Kenneth Cohen

Judaism and Discipline

The Keli Yakar connects the consistent study of Torah, to the blessings enumerated at the beginning of Parshat Bechukotai.

He quotes Rashi’s explanation to the words, אם בחוקותי תלכו, “If you walk in my statutes.” The way to do such “walking,” is to be diligent in Torah study. This is what will bring peace and no wars. Such peace will allow people to engage in their studies without interference.

The main point is not only to study, but to do it with consistency. We will be asked after we leave this world if we set up definite times for Torah. This is meant to become a habit, rather than something done occasionally.

We are to develop consistency, good habits, and discipline. A famous quote of Rav Yisrael Salanter was, “The loudest sound in the world, is the sound of bad habits breaking.”

In essence, what makes an individual an observant Jew, is discipline. He learns that there is a time and place for everything. When one has the discipline to partake of what is permitted to him at the right time and place, it becomes holiness.

When one meticulously follows the dictates of the Torah, he is learning discipline. He must wake up early enough to recite the Shema on time. And he knows that he must start the day by giving thanks and praising G-d.

Today’s world does not emphasize discipline. It is focused too much on “feeling good,” and expecting instant gratification. When things come too easy, they are not appreciated. When one knows that he has had the will power and self control to follow Jewish Law, there is much greater appreciation for the pleasures of this world.

We must begin with setting up regular time periods for the study of Torah. This will lead to acquiring good habits and discipline. Our Parsha tells us that achieving this will bring peace in the land, and we will live without fear. Sounds like a pretty worthwhile endeavor, doesn’t it?

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at