seek and find

The Noam Elimelech in parashath Tzav makes a great distinction. He explains that the goal is and has always been learning Torah l'shmah. (for its own sake, or for the sake of revealing HaShem's godliness in the world) There is a talmudic principle, מתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה - from learning for other purposes, one can come to learning for its own sake. The Noam Elimelech explains, that if one never gets to learning l'shmah, then one hasn't accomplished anything. Chazal only encouraged learning for other purposes as a gateway to actually reaching the level of learning l'shmah.

To those who might read this and ask, What if one tries his whole life and never succeeds? I will bring you a different Talmudic quote: יגעתי ולא מצאתי על תאמין - anyone who says I strived but I did not succeed, do not believe him. In other words, Chazal is telling us it's not possible to try your whole life and not succeed.


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