Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: AVODAH Category:EMUNA Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Fri, 03 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 The Joy that Mourning Brings to a Wedding Shlomo HaMelech tells us in Koheles (7:2) "Tov Lalaches El Bais HaEivel MiLeches El Bais HaMishteh", it is better to go to a house of mourning than a house of party. How could this be? Maybe we ca offer b'derech drush that the pasuk is referring to someone who needs to attend both a bais aveil and bais hamishteh. While a joyous simcha is far better to participate in than mourning, one should attend to the mourning first. A bais eivel is a place of pure and focused emotion. When one walks into a bais aveil and the spirit of someone who was alive just days ago, yet is no longer, hovers in the air, we live the moment and nothing else matters. No pettiness, no materialism, and no trivialities, take our eye off the ball. The world stops and only one thing consumes our attention, our mortality and our afterlife.

Simcha is the epitome of life but one needs to know how to celebrate it. There are so many distractions and sideshows that can diminish from a simcha and they sometimes even end up taking center stage while the actual simcha takes a back seat. Sometimes these distractions can even spoil a simcha.

Tov Lalaches El Bais HaEivel MiLeches El Bais HaMishteh Baasher Hu Sof Kol HaDam V'HaChai Yitein El Libo. A bais eivel is preferred for in it one sees the end of man and the living take heart. The bais aveil teaches us how to focus on what life is about, what is important and what is trivial. Only when we see the end, can we live the present, the way it is supposed to be lived. Only then can we attend a simcha and fully enjoy the beauty and true meaning of real simcha.

If you think life is about enjoying oneself or being treated fairly by fate you will have a hard time figuring out why less than enjoyable things happen to you. You will drive yourself crazy when you hear about the tragedies that happen to good and innocent people. Life becomes an enigmatic maze of bizarre, warped, and unfair events. Simcha is believing in Hashem and knowing everything is good. Simcha is stopping to smell the roses, clearly understanding the gift of every moment of life and what can be achieved by each and every one of us.

The halacha is that a man may annul his wife's vows if the vow will cause her affliction. While there is a machlokes whether or not washing oneself is considered affliction, it is clear that not being allowed to attend a funeral is definitely painful. Why, asks the gemara (nedarim 83b)? Because the pasuk says, "V'HaChai Yitein El Libo", when experiencing life's end, one learns to focus on what life is really about. Living life with a distorted view of the purpose of our being causes great pain and anguish. Only a life of clarity is a life worth living. May we always be B'Simcha, true Simcha, tamid.

Fri, 16 Aug 2013 03:00:00 +0000 Chazal tell us that a Jew must give Hoda'a Al HaAvar U'Bakasha Al HaAsid, be thankful for the past and daven for the future. Most people see the wisdom of Chazal in the latter half, which tells us even as we are saying thank you it is okay and even necessary to keep asking for more. However Chazal don't say things for nothing, and surely there is some deeper lesson in telling us that we need to be thankful for the past.

Life's natural cycle means we have constant ups and downs. If you think back surely you will see that although we have fond memories of the highs points we merited to enjoy, nevertheless it was the downswings that changed us and built our character. Often it takes an illness, a family disaster, or a financial crisis for us to get off the roller coaster of life and do some serious soul searching. It is these times that make us take stock and reevaluate who we are, how we lived our lives until now, and think about where we are headed.  

When the storm passes life is never the same. We emerge changed for the better and carry on with life as more solid people. While the good times are wonderful respites, looking back we don't often have what to show for it other than sweet memories.

In English the word "past" has a negative connotation, and the word "Avar" in Lashon Kodesh even more so. To say "what was", the word "Haya" is used. Avar connoted a difficult passage or a difficult experience that passed over you. Maybe when Chazal tell us to give thanks for the past, they mean for appreciation for the hardships. With the word Hoda'a we are reminded to cherish and incorporate into our lives the good that came out of it. With the word Avar we are also reminded that we have no need to carry the pain because it already passed.

