After twenty years of marriage, our matriarch Rivka finally became pregnant. Her joy dimmed when she noticed something peculiar; when she passed the study halls of the great sages Shem and Aiver, she felt her fetus move as if it wanted to exit, and then when she passed a place of idol worship she also felt that the fetus wished to exit.

Rivka and her husband Yitzchok were raised in environments that were polar opposites. Yitzchok was raised by his righteous parents, Avraham and Sarah, while Rivka, although personally righteous, was raised in the home of her deceitful and idolatrous father Besuel and brother Lavan.

Rivka, thinking that she was carrying one child and seeing that it wished to exit both to a Torah environment and an idolatrous one, feared that she would have to deal with a confused child, one who did not know his identity.

She therefore went to the sage, Aiver, to seek his advice. The Torah tells us that G-d told Rivka that she was not bearing one child; rather, she was carrying twin boys, one, the righteous Yaacov, and the other, the wicked Aisav.

A question is raised. Why did Yaacov wish to exit to a place of Torah? After all, the Talmud teaches us that an angel teaches a fetus the entirety of Torah and as he exits the angel pecks him above the lip and he forgets it. What benefit would Yaacov have from leaving his mother’s womb? After all he was presently learning Torah.

Many answers are offered. One is, since he was sharing the womb with the wicked Aisav, he wished to leave to avoid the bad influence of being with a wicked person. The Talmud relates that already in utero they were having debates.

Another answer is that, yes, Yaacov was being infused and being fed Torah knowledge from the angel, but he was not an active participant in the process. It was only when he would exit that he would taste the sweetness of Torah which comes through applying one’s effort towards it and attaining it on his own. It is for this reason he wished to join the study halls of Shem and Aiver.

The Halacha – law – is, that during the Shiva period of the loss of a loved one, one may not study Torah. The reason given is that King David in Psalm 19 (recited in our Shabbos prayers) refers to Torah as, “The orders of G-d are upright, gladdening the heart.” Since the study of Torah gladdens one’s heart, it is inappropriate to study it during the Shiva period where we are to focus on the sadness of the loss.

This creates a challenge for one who follows a daily regimen of study, such as Daf Yomi – a page a day of Talmud study. The mourner finds himself at least seven pages behind and needs to make up those pages.

Recently, upon getting up from Shiva for my father o.b.m. when I was unable to study, and then reentering Torah study led me to a deepened appreciation of the special gift we have of being privileged to study G-d’s Torah.

What is the purpose of the angel teaching each of us the Torah while we are in utero? After all, we are going to forget it right before we are born.

Our Sages explain that G-d’s Torah is so spiritual and beyond our comprehension, that if not for the angel’s infusion and imprint of Torah on us, we wouldn’t have the ability to comprehend it.

The Talmud teaches us that the Torah we learn is likened to one retrieving a lost object. When one repossesses something they have lost, there is a familiarity with it and an intrinsic enjoyment that comes along with reclaiming it.

This great feeling of reconnecting with the Torah that is in a Jew’s DNA gives every Jew the responsibility, entitlement and privilege to experience when he or she studies Torah! It’s never too late to experiment – Torah is authorized by the Almighty to be attainable, enriching and enjoyable!