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Devar Torah - Bamidbar

Friday, 22 May, 2020 - 11:00 am

Seize the Moment, Change the World! 
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

This week we begin Sefer Bamidbar.  A desert in the spiritual life of a Jew is the feeling or sense of being away from home and out of our element. We are in the desert, or in the galus, where we don’t belong. We belong in Eretz Yisroel our home and we are anxious to get there as soon as possible. We need to be careful not to become weakened or complacent in the meantime because we are caught in between where we are and where we would rather be. Sometimes, because of this protracted struggle we allow ourselves to give up responsibility for the outcome thinking that we have been overcome to some degree by circumstances. We would like to succeed in serving Hashem in all areas, but after all we are but a little spot in the midst of a vast desert..

Although we may be stuck in the galus, in the vast desert, nevertheless just as Hashem gave the Jews in the desert the ability to build a Mishkon for Hashem, so too He has given us great powers to succeed in our struggles. We have the power to transform the desert into a garden by making our homes an extension of Eretz Yisroel, as the Tzemach Tzedek taught: “Mach da Eretz Yisroel- Make Eretz Yisroel here” in each one’s own life home and environment.

What does it mean to make Eretz Yisroel here? It means that while there are many formidable obstacles and challenges in life, unique to each person, and it seems that the circumstances block our ability to fulfill our purpose in this world; nevertheless, just as Yaakov overcame Lavan as well as the Angel of Eisav so too, all of us have been given that strength.  Just as Yaakov was given the name Yisroel which means that he wrestled with and then overcame all difficulties so too hidden within us is a very strong will, ratzon to fulfill our purpose of making out of our life a Mishkon for Hashem. This is the meaning of making here Eretz Yisroel. Eretz means the will (as in the saying; ‘Eretz Yisroel is the land that runs [ratzesa] to do the will of Hashem).

Sometimes we may think; will one thought, one word or one action change the entire world? There are billions of people on this earth and my ‘lone voice in the desert’ will make all the difference? We know that we are a nation of Kohanim and a holy nation. Everything that we do 24/7 with all that we have is done to serve Hashem in one way or another. Our unique role in this world as a nation of Kohanim makes all the difference and transforms the world into Eretz Yisroel wherever we are found.

But where do we get the vitality need to reveal this will? We get the vitality from “Toras Chayim”, from receiving the Torah at Sinai, in the desert, Bamidbar Sinai. Moshe Rabbenu first received the Torah and then he gave it to us, as the pasuk says; Torah tzivah lanu Moshe morasha kehilas Yaakov. Everyone one of us, man woman and child has received the entire Torah on all levels, pshat, remez, drush, sod etc, with all the teachings of the Tanaim, Amoraim and Geonim etc, as a personal inheritance.  By studying and connecting to Toras Chayim we have the vitality to make Eretz Yisroel here. Because we are a Nation of Kohanim we can make a Mishkon for Hashem in this world. This is who we are, and our ability is unlimited because it is connected to Hashem’s Torah.

The Rambam says that one thought, word or deed tips the scales of the entire word toward salvation. This teaches us the greatness and the power of every moment. We reveal the greatness of every moment because we are connected to Toras Chaim, the living Torah, then every moment, every day, every week, month and year is infused with true life. This is the power to overcome all challenges and be victorious in our mission to bring Moshiach now!

(Adapted from the Sicha of  the 23rd of Iyar 5742-1982)

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