All for the Boss
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik
This Shabbos follows Rosh Chodesh Kislev the day the Rebbe came out of his room after suffering a heart attack in 5738-1977. This Friday was Beis Kislev, the day 10 years later 5748-1987 when the Sefarim were returned to the Previous Rebbe's library.
This week's parsha speaks about how Yitzchok planted grain in the land of Gerar and reaped an estimated 100 times greater than a regular crop. Rashi asks why we need to know this, and explains that the reason the Torah gives this estimation is to teach about the need to give maaser.
Pirkei D'Rav Eliezer asks; is it possible that Yitzchok Avinu planted grain? Chav v'Shalom! What he planted was tzedaka. Why is the Pirkei D'Rav Eliezer bothered by the possibility that Yitzchok Avinu planted grain so much so that he had to negate the possibility by saying Chas v'Shalom? Why did he instead say that he planted tzedaka, which is not seemingly according to the simple meaning of the verse?
The answer is because the Avos are a merkavah, a chariot of Hashem in this world. Nothing they do is for personal gain. By the Avos everything in this world is Hashem and is for Hashem, everything is for Torah and mitzvos. In general when a person has wealth, he recognizes that he needs to share it with others. By Yitzchok this was different, it was the exact opposite. He didn't plant and then give, rather his first priority was only the mitzvah of maaser. Because he had a mitzvah to do he needed to plant grain in order to have something to give.
We see a similar approach by Avraham Avinu as well when Hashem praised him that his greatest accomplishment of all was l'maan yetzave, that he taught his children and passed on his way in the service of Hashem with all he had to them. His first priority was to serve Hashem and go in His ways, therefore he wanted a family to give to so that they too would follow in the ways of Hashem to give tzedaka etc. (His son Yitzchok brought this service to an even higher level.)
This is the meaning of the Pirkei D'Rav Eliezer when it asks; is it possible that Yitzchok Avinu planted grain? Chav v'Shalom! The intention is that he didn't plant to first have and then give, rather his only intention was to give maaser. This applies to all mitzvos. We have this in mind when we think while doing the mitzvah of learning Torah. It's in our speech when we do mitzvos such as saying the Shema. It's also our intention while we put on tzitzis for example, which is referred to as Hashem's garment (perusa d'Malka), when we intend to accept Hashem's kingship upon ourselves with this mitzvah which represents all of the 613 mitzvos. We have this same intention as we drink a cup of water. We would like to make a bracha to thank Hashem for everything but we need something that we can make a bracha upon, so we take some water and make the bracha, shehakol n'yehe b'dvaro.
This is also the reason that we bring our very best, not just our leftovers to Hashem. Whether it's by making the Shul the best building in the city or by bringing our best animal as a korbon or by sharing our best food with guests etc. This is what Avraham taught us. Yitzchok brought out the service of having singular focus on the Shul, the korbon and the guests therefore i have what is necessary to do those mitzvos.
When we reflect on this we might feel that this is beyond our level, something too unrealistic to actually achieve. It is for this very reason, that it is very difficult, that Hashem has provided us with our Rabbeim. This is what hiskashrus is all about, and this is what we celebrate on Rosh Chodesh Kislev and Shabbos Beis Kislev. When the Rebbe got well and emerged from his office, returning on Rosh Chodesh Kislev a great expansion began. Just as by the Avos, so too by the Rebbe; the new life provided was all for Hashem all for Torah, mitzvos and the spreading of Chassidus and to continue preparing the world for Moshiach in an even greater and more expansive way.
In turn the Rebbe has explained that this is also true for each and every one of us. Once when the Rebbe met a newscaster he explained that his purpose is to reveal Hashem through his newscasting. We are all created to serve Hashem in a unique way according to each individual ("Ani nivrasi l'shamesh es Koni- My purpose is to serve my Creator).
As Chassidim, the Rebbe's focus is our focus: therefore our entire focus is on Hashem.
Once Rabbi Yitzchok Hendel from Montreal bought a house from another Jew. He asked the Rebbe a question about using a heter iska (a business permit) in making the purchase. The Rebbe instead asked him about the Jew and whether he kept Shabbos, put on Tefillin or kept kosher. When Rav Hendel seemed surprised because the Rebbe's answer seemed unrelated to the question about the heter iska the Rebbe, seeing his surprise said: "How is it possible not to take an interest in another Jew's ruchinus (his spirtual condition)?".
This is our focus, we look at everything first and primarily as ways to serve Hashem (l'shamesh es Koni). May we immediately merit the revelation of the world being filled with the knowledge of Hashem together with Moshiach Now!
A Good Shabbos A Good Chodesh