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FRUMToronto Articles Thoughts for the Week

Inspirational words of Torah from Gedolei Yisroel.

Blog Image: Hakhel.jpg

Many reasons are given as to why we read Megilas Rus on Shavuos. HaRav Yaakov Emden, Z’tl, in his Siddur Bais Yaakov writes that the preeminent lesson of Megilas Rus is the tremendous Chesed of Rus. With this, HaRav Emden writes, we can appreciate the tremendous Chesed of Hashem in giving us the opportunity to study Torah and perform Mitzvos--an opportunity not afforded to more than 99% of the universe. In fact, to further appreciate Hashem’s great gift to us, the Sefer HaKuzari writes that we should consider each and every mitzvah as a personal invitation by Hashem to enter into His very palace. If one could take a moment to visualize every mitzvah prior to its performance as a palatial invitation, we would have a more refined appreciation of the Chesed of Hashem, and certainly in our attitude and approach towards mitzvah performance.

Let us take making Brachos as an example. Do we make a bracha over food simply in order to allow us to eat without being considered a thief, or perhaps over a mitzvah as a necessary portal required by Chazal in order to perform a mitzvah? Here is how Chazal teach what Avraham Avinu taught his guests (Sotah 10B):

"[After they were satiated, Avraham Avinu would say] Why do you need to thank me?--Have you then eaten of mine?! You have eaten from that which belongs to the Elokai HaOlam--the G-d of the World. Accordingly, [do not just mouth thanks or even just a brocha but] Hodu V’Shibchu U’Borchu--Thank and Praise and Bless--the Creator of the World...!"

What a wonderful approach to Brachos. A Bracha is not just a verbalization of a necessary statement, but rather an opportunity for "Hodu V’Shibchu U’Borchu"--true appreciation and exultation of Hashem for the Chesed He provides you with--whether it is food, a Mitzvah, or any of the miracles of nature over which a Brocha is made. For those who may not have yet chosen what to do especially during these Seven Days following Shavous, may we suggest the "Hodu V’Shibchu U’Borchu" feeling as often as one can during the day, whether it is before learning, performing a particular mitzvah, or, indeed, making a brocha!


Special Note Two: In order to further appreciate the power of Chesed taught to us by Rus, we provide below five important and remarkable points made by the Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Ahavas Chesed (Part 2, Chapter 6):

1. When one performs an act of Chesed, he is rewarded not only for the check he wrote, coin he gave, or favor in time or effort that he performed, but he is actually rewarded for all of the direct consequences of his action as well. For instance, if as a result of charity given, a person was healed, or someone’s Shalom Bayis improved, one will be rewarded in kind for--**the results of his action**--almost always unknown--and not only for the action itself.

2. If a person acts in a kind way to others, Hashem will reward him so that when he needs kindness from others, he will find those who extend themselves to him, as well.

3. When one is Gomel Chesed to another, he will even be rewarded for the indirect effects of his Chesed. For instance, if through a loan which helps put someone into business he is able to hire previously unemployed workers, the loan is deemed extended not only to the borrower, but to all the workers who now have jobs as a result.

4. One davens daily for Hashem’s continuing Chesed. For instance, we ask: "Sim Shalom Tova...Chayn V’Chesed"--since Hashem rewards measure for measure, if one acts with Chesed, Hashem will respond favorably to our requests for Chesed for our people, as well. Indeed, both Rebbe Akiva and Ben Azai (Medrash Shochar Tov, Chapter 65), based on Pesukim in Tanach, both openly teach that if one is Gomel Chasodim, his Tefillos will be answered.

5. Finally, when one is Gomel Chesed with a Talmid Chacham in the manner which permits him to study Torah, he will merit sitting in the Heavenly Yeshiva and is considered as if he is attaching himself to the Shechina Itself, which is the great goal of mankind--dveikus in Hashem.

