Blessings over Torah study
Torah every morning: “Who has commanded us to engage in the words of Torah”, “Make the words of the Torah sweet in our mouths,” “Blessed are You, Lord, Giver of the Torah.”
These berachot are a combination of acknowledgment of the mitzvah of Torah study, prayer to make our learning inspiring and thankfulness to God for giving us the Torah.
Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein explains that obligation and inspiration define our relationship to Judaism. The mitzvot are a commitment but we hope and strive to also make them sweet and meaningful.
Talmud Bava Metzia (85b) quotes a verse from the book of Jeremiah, where God says that the Land of Israel was destroyed because people “abandoned My Torah”. The Talmud understands this abandonment to mean that although they learned Torah, they omitted to say the blessings beforehand. Destruction was caused by studying Torah without pleasure, joy or gratitude.
Rabbi Julian Sinclair