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Devar Torah - Behar-Bechukosai

Friday, 15 May, 2020 - 9:35 am

One Good Thought, One Sincere Prayer and One Good Deed with Ahavas Yisroel can and will Sanitize the World for the Geula

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

This week was Lag bOmer. On Lag bOmer the students of Rebbe Akiva stopped passing away.   According to Chazal the plague started  due to a lack of ahavas Yisroel, because of improper respect amongst the students of Rebbe Akiva. Rebbe Akiva was known to put great focus on the mitzvah of ahavas Yisroel.  Rebbe Akiva was the one who stated that ahavas Yisroel is a klal gadol-an essential axiom of the Torah. How is it possible that his students, the students of Rebbe Akiva would stumble specifically in this mitzvah?

The Rebbe explains that each one of the students of Rebbe Akiva were truthful and sincere and felt that they knew the true innermost way of Rebbe Akiva. Specifically because of each student's concern for their fellow student they felt compelled to share what they thought they didn’t know about Rebbe Akiva’s teachings. This is what led to disrespect. When they would converse with their fellow student they realized that he too felt precisely the same about their understanding. They  differed in their understanding because each person is unique and based on their unique perspective understood the message of Rebbe Akiva in a different way. Their inability to understand the unique but equally acceptable differences in approach is what brought about a lack of respect between them. Their passion to help  in their own way without properly understanding their fellow student’s different but equally legitimate way was what contributed to the downfall.

When the day of Lag bOmer  arrived they came to understand that everyone is right in their own way based on their own particular unique understanding, and that this itself is the true meaning of Rebbe Akiva’s ahavas Yisroel.  The day they reached this understanding  the plague stopped. 

The Rebbe spoke on the 28th of Nissan 5751-1991 that He has done all that He can to bring the Moshiach  and now it’s up to all of us to do everything possible to bring the Moshiach. The Rebbe said that each one of us should desire and push ourselves to do all that we can to bring about the coming of Moshiach.

A common response I hear from people about this is that if the Rebbe did all that is possible for the Rebbe, what difference could I possibly make to bring Moshiach? From others I hear, even if they are willing to try, that they do have no idea what exactly to do.

In a Sicha on Purim 5746-1986 the Rebbe  said; “Everyone should put in a hand to bring the Moshiach.” The Rebbe  was saying on both occasions, on the 28th of Nissan and on Purim,  that everyone is needed and necessary  in thought speech and deed, collectively, in order to bring the Moshiach. By adding something in Torah and good deeds we will break the quarantine of the galus and bring Moshiach.

May people question if we are worthy, in our times, to be redeemed from galus.

In a Sicha on the 7th of Marcheshvan 5746-1986 the Rebbe brought quotes from the Chidah and the Radak with regard to the connection between hoping and desiring the geula and dispelling plagues. 

The Chidah quotes the Yalkut Tehillim (Remez 736) that even if the Jewish people only have the hope for the Redemption they are fitting for the Redemption in the merit of that hope. 

The Chidah then quotes the bracha we say everyday in the Amidah: 

“The sprout of David Your servant, speedily cause to flourish and exalt his power with Your deliverance, Because for Your deliverance we hope all day.”

The Chidah then asks why the bracha says that because of our hope for Hashem’s deliverance that we will merit the coming of Moshiach. If we legitimately merit it then it will happen without the hope. If we don't merit, how will hoping help? But according to the wording of the bracha it's clear that in a time or place where we don't have merit nevertheless  the deliverance will flourish because of our hope. Because we have the hope for the coming of the Moshiach we are fitting for the Redemption.

Similarly we find a similar approach in the words of the Radak in Shmuel Beis (24:25)

The pasuk states: 

“And David built there an altar to Hashem and sacrificed burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. Hashem responded to the plea for the land, and the plague against Yisroel was checked.”

The Radak comments that Hashem accepted the prayers of those that dwelt in the land. The Radak then quotes Medrash Tehillim (17) in the name of R’ Shimon bar Yochai  that the thousands that fell in the days of David only fell because they did not plead for the Beis HaMikdash. R. Shimon goes on to say that if in those days when the Bais HaMikdash was not destroyed thousands fell because they didn't request it, all the more so in our days when it was destroyed. Is for that reason that the Zakeinim and Nevi'im planted within the mouths of the Jewish people to pray three times a day, everyday for the return of the Shechina and to Your Kingship to Tzion, and the order of Your service in Yerushalayim. The Radak ends by saying; Amen may it be Your will. 

With regard to our situation today during the corona pandemic we also need to broaden our horizon with regard to what we want for our future.  Without a doubt we  want our shuls  to reopen and that our communities and life in general should go back to normal. But that's not enough. We need to expand the horizon of our hopes and envision a much brighter future, a future of Geula. Now is the time to open up our hearts and our hopes. We need to put away our differences, even those about how to demand for Moshiach, and know that when we sincerely cry out in truth with ahavas Yisroel, in the merit of that hope,  as we say everyday in the Amidah, we are  fitting,  and Moshiach will come.

One good thought, one good prayer, one positive word to another and one good deed all with ahavas Yisroel can and will sanitize the world for the geula. 

 A Good Shabbos

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