One must realize that all of the above is not simple allegory. It is based on Pesukim in Tanach and the words of Chazal. You can close your eyes and picture yourself cleaving to the Shechina as a result of your Chesed. Think about the Chesed of Rus which was performed primarily to one unfortunate person…it lead to a dynasty of Kings for hundreds of years...and will lead straight to the Moshiach speedily and in our day.

Now--it’s your turn!


Special Note Three: Our Kohanim perform at least one Mitzvas Aseh D’Oraysa, one positive commandment, when they convey the Birchas Kohanim upon us. Interestingly and importantly, the Biur Halacha (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 128:1) writes that the Sefer Chareidim, followed by Achronim, rule that if you have Kavana, intent, to receive the brachos of the Kohanim, you, too, have fulfilled the Torah Commandment, for every brocha that Hashem wants to give us through the Kohanim needs a recipient!

Based upon this, let us try to determine what the hugest Segula, the largest possible hope, remedy or treasure that a person can have, would be. As we all know, the place to look for our answers is the Torah--and the Torah, immediately preceding Matan Torah, explicitly states (Shemos 19:5) that if we properly listen to, learn and observe the Torah, "Vee’HeYeesem Lee Segula Meekol HoAmim"--And you shall be a treasure to me from all the other nations." This is truly remarkable! If we follow the Torah, WE OURSELVES (yes, you and I) become the most incredible Segula ever imaginable or possible, because we are no less than Hashem’s very own Segula. We do not need to do this or say that, go here or stay there--for the greatest Segula imaginable is, quite literally, embodied within us. Now, just as the recipients of the Kohanim’s brachos--the regular, plain Yisroelim--fulfill the Mitzvah by receiving the brachos, we can very reasonably and sensibly similarly suggest that if we give Hashem the opportunity to have His Segula, we become our own greatest Segula as well. We need not look without--but within.

In this connection, we relate the following true story. Someone who felt down and out in Shidduchim came to a Rav’s son, and poured out his heart. The Rav’s son listened with true care and concern, but really knew of no shadchan, or anyone else for that matter, who could help him. He further realized that the despair was affecting the single’s Torah learning and his previous "Mitzvah gedola leeheyos b’simcha" attitude, so he came up with the following suggestion: "Reuven--it is time for a real Segula for you--and I want to help. Here is my idea. It is now the summer, and we study, and review week after week after week, Pirkei Avos, which is so full of how our Fathers want us to behave that it is called Avos, and so full of how Hashem wants us to be that it is the only one of more than 60 Mesechtos in Shas that begins with its connection to Hashem--‘Moshe received the Torah at Sinai and....’ Indeed, it is so pure and purifying that HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, reports (Derech Sicha, page 485) that the Steipeler told his daughters (Rav Chaim’s sisters) to learn these Mishnayos l’iluy nishmas, in memory of, their mother, in the year after her petira. So my suggestion is that we each perform a SEGULA for you-- we each study Mesechta Avos over the summer, separately, and I will give you all of my zechusim, every ounce of my merit, for studying this Mesechta as a SEGULA for Hashem to bless you with your bashert. You will have a double SEGULA OF THE HIGHEST ORDER--my Torah study, and your Torah study. And, I’ll take it a step further. The Chofetz Chaim (in his Sefer Torah Ohr) emphatically writes that everyone should try to learn something very well, so that he will have something to think about or learn during what would otherwise be wasted time, when you has no book to refer to. Moreover, learning something very well makes it more and more part of you. As a GREAT SEGULA for you, if YOU will agree to learn Pirkei Avos by heart, I will do so, too. Let’s complete our goal by Rosh Hashanah!"

Not all stories have an immediately happy ending--the single person has not yet taken the leap and agreed to the SEGULA-FILLED undertaking. But now, how about us? This Shabbos, we will begin a new cycle of Pirkei Avos--we should take this truly amazing opportunity to be Hashem’s Segula--the ultimate Segula--by studying, reviewing and internalizing its powerful messages to us each and every week throughout the summer!


Hakhel MIS

Posted 6/2/2009 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Thoughts for the Week | Comments (0)

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