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Devar Torah - Vayigash

Thursday, 17 December, 2015 - 10:00 am

Our Greatest Opportunity 
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Once by a fabrengen Rabbi Naftali Estulin related a question he was asked about not taking off time from Avodas Hashem. The person first said that we serve Hashem around the clock 24/7 365 days a year. He then asked; what would be so terrible if I took a little vacation here and there to do whatever I feel like doing, just to have a good time?

Why does a person feel a need to get out and get loose? It really depends on perception. What does Torah and mitzvos look like? Does it look like one restriction piled on top of another? This is especially true for Lubavitchers who have even more restrictions! Whether it’s the restrictions of food having to be cholov Yisroel and pas Yisroel year round or not being able to even trim our beards or saying the entire Tehillim on Shabbos Mevarchim, it looks like a lot of restrictions. Once someone said to me; Hey Rabbi you don’t let me live!

On the other hand there is a completely different much better way to see things. We can see the Torah and mitzvos for what they really are, an amazing opportunity and joy to be able to do something for Hashem, my Father my King.  Once by a fabrengen the Rebbe told a story told of a conversation he had with a diamond dealer who came for advice in keeping Torah and mitzvos. The Rebbe asked him about his trade, how diamonds are sized and rated, how much a ½ carat diamond weighs, then a 1 carat stone then 2 carats etc. The Rebbe then asked how could a person possibly want to wear a large high carat stone if it would be so much heavier than a small low carat one. The man replied that when it’s a diamond it’s never  too heavy to carry. So too with mitzvos, every mitzvah is another diamond. It’s all a matter of perspective. If it’s seen as restrictions then you’ll want the day off. If it’s seen for what it really is, an opportunity for the neshama, then you’ll wait with anticipation to do a mitzvah and always want another opportunity to do even more.

At a fabrengen for Shabbos Mevarchim Tammuz 1980 the Rebbe answered someone’s question of what the big deal is if he misses one time Tehillim on Shabbos Mevarchim. The Rebbe explained that it’s like food for the neshama. It’s like someone telling you that you have already been eating for 50, 60 years and then suggests that you take a week off from eating. Anyone who would hear such an idea would think the man is meshugena! What’s the fact that he ate for 50, 60 years got to do with right now? Today he needs to eat if he wants to survive. This is true for the neshama also; it needs the Torah and mitzvos today. We know the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that Hashem is constantly renewing the creation. Because of this we need to constantly draw down a new, better and more revealed connection with Hashem. This new month is being recreated from nothing. This month needs also it’s own avodah of Tehillim.

This is also like the brachos we say over mitzvos; “Asher kidshanu b’mitzvosav”. Don’t read just that He sanctified us, but also “asher”, that we have oisher, joy, pleasure for the mitzvah with which He sanctifies us.

On Tu bShvat 5739 the Rebbe brought the mashal of hide and seek for galus. As long as the son searches for his father he does not become too complacent or too comfortable. Once he makes peace and gives up his search then it’s a double galus. As long as were uncomfortable with any distance from Hashem then we are still alive. If we always feel like we are missing something and we always want to be closer to the Rebbe and to mitzvos then we are filled with desire, otherwise it’s dry.  In order to keep feeling, to stay alive and to keep growing we need Chassidus. It gives us the life to bring into every mitzvah and constantly bring us closer to coming of Moshiach Now!

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