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2 Cheshvan 5776 - October 15, 2015 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Our Obligation at This Time: HaRav Gershon Edelstein

It is man's nature that when things are troubling him he turns to emunah and does teshuvoh. I once saw a pediatrician who did not keep Shabbos at all. But when her son got sick she sent candles to the beit knesses. Like it says, "Fear shatters even a hard body." Fear breaks the yetzer hora of the body. She understood that sending candles to a beis knesses is a mitzvah, but bnei Torah must do more to be chozer beteshuvah.

When a community is in danger, our emunah tells us that it is due to Hashgochoh. Whoever cares about the troubles of the community will be inspired to do teshuvoh, just as he would if he had personal problems. When one does teshuvoh it adds merit for even one tzaddik can protect an entire generation through his merit, as Rashi says, "Is there a tree there?" — is there an odom kosher who may protect them with his merit. Whoever is not inspired to do teshuvoh and to better his ways, does not care about the tzoros of the community and is following a cruel path.

We are in an eis tzoroh. There were casualties already, R"l, and it is our obligation at this time is to empathize with the distress of the community and to do teshuvoh. We should even empathize with the distress of an individual and certainly with the distress of the entire community. Every one should think about what he or she in particular needs to do teshuvoh for. There are two basic things that should be strengthened: hasmodoh in Torah and tefillah bekavonoh.

Tefillah is very difficult, but whoever makes an effort in the right direction is helped by Heaven. Boruch Hashem many daven with kavonoh and feel "before Whom they stand." But some need strengthening in this area. What is bad is when people speak devorim beteilim in a place of tefillah and/or Torah. Even a conversation about business is forbidden in a beis knesses, all the more so devorim beteilim which is a very serious issur.

Hasmodoh in Torah also needs chizuk as it is one of the things that has no limit. Even in our generation there are some who never take their mind off of Torah, and they are always thinking about some question or comment in Torah. Every time one meets them they immediately begin to talk in learning. It is as if they are in the middle of learning. But not everyone is like that and there should be chizuk in dveikus to Torah. We can do a lot with the power of Torah, as it says, "Torah protects and saves."

I once heard from the Ponovezher Rav that this is the promise of the Torah: "You will live in security in your land." We live in security without fear, and the fact that we are relaxed is not natural but a neis in the middle of another neis. The first neis is that we are alive and thriving in the midst of all the danger. The other neis is that we are relaxed and do not feel the danger. Chazal said that often the subject of a neis does not recognize the miracle. But when one sees the situation it is a warning from Heaven.

The posuk says, "It burned all around and he did not know, and it burned on him and he did not pay attention." At the beginning there are troubles all around, in other nations. But if that is not enough, "he did not know," if we do not arouse ourselves to mend our ways, then there are troubles in Israel, "it burned on him," it burns inside. Still "he did not pay attention," if they still do not try to respond to what Shomayim wants, then things get worse, R"l.

Therefore we must try to make real changes, to strengthen Torah and tefillah, to make them more serious and for longer. Chazal said that who caused them to be successful in the gates of Jerusalem in war? That they learned Torah. I heard that senior army officers are also convinced of this, after seeing miracles that they realize are not natural, but are in the merit of Torah.

We will mention another important thing, that is already in the Mishna Berurah and all poskim, and what was always done, that one should learn mussar seforim every day. There are many seforim that are full of chizuk and mussar, and every one can find a sefer mussar that he likes. Some like to learn Orchos Tzaddikim that is good for everyone. I know someone who likes to learn Sefer HaIkkarim that strengthens emunah. There are many more seforim. Every one should choose a sefer than influences him and attracts him.

Chazal said that Chavakuk reduced them to one: Tzaddik be'emunoso yichye. The main chizuk should be in emunah, to know that everything is in the hands of Heaven and nothing happens by chance. We have to thank Hashem for every breath. Every minute of life is a chesed from Shomayim and we have to act accordingly. This way we will be zoche to Olam Habo and also the fruits in Olom Hazeh.


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