The next words of Chazal, "Bakasha Al HaAsid" is not only telling us what to do once a crisis passes, but also how to handle a crisis as we are struggling through it. Each evening when we retire from another battle filled day we should be thankful that as difficult and painful as our day was, it is now history and pain can be left behind. We won, as we are still standing, alive and stronger than we were before the day started, while the day itself will fade into history. And then we lift our eyes Heavenward and beg Hashem for a tomorrow that will bring an end to our suffering, despite the wonderful benefits.

Thu, 20 Dec 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayeishev: Chazon Ish - Bitachon & Hishtadlus, What They Are & What They Aren't

Yosef was punished with two years additional years in jail because he asked the Sar HaMashkim to mention him to Paroh in the hopes of gaining his freedom. This request, says Chazal constituted a lack of Bitachon. The Meforshim ask that Yosef was merely doing Hishtadlus and trying to procure his freedom through normal ways. Isn't Hishtadlus not only permissible but required? To understand this we must first understand the true meaning of Bitachon and Hishtadlus.

Does Bitachon or reliance on Hashem mean that when I am faced with a problem I must be confident that things will turn out the way I'd like them to? No, says the Chazon Ish. Bitachon is an offshoot of Emuna, and the definition of emuna is that I believe that nothing in this world is by chance and everything is directed by the hand of Hashem. It follows that no matter what situation you face you must believe the outcome is the will of Hashem, and that Hashem can bring any outcome he desires without anything standing in His way.

So back to our question. If I am facing danger I can't know if I will be saved, but I must believe that whatever happens is Hashem's will, and since Hashem only wants what's good for us, whatever happens is by definition good. There is no bad outcome to any problem.

So then what is Hishtadlus? How can my efforts change what Hashem knows is good? One would reason that the only Hishtadlus needed is to daven to Hashem, for everything else is for naught. So why would I work on my behalf at all? The Chazon Ish explains that Hashem wants us to take action that in the eyes of the the world seem to achieve our goals because Hashem wants to run the world according to the laws of nature. Hashem wants to remain hidden as much as possible and not need to reveal His hand in running the world.

This seemingly logical explanation has far reaching implications in dictating how we must behave with regard to Hishtadlus. Since Hishtadlus means achieving our goals in a perfectly natural way, it rules out any action that has only a remote possibility of succeeding. If one takes action that has little chance of working or doesn't make too much sense, that is not Hishtadlus. Once something falls out of the realm of Hishtadlus it becomes an act of desperation and is forbidden since it shows a lack of emuna. It shows that you don't believe Hashem can solve your problem and will do anything to help yourself however remote.

The proper way to solve your problems is to daven to Hashem and hope for his salvation. At the same time you should take normal steps to solve your problem. Anything beyond that is a waste of time and a lack of emuna, so don't take a desperate shot in the dark. It will hurt you spiritually and won't help you come close to your goal even one iota.

Rav Dov Yaffa says that the Chazon Ish explained that this was the charge against Yosef for asking the the Sar HaMashkim to remember him. A minister of the stature of the Sar HaMashkim is not of the nature to return favors by humbling himself and rehashing his shameful past before the king. Yosef's request crossed the line of Hishtadlus and bordered on desperation, and for that he was punished. 

Tue, 04 Dec 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Our Amalek Problem

There are different approaches among the Rishonim as to what a person must do to satisfy his obligation of Hishtadlus (making and effort) in this world. Some hold that every person must always play by the rules of the game and do all the normal things humans even though it makes no difference. Others say that if you truly have complete emuna in Hashem, Hishtadlus is not necessary. Either way, everyone agrees that Hishtadlus has no ability to bear fruit and only Hashem's will determines success.

Our challenge is to believe that while our hands do the work, it is our emuna that actually gets things done. This is what makes Amalek our arch enemy. In a time where everyone believed in some sort of G-d or supernatural force, Amalek was the lone atheist. Amalek believed in nothing other than the natural order of things.

