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FRUMToronto Articles Inspirational Stories

Stories of Hashgachas Pratis, and other inspirational incidents.

Yahrtzeit of HaRav Aharon Kotler, Ztl
Today is the Yahrtzeit of HaRav Aharon Kotler, Zítl, whose life has already impacted on generations of Torah Jewry. We would like to share a few brief paragraphs of Rav Aharons view on the struggle between ruchniyus and gashmius. These paragraphs are taken from the book Rav Aharon Kotler by R Yitzchok Durshowitz, Shlita (pp. 21-23).

It should be pointed out that materialism is a relative term. No one today can be expected to live with furnishings like those found in the home of the Chofetz Chaim, nor did the Rosh Yeshiva expect everyone to match his degree of bitul hagashmius--negation of materialism. For that matter it is doubtful if a yeshiva today could attract bochurim and command the respect due to Torah if it were housed and furnished like the Radin Yeshiva of old. The Rosh Yeshiva himself planned the present Bais Medrash building [in Lakewood, New Jersey] and it is well built, large and comfortable.

Nevertheless the Rosh Yeshiva did try hard to teach a non-materialistic life style, a life style of histapkus bímuat--satisfaction with only the minimum, practical physical amenities, a life style where fulfillment and satisfaction derive from spiritual accomplishments, a life style consonant with an awareness of Hashem VíToroso, of Tachlis Hachayim--the real purpose of our life on earth--a life style of a Ben Olam Habo--a World to Come Jew who lives for and connects to netzach nitzochim--everlasting life--eternity. And in this, his home and the Yeshiva of that era can serve as a beacon of light for future generations.

The following is actually the translation of Mishnas Rebbe Aharon (Volume 3, page 123), as translated in Rabbi Durshowitzs biography:

It is well known that histapkus, being satisfied with just the basics, is one of the greatest attributes. The Vilna Gaon writes (in Even Shlaimah) that this quality is even more necessary than bitachon to acquire Torah. One aspect of histapkus is to train oneself to be satisfied with little and not run after bigger and better in food, in clothing, etc. Nevertheless, at this level, one still feels that he is missing something. An even higher level is Someach Bíchelko--to be happy with whatever one has, without being bothered because of what he does not possess, without even feeling he is missing anything. The highest level of all, however, is the attribute of Yeish Li Kol--feeling that he has everything, that there is nothing more [materially] that he could even want. This is what [Hashem meant when he said to Avrohom Ovinu] Víheyei tomim--be whole, perfect, lacking nothing.

May we take this great teaching from Rav Aharon and climb the ladder--from being satisfied, to being happy--to elevating ourselves to the middah of Avraham Avinu himself!

Posted 11/16/2007 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Inspirational Stories

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