Section: Moadim   Category: Weekly Sefirah Diary
Week 7 Malchus: Do You Want To Be A Hero?

A Chasid once came to the Kotzker Rebbe asking for a bracha and complaining about how hard he works and how little money he makes. The Rebbe asked him "why do you need to make more money?" The Chasid told the Rebbe that he works so hard that he has only a few minutes a day to learn torah. If he had more money he would be able to learn much more. The Rebbe answered him with the following question. "Who said Hashem wants your Torah? Maybe he wants your suffering!"

Yesod is about greatness, Malchus is about acceptance and total devotion to Hashem and negating our own selves. Our entire existence is merely to enhance Hashem's kingdom. We don't worry about hell or heaven. We receive our instructions from the king and run with it. It is not our job to decide if the job given to us is the best use of our unique abilities in service of Hashem. We don't ask and we don't question.

Shaul HaMelech was the epitome of greatness with every possible desirable attribute. His kingdom failed. Dovid HaMelech was not even considered a candidate among his brothers, yet Hashem promises his kingdom will last forever. Shaul with his greatness and one small mistake was told by Hashem "Do not be such a big Tzaddik". Dovid's Tehilim, composed with a devoted heart despite his mistakes, are forever rooted in the heart of every Jew throughout the ages.

Why is devotion better than greatness? Put simply the greatest human is still human, while someone devoted and attached to Hashem stops being human and becomes an extension of Hashem. Shimon HaAmsuni gained worldwide recognition spending his entire life proving his thesis that every time the torah says the word "es" it comes to add something. That is until he got to the passuk "Es Hashem Elokecha Tira"; Fear Hashem. At that point came to the conclusion that since no one is comparable to Hashem his theory must be wrong. Therefore in truth every "es" in the torah must be without meaning. Hearing this Rabbi Akiva said that indeed "es" adds the talmid chochom. How? Why?

The Baalei Mussar explain that Shimon HaAmsuni preferred to forfeit his life's work rather than placing an individual, no matter how great, in the same class as Hashem. Rabbi Akiva saw in this brave act 100% devotion to Hashem with no ego involved whatsoever. With this total negation of self Shimon HaAmsuni lost his humanity and became an extension of Hashem's will. Therefore concluded Rabbi Akiva, a Talmid Chochom of this kind is himself is divine and is the "es" that the torah refers to.

Greatness that misses the mark can lead you far from the path. Unquestioned devotion will always lead you back home no matter how far you stray. Some people in their misplaced ambition miss out on their life's goal because they are always waiting to get rich so that can be "real" baalei chesed or they don't learn torah since they will never be a great Rosh Yeshiva anyway. You may be prepared to die "Al Kiddush Hashem", but are you ready to eat "Al Kiddush Hashem? Are you ready to talk "Al Kiddush Hashem"? Don't wait around for the opportunity to be a big hero. Every second of every day Hashem gives us an opportunity to shine like the stars and light up his world. Sadly, in our narrow view of greatness we just don't realize it.

This last week of Sefirah after graduating week by week in middos and emunah we give it all back to Hashem. We don't demand important roles in life befitting our new skill set. No, instead we tell Hashem we now are fully capable to serve you in any way you wish. The choice is yours and whatever you choose we are ready to accept his Malchus.

As Shavuos approaches we take an honest look at our lives and declare wholeheartedly "Na'aseh V'Nishma"; we will do what you say, without question. Only then can we become the people of the Torah, the chosen nation, the people of Hashem.