If a man's parnassa is decreed on Rosh Hashana, so why should he have to go out and work, let him lie in bed all day long?
Here is how it's decreed; it's decreed on Rosh Hashana that if you'll do this and this, you'll get
this and this – that's what's decreed. If you'll do something else you'll get this. We think it's a
simple thing; that it's written, it's inscribed such an amount and that's all. Hakadosh Baruch
Hu does things in a subtle way; it's far beyond the ability of humans to understand. Certainly
it's decreed… what's decreed?
If it's decreed that a man will have a full year of happiness for the year to come, then he
decides to bang his head against a brick wall just for fun, he wants to bang it three or four
times smartly against the brick wall. So he'll say if it's decreed that I'm going to live happily,
so the wall will be as soft as mush. No it won't be; it'll be hard as brick. So it's decreed based on
certain conditions, and if he goes with those conditions that's what he's going to get, what's
However if a man tries to outdo what was decreed, then he's going to be disappointed; there
are maximums that he's given.
Rav Miller on the Parsha: Nitzavim
(יט:ל דברים (בחיים ובחרת And you shall choose life. (Devorim
This Mitzvah is one of the highest degrees (Shaare Teshuvah III:17). This means: not only does
Hashem allow us the Free-Will to choose (a principle that materialist psychologists deny), but
He also gives us the information that we possess the ability of Free-Will. But not only this, but
Hashem in His great kindliness also urges us to choose Life. This means that when we keep
His Torah we not only are choosing Life, but we are pleasing Hashem who "desires Life"
(Yecheskeel 18:23) for us. Thus whenever a good deed is done, we can beforehand add the
intention of fulfilling this Mitzvah of "choosing Life" in order to cause pleasure to Hashem
Who so greatly is interested in the life of every one of His beloved people. To add this intention
to our Mitzvos and good deeds, and to keep this intention in mind as much as possible, is one
of the highest degrees.
Thus instead of eating and sleeping by mere force of habit, or instead of being polite to our
fellowmen because of custom alone, and instead of Tefillin and Mezuzos and Shabbos
observance and Kashrus without any additional thought, if we had the intention of causing
pleasure to Hashem Who wishes that we choose Life, then we are attaining a very high degree.
But this is a Mitzvah ("Choose Life") and is not an optional piety, for Hashem demands of us
that we choose Life. We are hereby sternly admonished to have compassion upon ourselves, so
Parshas Nitzavim 5781
y y p p ,
that we gain the supreme gift called life.
What is this gift of life? (1) It is the priceless opportunity to live longer, in order to achieve
more and more Perfection and merit. (2) And it includes the infinite happiness of the endless
Afterlife. Thus Hashem in this verse commands "You shall choose life" for your own benefit;
and to neglect or waste this opportunity to gain Life is one of the greatest catastrophes that
could ever happen. To lack compassion on one's self by failing to seek Life, is the crime of
crimes. Hashem pleads with us to have pity on ourselves: "Choose Life!" By doing that which is
our duty, we are thereby gaining Life in this world, as well as eternal Life in the Afterworld; for
we have (1) fulfilled the specific Mitzvah, (2) in addition to fulfilling the general Mitzvah of