This why Amalek attacked the Jews, not only first, but quick on the heels of the destruction of Mitzrayim through supernatural means. While all the other nations were afraid of the Force protecting Bnei Yisroel, Amalek scoffed at the notion. They attributed all the miracles to pure coincidence. They had nothing to fear from the rag tag band of newly freed slaves. Moreover they wanted to prove to the world for once and for all that indeed there was no such thing as mystical forces, only whatever you can see with your eyes and feel with your hands.

The war with Amalek was a lesson in emuna for all generations. How did we fight? Moshe lifted his hands towards Heaven. When his hands became heavy Amalek had the upper hand. Why did he let his hands fall? How did lifting his hands help? Moshe was signaling to us that while the hands do the work, they are merely a show. It is Heaven that dictates the winners and losers, success and failure. "Vayehi Yadav Emuna", his hands were faith.

The Malbim says (Bishalach 17:12), "what were the hands that Moshe lifted that won the war? These hands were emuna. The faith that Bnei Yisroel had in Hashem were the hands that Moshe lifted heavenward to give Bnei Yisroel the upper hand." He explains that Bnei Yisroel struggled with their emuna in the war with Amalek. When it faltered, Moshe's hands became heavy. Physical hands cannot win a war and they grow tired. When Bnei Yisroel strengthened themselves, his hands were thrust Heavenward, inspiring them to continue.

Hashem's name will only be complete when we lift our hands towards Heaven and relinquish the notion that our hands serve us well in the natural order of things. Then we will wipe out the Amalek within us and remove any doubt about Hashem. We need to realize that no worldly occurrence no matter had big or small, in our private lives or on a national level is in any way related to the effort of our hands or the way of the world, only the grace of Hashem. It is incumbent on us erase the ideology of Amalek that has seeped into our psyche from the nations who host us. The more we believe, the more we remove the blinders called Amalek, the better off we will be and the faster we and the whole world will be zocheh to see Hashem in all his glory.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
The Borders Of The World Are The Borders Of Our Suffering "Mi Sheamar L'Olami Dai Yomar L'Tzareseinu Dai" he who told the world, "enough" should tell my troubles "enough" (Psikta Zuta). Rashi in Mikeitz brings this as Yaakov's final words as he brokenheartedly sent Binyomin, his remaining link to his dear wife Rochel, down to Mitzrayim to pay respects to the Mitzri ruler who had already imprisoned Shimon. What does it mean that Hashem told the world "Dai" or "enough"? What is the connection to a person's tzorus?

The gemara (Chagiga 12a) says that when Hashem created the world it continued to expand endlessly until Hashem screamed at the world and it stopped. The whole bria was created as a test for man. Before the Bria, Hashem's full light shone all over infinitely. The Bria was a darkness to conceal, to a great degree, Hashem's light. The world and nature serve to conceal Hashem. It is in this environment is where man's avodah takes place. The purpose of the bria is to see if man can find the light in the darkness or if he led deeper into it.

The darkness, or the world, that was created expanded until it reached the point where if Hashem concealed Himself any more, man would not have enough light to breakthrough the darkness and find Hashem. Man would be doomed to failure. Less darkness and the test would be too easy. At this point Hashem told the world Dai, enough.

Similarly, difficulties in life are given to us in life as a means of causing darkness but challenging us to see though it and find the light. All the darkness is really Hashem cloaked behind his veil, Hester Panim, waiting to for you acknowledge him. Sickness is to remind us that we are not invincible and Hashem is the only Doctor who can save us. Financial troubles are to teach us that Hashem grants sustenance and not good ideas and hard work. It is all good because whatever happens to us is just to maintain our equilibrium and create the perfect well balanced test for us to earn eternal reward.

When faced with an overload of Tzorus, Yaakov turned to Hashem and pleaded, just like you stopped the world before it became too dark for man to see, so too end our myriad of Tzorus before it becomes to dark for us to find You.

In a two thousand year Galus where Chazal tell us that each day brings new Tzorus and is worse than the day before, we ask Hashem, "Please, the world is so dark and we have lost our way. We can barely see you anymore. Shine your light on our Tzorus, and stop the world from its ever expanding madness."

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 03:00:00 +0000