government had turned very antisemitic, and the non-Jew demanded that R’ Isaak and his partner sell him back the forest for the same amount of money that they had purchased the forest for a few years earlier. There was a steep decline in the valuation of the local currency. As a result, that sum of money was worthless compared to the true value of the forest. Therefore, they refused to sell. The non-Jew decided to sue them in court. 

R’ Isaak decided to send a kvitel – a note seeking a bracha – from R’ Shlomo Eliezer from Ratzpert, zt”l. He described his concerns that the courts will rule against him and that he will be left penniless. The tzaddik responded, that R’ Isaak and his partner should send him a train car loaded with trees, and in the merit of that act they would be saved. 

The partner was not an observant Jew, and he did not have faith in the tzaddik’s promise. He refused to send his half. With no other options, R’ Isaak sent his share – half of the train car – of trees to the tzaddik

During the trial, the judge had learned that R’ Isaak’s family had worked in the timber business for generations, and that this was his sole profession, while his partner had a few other businesses. The judge told R’ Isaak, “Since this is your profession, you should keep your portion of the forest.” The judge then turned to the partner and said, “You are a mere speculator, and you are capable of working in other professions.” The judge ruled that while R’ Isaak could keep his portion of the business, the partner had to sell his portion back to the previous owner.  

They Carry You

The above story demonstrates what the Seforim HaKedoshim explain, that when someone studies Torah, the words of Torah are constantly with him. Like the Aron in the Beit HaMikdash that contained the Luchot (two stone tablets). Chazal taught (Sotah 35a) that the Aron carried those who carried it. From the outside, it seemed like the Kohanim were carrying this extremely heavy load. However, the reality was that the Aron miraculously carried itself. So too, Torah scholars carry those who support them. Meaning, because they support those who study Torah, their wealth is enhanced, and they are blessed with even greater financial success. 

Therefore, businessmen should do everything within their power to support those who study Torah. They should make their lives easier and more financially stable so that they can focus on their studies. And, in that merit, the supporter will receive an abundance of success with ease. 

The holy Ruziner Rebbe zt”l said: “The Gemara teaches us (Brachot 17b), that during the times of Reb Chanina Ben Dosah, ‘Every day a Divine Voice emerges from Mount Chorev and says: The entire world is sustained by the merit of Chanina, my son, and for Chanina, my son, a kav (about two quarts) of carobs is sufficient to sustain him…’ Meaning, in Hebrew, there are three words that can be used to sustenance: מזון ,פרנסה ,כלכלה-food, livelihood, and provisions. The lowest level is “food” which refers to the basic amounts of food and water a person needs to live. A “livelihood” is more expansive, and “provisions” is the most expansive expression of sustenance. During the times of Chanina, the world was sustained on the level of “food”. Financial success was limited. Why was this the case? Because Chanina was only provided with a single kav of carobs. On the other hand, had the people worried about the honor of Torah sages and provided them with greater resources, then they would have benefited from an ever-expanding source of blessings for their own livelihoods, and they would have had greater financial success. 

R’ Yissachor Dov of Belz, zt”l, was once visiting the town of Kaalov. While there, he saw a letter written by my holy ancestor R’ Yitzchak Isaak of Kaalov, zt”l, to the leaders of the town, where he asked for a raise, because he was unable to support his family on his current salary. The Belzer Rebbe said, “Now I understand why there was a lack of good things during the early years of the Rav’s leadership. When a tzaddik earns a respectful livelihood, it is good for him, his family, and the entire world. If he doesn’t, it is harmful to the tzaddik, his family, and the entire world.”  

A Partnership that Sustains the World

Supporting Torah studies is critical to the world’s existence. 

The world was created for the sake of the Torah, as it says (Yirmiyahu 33:25), “So said the Lord: If not My covenant with the day and the night, that the statutes of heaven and earth I did not place“. 

However, this world requires that a person works to earn a living. Therefore, Hashem created a partnership between those who spend their lives pursuing Torah study and those who seek a livelihood through their careers and businesses. This dynamic enables the world to exist. 

However, if this partnership breaks down, the foundation of the world is undermined. As Chazal taught, if you see cities torn apart, if you see people struggling, it is because they do not support Torah scholars. 

This is possibly why the Jews had to strengthen their achdut, their unity, before receiving the Torah. For the world to exist and for the Torah to be sustained, there needs to be a partnership within the Jewish community between those who study Torah and those who work. 

When businessmen are happy to support yeshivot, kollels, and other institutions of Torah study, in a way that provides peace of mind to those studying, then the entire world experiences tremendous blessings for financial success. 



The Kalever Rebbe is the seventh Rebbe of the Kaalov Chasidic dynasty, begun by his ancestor who was born to his previously childless parents after receiving a blessing from the Baal Shem Tov zy”a, and later learned under the Maggid of Mezeritch zt”l. The Rebbe has been involved in outreach for more than 30 years and writes weekly emails on understanding current issues through the Torah. You can sign up at  


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1. Shushu


I agree wholeheartedly. It’s time for us to understand that Left and Right are part of the same body. We all need both material and spiritual sustenance. But unfortunately, some people believe that their might and strength have brought them wealth and thus have a hard time sharing it.

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