Torah Reigns Supreme by Yonason Rutta


Ya’akov Avinu is attacked by the evil angel of his brother, Eisav (as explained by Rashi quoting Chazal). Ya’akov defeats the angel and requests a Berachah, leading to Ya’akov’s name changing from Ya’akov to Yisrael (BeReishit 32:25-30). The Chafetz Chaim poses the following question: why does this angel, who many identify as the Yeitzer HaRa (the Evil Inclination), attack Ya’akov and not any of the other Avot?

The Chafetz Chaim answers that only Ya’akov is attacked because Ya’akov is the Amud HaTorah, pillar of Torah. The Yeitzer HaRa does not mind if a person performs Chessed, good deeds, or if he offers a Korban. The Yeitzer HaRa cares only whether a person learns Torah. In this answer, the Chafetz Chaim makes a radical statement. Why is Torah is superior to Chessed or Korbanot? The following story might provide an answer:
Once, in the town of Radin, Poland, a daughter of a rich man awoke to get a drink in the middle of the night. Since in those days no one had indoor plumbing, the girl decided to take a trip to the horse troughs and take a sip from there. However, she did not recite a Berachah on the water. Suddenly, the girl jolted back and began to scream in a voice that was not hers. Her family woke up and started to panic. What were they to do? Her father went to the most skilled doctors in Poland, attempting futilely to find a cure for the alien voice that had possessed his daughter. Finally, somebody suggested that she visit the most righteous man in Radin, the Chafetz Chaim. Her father went to the Yeshivah in Radin and requested an audience with the great scholar. The Chafetz Chaim was busy, so he sent his closest and most famous student, Rav Elchanan Wasserman. Rav Elchanan led the man and his daughter to a room in the Yeshivah, took one look at the daughter, and proclaimed that she was plagued with a Dibuk, a soul that cannot enter Heaven unless it ventures into this world and receives a Berachah from a righteous man. By then, a crowd of young men began to form, and the Dibuk, through the mouth of the girl, began to announce the most embarrassing secrets of each and every young man, except for those of Rav Elchanan. Rav Elchanan returned to the Chafetz Chaim and asked him what to do. The Torah great told his student to utter some Pesukim from the Torah with special intent. Rav Elchanan did exactly as he was told, but the Dibuk remained inside the girl. Rav Elchanan returned to his Rebbi again, who instructed Rav Elchanan to tell the Dibuk that he, Rav Elchanan Wasserman, was a great student of the Chafetz Chaim of Radin. When Rav Elchanan said this to the Dibuk, it screamed, “Do you know how much esteem is given in the heavens to the name Chafetz Chaim? His reward in the World to Come is too enormous to comprehend! And do you know why? Not because of his dear love for each and every Jew, not because of his great amount of Shemirat Lashon, care given to his words, but because of his boundless joy for the Holy Torah! This is why I came to Radin in the first place, to get a Berachah from the Great Chafetz Chaim!”

Rav Elchanan told the Dibuk that the Chafetz Chaim would not give the Dibuk a Berachah until it left the body of the girl, and the girl’s voice returned to its normal tone. Suddenly, the room’s window shattered with the sound of breaking glass; the Dibuk was gone. From this time on, until the destruction of the Yeshivah in World War II, the hole remained. 
From this story, we learn the greatness of the Chafetz Chaim, and the importance of Torah both in this world and the World to Come. Indeed we say in Birchot HaTorah every morning: “Eilu Devarim SheAdam Ocheil Peiroteihem BaOlam HaZeh VeHaKeren Kayemet Lo LeOlam HaBa...Talmud Torah KeNeged Kulam,” “These are the things whose fruits a person eats in this world, and their value remains intact in the World to Come…Torah study is equivalent to all of them” (Shabbat 127a).

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