Thursday, November 17, 2016

Mussar Drosha: Vayera

Mussar Drosha: Vayera:

Baruch Hashem, we are now on to a new parsha – Parshas Vayera.  Now, we may ask, is this really a new parsha?  We have been doing it every year for.... how long?  But I will tell you that it really is new every single time you learn it.  The same with every parsha.  Hashem has made the Torah so, so deep and full of messages and lessons.  And there are new ones to see each time. 

So now, B’Ezras Hashem/with the Help of Hashem, let us start talking about the parsha:  One of the big things in this parsha is where Avraham Avinu and Sara Imeinu had Yitzchok Avinu.  Hashem, in His Great Kindness, promised a son to Avraham, and, of course, upheld His Word.  Now, we must think about the fact that Avraham was 100 years old, and Sara was 90 when they had Yitzchok.  Obviously, essentially no one would expect to have a child at that age.  But they did! 

In fact, Rebbe Avraham Schorr shlita says that the entire story of Yitzchok Avinu’s birth is to teach us to never give up.  A 90 year old and a 100 year old had a baby.  Never lose your faith and trust in Hashem![1]  His Salvation comes in the twinkling of an eye!  Your average person would have already given up a long while ago, but Avraham Avinu and Sara Imeinu didn’t!  They trusted in Hashem.  Hashem can make anything happen!  So don’t despair and think that “Oh, this won’t happen”.  Because, you know what; our Gedolim have taught us that if you truly trust in Hashem, then He will give you what you need.  And you must strive to fully trust in Him.  People, unfortunately, usually have doubts about the fact that if you trust in Hashem, things will work out totally, (I am not trying to say that you do......).  But if you truly have faith in Him, He will save you from everything.  In fact, I will bring you a few wonderful stories on this: 

1) So, one night, The Alter of Novhardok (HaRav Yosef Yozel Hurwitz zt"l) was learning in his house of solitude in the woods, and his only candle burned out.  Because of this, he was not able to continue his learning, and he was very upset about the Bitul Torah (wasted time that could have been spent learning Torah).  But, Reb Yosef Yozel zt"l, who completely trusted in Hashem, had total faith that Hashem would help him.  He walked outside into the night air, and suddenly, a stranger (likely either Eliyahu HaNavi or a Malach/Angel) came up to him, handed him a candle, and disappeared.[2]  Thus, Hashem saved Reb Yosef Yozel zt”l from Bitul Torah. 

2) (Note:  People are not sure if the Rav in this story is the Shelah HaKadosh (HaRav Yeshaya Horowitz zt”l) or the Alshich HaKadosh (HaRav Moshe Alsheich zt”l): 
One Shabbos, the Rav delivered a derosha/sermon in which he discussed that a person’s income is decided on Rosh Hashanah, and, no matter how much you work, you will get no more than what is decreed for you.  The Rav’s sister was married to a simple but very righteous Jew, who was a porter with a horse and wagon.  He heard this derosha/sermon, and the next day (Yom Rishon/Sunday) he Davened slowly, and after breakfast he sat down to say Tehillim.  He didn’t have to work! 
When his wife (the Rav’s sister), asked him why he wasn’t going to work, he replied that the Rav had said that whatever Hashem decreed would come to him no matter what, and so he could sit and learn.  His wife replied “That’s not what the Rav meant”, but he said “It is exactly what he meant; if you don’t believe it, ask him for yourself.” So she went to her brother, the Rav, and told him how he must be more careful about what he says in his derashos/sermons, because her husband had taken it to heart and would not go to work!  The Rav replied “If he is sincere in his trust in Hashem, his livelihood will indeed come to him.”

So, one day, a man came to “the husband’s” door, and saw the horse and wagon.  He wanted to know if they were for rent, and apparently, they were.  But this man happened to be a highway robber, who had buried his loot.  He rented the horse and wagon, and took them to dig up his loot.  However, after he had taken everything out and loaded it in the wagon, when he went down in the pit to check if he had left any coins, the dirt walls of the pit collapsed on him and killed him.  The horse, now laden with all the money, and gold was left alone.  But, somehow, it found it's way home by habit., and the Rav’s brother in-law became very rich.  And the Rav told his sister that this happened because her husband’s faith had been so simple and complete.[3] 

3) This one only happened likely around 20-30 years ago:  HaRav Daniel Yaakov Travis shlita (author of the Praying With Joy series and many other books) had just gotten married, and he and his wife were down in Rio De Janeiro, when suddenly, two huge thugs came over to him:  One started to choke him, and the other kept going through his stuff, looking for money, etc.  But the man choking him just wouldn’t let go.  If he didn’t breathe soon, Reb Daniel Yaakov would die!
Suddenly, the story about The Brisker Rav (HaRav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik zt”l) popped into his head:  About how he always thought about the fact that Hashem controls the entire world, and so no harm would come to him, as HaRav Chaim of Volozhin zt”l taught. 

So, one time, he was walking in a territory filled with Nazis (may Hashem erase their name), and he lost concentration on Hashem’s Oneness for a tiny bit, and immediately a Nazi came over to him.  He then regained full concentration, and the Nazi just walked away without saying anything!  (That is an awesome story in and of itself...) But, anyway, when Reb Daniel Yaakov thought about this story - about that Hashem controls everything, the men suddenly just ran away, and he was saved, Baruch Hashem.[4]  Wow!  See how Hashem protects us?

Now, on another note:  Unfortunately, most of the time it may look like your job is what makes you money and is how you put food on the table - but it is really Hashem.  It is only because He lets you have money and food that you have that stuff.  And the same goes for everything else. 

In fact, just recently, I heard a beautiful shiur from HaRav Daniel Yaakov Travis shlita (author of the Praying With Joy series, and many other books) very similar to this topic:  One of the things he discussed was that when you walk into a room and turn on a light, it is a test of faith. 

How?  Because, as he said, it is a test about whether you think that the switch and electricity turned the light on, or Hashem did.  Of course, He did.  Now, he did add that, yes, there is electricity, etc.  But Hashem controls it all.[5]  (Of course, though, Hashem, in His Kindness, has given us the power to choose and “control” what we do.)  May HaKadosh Baruch Hu help every single person trust in Him wholly – one of the very foundations of life – forever, Amein vi’Amein, so may it be His Will. 

Gut Nacht, and have a wonderful Shabbos!

Refoel Berel

[1] From  Shiur given by HaRav Shalom Rosner shlita.
[2] Sparks of Mussar, pages 122-123.  By HaRav Chaim Ephraim Zaitchik zt"l.  Feldheim Publications Ltd.
[3] Four Chassidic Masters - Page 54By Rebbe Avraham J. Twerski M.D. shlita.  The PocketScroll® Series.  From Shaar Press.
[4] From  'Ein Od Milvado.'  Shiur given by HaRav Daniel Yaakov Travis shlita.  
[5] From  'Ein Od Milvado.'  Shiur given by HaRav Daniel Yaakov Travis shlita.  

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