It says אם למדת תורה הרבה אל תחזיק טובה לעצמך כי לכך נצרת – If you learned a lot of Torah you shouldn’t consider it that you did something great, because you were created for that purpose (Avos 2:8). But it also says, כי אם בזאת יתהלל המתהלל השכל וידוע אותי – that a person should yis’hallel, he should praise his achievements of knowing Hashem (Yermiyahu 9:23). Why is it yis’hallel? Isn’t this our obligation to do?
When you are successful in gaining Torah attitudes in your mind, you have gained wealth. You have gained wealth and you should be happy with that wealth. That’s what it means yis’hallel. בזאת יתהלל המתהלל. What is important in my lifetime? That I became an owner of blocks and blocks of apartment houses? That I have chain stores? No. If you have knowledge in your mind, Torah ideals, then you should know you’re wealthy. That’s yis’hallel.
However, don’t become a baal gaaveh because of that, because that’s your purpose in life. You’re created for that purpose.
So once more: It doesn’t mean you should belittle these achievements. On the contrary, you should aggrandize knowledge of Torah. Even one word of Torah is a tremendous accomplishment. If you learn a Mesichta or you learn even one shitah of Mesilas Yesharim, it’s so valuable. You’re a wealthy man now. Certainly בזאת יתהלל המתהלל. “Baruch Hashem I gained that knowledge of Torah, knowledge of Hashem!”
But should you become a baal gaaveh because of that? No! It’s your job in life to do that. Hashem created you for that purpose.
So there are two different kinds of hallel. One hallel means to appreciate what you received and thank Hashem for the achievement. And the other hallel, watch out! Don’t boast. Don’t think you’re superior to other people and that you can therefore look down on other people.
TAPE # E-269 (March 15, 2001)