Devar Torah - Ki Tisa

Thursday, 13 February, 2014 - 12:01 am

A Lubavitcher Chosid is a Marine!

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Last week we spoke about how Chassidus stresses the need for hiskafya in our avoda, meaning that we must control our desires even the ones that are permitted. The laws of nedarim relate to hiskafya.  Why does one make a vow? Because sometimes we feel that we cannot control ourselves. Chassidus explains that once we give in to desires that are permitted – then we may lose control, chas v’shalom, of our desires that arenot permitted. Since this may lead to negative things we make a vow to control ourselves.  But, according to Torah it’s better not to make a vow.  The reason is because it’s better to take control in the first place with the permissible; then there would be no need for vows.

That’s exactly how the yetzer hara works. The yetzer hara doesn’t generally start by telling us to do things, which are prohibited.  It usually starts with things that are permissible, until we get caught into its web and fall chas v’Shalom into things that are prohibited.  There’s a side to us that says; be like everyone else.  Why be so square.  Don’t be so particular in what you wear or what you eat.  Why be so stringent. Enjoy life!  Do whatever makes you feel good and if something is hard for you – find a heter that makes it permissible.

This is not new. All of this originates from the nachash (snake), which seduced Adam and Chava. The snake that told her it’s all right for her to eat what she wants. We deal with this same nachash in different forms; it tells us to enjoy ourselves, to find a heter, go to college, get a good education, become a mentsh, be like everyone else. It’s just like being a drug addict. At first he takes over the counter drugs. Then he moves on to prescription drugs to numb the pain. Finally he gets into illegal hard drugs, which could chas v’Shalom lead to an overdose.

I heard from an acquaintance how someone told him that he eats at a certain schwarma restaurant but he would like the restaurant to have a better hechsher.  So my acquaintance asks him – so why do you eat there?! The person answered; “This place makes the BEST schwarma in town!!”  This is an example how we lose ourselves to our desires because we first need the schwarma, and only after hope to get a good hechsher!

There’s a din in Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, Siman 81 that says if someone eats or drinks cholov akum, it is m’tamtem halev, it stuffs the heart (spiritually).  Therefore if we eat non-cholov yisroel, our hearts become numb, and we lose feeling for yiddishkeit chas v’shalom.  That’s why in Shulchan Aruch it says that a child should not have a non-Jewish nursemaid.   There is also a halacha that if a women had to eat something that is not kosher, because of her health, she should wait till the food is digested, before nursing, so the baby should not nurse from that non-kosher food; because it can harm the baby later in life.  Even things that we don’t have to be machmir for with regard to children can still harm them when they become an adult. Therefore, Chassidim were very careful of what they brought into the house to eat or what they were reading and learning.  All of this affects the children.

There was a kashrus symposium in our city with the OU, Kehillah and RCC.  Rabbi Teichman said there is a halacha that discusses what happens when Beis Din Hagadol in Yerushayim paskened that a certain type of fat is permitted to eat and then later retracted and fobade it because it was a mistake.  Although people relied on the Beis Din, in certain cases each individual would have to bring a Korban Chattas, even though he relied on Beis Din, because it’s his responsibility to make sure that what he eats is kosher.  That means that if you  thought you were eating something kosher and found out it wasn’t, You need to ask forgiveness and get a kaporah –  (besides the organization). It’s the responsibility of the consumer who eats it.

That’s why Chassidim are always careful with what they eat or see physically.  It can affect us spiritually.

In the non- Chassidic world, they call non- Cholov Yisroel - “Cholov Stam”.  We, as Lubavitcher Chassidim know that there is no concept of Cholov Stam. There are people that say; “If everyone else can have it, so can I!”  But, if I’m a Lubavitcher Chassid and I know that the Rebbe did not accept that heter – then how can I accept it? You can find in the Rebbe’s Sichos and letters that Cholov Akum is m’tamtem the lev (heart), but still many ask why it that Chabad needs to have a higher standard.  Why do we need to feel deprived? 

Rabbi Gershon Schusterman told a story of Mr. Rubinson who came to 770 and spoke to the bochurim and explained that Lubavitch Chassidim are likes the Marines not like regular people. To understand this we need to remember that this year is a leap year like the year of 1927 when the Previous Rebbe gave over the Maamer on Purim Katan.  The Previous Rebbe demanded mesiras nefesh. He was worried about Klal Yisroel and he was like a general fighting for Yiddishkeit and we are like the Marines fighting with Mesiras Nefesh.  The same thing happened when the Previous Rebbe came to America.  The Rebbe sent shluchim all over America to take care of every Jew.  Now we have shluchim all over the world, in Cambodia , Vietnam, China,  India, Australia, Morocco.  Why are they there? They are the Marines out in the battlefield with mesiras nefesh. 

Six weeks after my mother and father were married they were sent to Los Angeles.  Los Angeles was not the same then as it is now.  But the Rebbeim sent out the Chassidim like soldiers.  To be able to accomplish this, a Marine needs to act differently than everyone else. The Lubavitcher yeshivas are like West Point, the training ground for the marines.  They have to be on a higher level than everyone else.  A Marine has a different education than a regular citizen. Every Jewish child needs to be educated that he or she is a Ben and a Bas Melech.  Everything is by divine providence. We see this from The Queen of England.  She asked her family to be more modest.  Our children are royalty.  We need to ingrain in our children the message that they are the princes and princesses.  If this feeling is instilled they will want to be modest in the way they act.  They will act with higher standards. As Lubavitchers we have to remember that we are the Marines, and therefore there is an even higher standard for us.

Once we understand this we can educate the next generation and bring about the Geula Sheleima.

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