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FRUMToronto Articles Parsha Pearls

Devrei Torah relating to the weekly Parsha.

Blog Image: Thoughts.JPG
Reb Shlomo Zalman- Matos Maasei
Hi Kids,                                                                                                                               
I hope you are all well and happy and anticipating our fast approaching time together. I have a message this week that I hope I can do justice to in this short e-mail. I'll try to be brief when possible.                                                            
The tribes of Reuven, Gad and 1/2 of Menashe, in all innocence and with all good intentions to do the right thing, ask Moshe if they could have their land allotment east of the Jordan river. Moshe gets angry at them and accuses them of jeopardizing the rest of the nation's entry into Israel. Everything worked out in the end but why was Moshe so worried and them not.       
The Alter of Kelm told a story.  Around the Yeshiva of Kelm was a wall with a gate that was locked at night. Someone was assigned to arrive very early to open the gate but one morning he didn't show up. Twenty to thirty guys were already gathered at the gate impatient to begin their day of davening and learning but they were locked out. Suddenly one guy had the idea of climbing the wall and unlocking the door from the inside. He did so and just as he opened the gate to everyone's relief, The Alter arrived. He was very angry at what he saw. Understanding that the one who jumped the wall thought he did a tremendous chesed to everyone, The Alter explained that he was upset because now the whole idea of the gate being locked up was compromised and nullified. Why did that occur to him and not to the student ? - because the student looked at the situation through the more narrow lense of his position as student, but the Alter looked at it from the perspective of the owner - the Baal Habayis - the owner must take into account many more things than anyone else. ( how often does this type of situation happen with our kids ! ).                
How far do we have to take the resposibility of being prepared for possible eventualities ? An example from the Gemara ( Taanis 21 ) - a story about the famous Rebbi of R' Akiva - Nochum Ish Gamzu.                                                  
It is hard to imagine anyone who lived a life of such horrific suffering as R' Nochum. Both his arms and both his legs were amputated. He was blind and he had painful and terribly itchy boils all over his body ( which, without hands, he could not scratch ). He laid in a bed whoselegs were each in a pail of water so that insects could not crawl up and onto the helpless sage. One day, his students were with him when they noticed the beams of the roof were starting to collapse. They rushed to his bed to remove him from the house before the roof would come down. He stopped them and instructed them to first remove all the holy books and other valuables from the house and guaranteed them that if they complied and then took him out last, nothing would collapse as long as he was still inside. They did as told and they were amazed at this new discovery of greatness in their Rebbe. They couldn't help but ask him once and for all how it was that such a great and holy tzaddik could be 'punished' with such a torturous and painful life. They were surprised that he actually knew the reason and that he was willing to tell them.                              
R' Nochum told his story : "Years ago, when I was perfectly strong and healthy, I was travelling down the road with 3 donkeys - one of which was packed up with food and drink. From the roadside, a starving beggar approached me desperate for some food ( it was not uncommon in those days for beggars to be holding at the point of real starvation ). I happily replied to the man that I would be glad to give him food - just to wait a second for me to get off my donkey and open a package of food for him. As I got off my donkey, the man fell to the ground. I ran over to him to try to revive him but it was too late - he had already passed on. I threw myself on top of him unable to console myself, castigating myself for not being fast enough - perhaps I could have saved him. Reacting with extreme contrition, through my tears I declared to the deceased - may my arms which did not value your arms be cut off ; may my legs which ignored your legs be cut off ; may my eyes which were blind to your pain, go blind and may my whole body which didn't react to the pain in your body, be covered in boils. I requested this life from Hashem and that's what I got - it is all for the best."                                                                                                                 
The Alter of Kelm asked on this story - why was R' Nochum so angry at himself - wasn't he doing the right thing already - what more did he think he could have done ? The Alter's answer : He should have thought about the possibility of meeting up with a starving man ( as it was not uncommon ) and was angry at himself for not bringing some food in his pocket ( eg. chocolate bar ) that could be given out immediately.                                                                                      
Not everyone is charged with such far-reaching responsibilities as a leader such as R' Nochum or Moshe in his argument to the 2 1/2 tribes. We are however sometimes deeply responsible for various people and things and in those areas, we must try our best to insure that we have covered all the bases.                                                                           
May Hashem give us the 'heart' to accept our obligations to Torah observance, to our spouses and children and to our communities and the wisdom to find ways to be meticulously careful to cover all our bases with understanding of all the ramifications of our actions.                                                                                                             
Have a wonderful Shabbos y'all. We'll see you all soon IY'H.        I LOVE YOU ALL , 'd'   

Posted 7/18/2009 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (0)

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