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3 Tammuz 5762 - June 13, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Opinion & Comment
To Cry Out and Plead for Mercy from Hashem, But to Understand That This is Not All!

Maran HaGaon R' Shach, zt'l in words of chizuk concerning the people's needs in times of trouble

Dear Talmidim, cherished Bnei Torah,

Our situation in Eretz Yisroel is indeed terrible. There is no day whose curse is less than its predecessor's. Each day and its deaths, another Jew, another two. Circumstances like these never existed in the world. It is devastating. A fear to walk outside.

A Day of Prayer was announced for saying Tehillim by the Kosel, while those who were able to fast half a day were urged to do so. To be sure, this is what is expected of us in times of trouble, to cry out and seek mercy from Hashem, as is explicitly stated by Chazal and by the Rambam. This is dealt with in the laws of fasting.

This pertains to the entire nation. But a ben Torah must understand that this is not sufficient. There is more to it and it deserves examination.

Hashem promised Avrohom Ovinu that the entire country would be his someday, even though at the time he was still wandering from place to place. One condition, however, was stipulated in the Torah: "For I know him that he commands his children and his household after him so that they guard the path of Hashem to do charity and justice."

Hashem declares: "For I know," which is used elsewhere as a term of love. I love him. Hashem loves Avrohom, and there is what to love in Avrohom Ovinu.

Avrohom is an old man of one hundred with an only son. All his life he has sought to love Hashem and endear Him to mankind, for this is the ultimate purpose of man. And then, having finally granted Avrohom a son, Hashem goes and commands him to slaughter that son.

Avrohom does not probe Hashem's purpose or His attributes for a moment. He asks no questions but goes forward to slaughter his own son. En route, Yitzchok asks his father, "Where is the sacrificial lamb?" He soon realizes that he is to be the sacrifice: Hashem has commanded that he be slaughtered.

Truly, Yitzchok could have died from fright just from that realization, but when he hears his father insinuate that he is to be that sacrifice, Yitzchok, already thirty-six years old, asks no questions, just like his father. He mounts the altar and allows himself to be bound with acquiescence and joy, for this is the chinuch he has received from Avrohom, his/our father, not to ask questions. Hashem said -- so be it, thus shall we obey. "For I know him."

Hashem loves him because he has trained and commanded his sons and children after him. Hashem loves Avrohom because after he dies, he will be leaving behind a son, someone to follow in his ways and carry on his resolute and unquestioning love for Hashem. This is the attribute required of mankind.

Let us ask the people of today, "Where are your children?" If your offspring deny the Shabbos and shun the commandment of tefillin, can you be said to have children? Whoever does not study Torah, who does not frequent the houses of Torah study, does not eat kosher or put on tefillin, who does not preserve family purity and even goes so far as to desecrate Yom Kippur, is like a man without children. He is a solitary entity. He has nothing, and when he dies, he leaves no trace behind him.

Dear, precious bnei Torah: You, with your blessed deeds, see to it that your father has a son. For your sake did Hashem promise the Land of Eretz Yisroel.

If we wish to save and preserve this Land, that it continue to be the Land of Israel, we must fulfill "because he commands his sons and his household after him." That they remain sons, worthy of that title.

Every father who has a son here, has a portion in Eretz Yisroel. In his merit there are people in Eretz Yisroel. Is there any institution, any edifice, in Eretz Yisroel as great as this? You should be happy that you are sons unto your fathers. And that you, sons, have a father. Because thus, when a person passes on from this world, he can continue to live on and be secure and happy that he has left behind a son.

This is what is required from us at this difficult time, when we are circumscribed by troubles, to reinforce ourselves with " . . . because he commands his household after him." Only thus can we hope for deliverance.

(From "Michtovim uMaamorim, part 6)

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