Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Vaeschanan

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"And you shall love HaShem your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources." [6:5]

Our Sages explain in the Medrash that we must love every attribute of G-d, and whether we receive something good or bad, we should accept it with joy. As the Mishnah says in Pirkei Avos, the Chapters of the Fathers, "Who is rich? He who is happy with his portion."

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, is bothered by two aspects of this saying. First of all, how can we expect a person who is poor, and who provides for himself with difficulty, to be happy with his situation? And second, why does the saying refer to "his portion," rather than simply "he who is happy with what he has?"

To answer these questions, the Chofetz Chaim offers a parable. As we know, a carpenter needs a saw. But a carpentry saw is a simple instrument, available from any hardware store for a few dollars. So imagine if we were to take the simple, cheap saw away from a professional carpenter, and replace it with a high-precision instrument, a saw used by diamond-cutters worth hundreds of times the value of the original.

Have we done him a favor? Of course not! It may be true that a carpentry saw is worth much less, but it is a necessity if the carpenter is to do his job. He can't earn a living with a diamond-cutter, because he isn't capable of using it properly, and no one would entrust their diamonds to him. In order to get through wood, the carpenter needs his plain, simple instrument - a diamond-cutter is useless.

The Chofetz Chaim says that we must learn to look at the world the same way. The Holy One, Blessed be He, stands over every creature, and He knows exactly what each of us needs, and what tests each person needs to face. Some must be tested with poverty, to see if they will withstand difficult situations. Others must be tested with wealth, to see if they will open their hands to the poor. Every detail of a person's life is apportioned to respond to his or her unique needs, in order to enable each of us to perfect ourselves and the world around us.

Were a person to suddenly find himself in someone else's situation, in someone else's shoes, he would certainly be much worse off! This is why the Sages tell us that a wealthy person is one who is happy with his portion - using the language "portion" quite intentionally. That which each of us has, is apportioned.

Thus whenever we find ourselves in difficult situations, even those capable of causing great pain and anguish, we should not permit them to break us - for just the opposite, whatever we receive is for our benefit, so we should realize that we will profit from these tests like all others.

Obviously it takes a person on a high spiritual level to truly feel this way about every situation. But every person can take comfort in recognizing that G-d never abandons us, never leaves us in difficult times - and quite the opposite, we often feel G-d's closeness during the greatest trials. And, says the Chofetz Chaim, if a person is able to pass through such tests and not despair, this will stand as living testimony to that individual's trust and reliance on G-d's limitless love, care, and ability to help us.

Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.

 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

The Oil Of Anointing Was Meant To 'Light The Fire' of the Kohanim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

A Tale Of Two Crowns
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Ceding Control
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

> A Major Player
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Every Jew is a Spark
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Answering the Call
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

ArtScroll

Watermelons, Leeks, Onions, and Cucumbers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Shabbos Has Kept the Children of Israel Holy
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Building a Successful Nation
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5775

Looking for a Chavrusah?

No Need to Go Anywhere
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

The True Purim Experience
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Forged With Love
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Internal Confrontations
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

The Merit of Grandfathers At Work
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

A Moment Too Long
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Deadly Compromises
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information