Published Date: August 24, 2019
This week’s music: Dancing in Mezritch
Don’t sweat the small stuff? Today the small stuff is the big stuff. Like Reb Shlomo taught us so often, today we really don’t have access to any big Rebbes anymore so each and every one of us needs to be a little Rebbe. The Slonimer Rebbe teaches us that the opening of this week’s Torah portion, “V’haya Ekev Tishmeun,” and it will be when you will listen to all ……,” ( Devarim 7.12), please be aware according to The Rebbe, that time is now. This is the generation that is living, B’ikvei Hamashiach, in the foothills of Moshiach. That is us right now.
Our generation may not be the level to see and hear as in generations past. We don’t have that direct miraculous visual and audio proof of Hashem’s presence in front of us every day as our ancestors have had in the past, but we do have “emunah,” belief. This is our foundation which gives us the strength and support to live with hope and yearning for a beautiful Peace filled future.
We know from many sources that any time the Torah uses the word “v’haya”, and it will be,it is described as “lashon simchah,” a descriptive of joy. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, for example, brings down this teaching at the beginning of Parshat Ki Tavo, “V’haya ki tavo el ha’aretz asher Hashem Elohecha noten l’cha nachalah virishtah v’yashavta bah,” and it will be when you come into The Land that Hashem your God gave you as an inheritance and you will dwell in it (Devarim 26.1).
So I need to ask myself, where do I find my true simchah? If my belief is my foundation of life, than I need to find a way to actualize that source in my daily life.So we start each day with the prayer, “Modeh ani l’fanecha,” thank you God for granting me another day to realize my purpose of being in this world. Please help me see what my personal task is today. That thanks is immediately followed by the teaching , “Reishit chahmah yirat Hashem,” the beginning of wisdom is to be in awe of Hashem ( Psalms 111.10). Awe represents are very steadfast character, not to be moved by questioning ones belief. It is even more stable than love. However, we need love to complete the equation. Ahavat hashem, Ahavat Yisrael, basics for, as the Maharal would describe, a complete life in this world. Love of self, love of friends, love of God.
The one day a week when this is most accessible to us is on Shabbat. Through the simcha of Shabbat we can reach high levels that we cannot access during the week when we are busy with our daily routine and distracted with so many details. As The Slonimer reminds us, “Uv’yom simchatchem, elu hashabatot,” on the days of your joy, these are the Shabbat. (Midrash Tenaim on Bamidbar 10.10).
So on Shabbat we don’t merely settle for sweating the small details of “keeping the Shabbat,” of adhering to all of the “mitzvoth lo ta’ase’” those integral prohibitions of “labor “ on the Shabbat day, but look to add to our “yirat Hahsem,” awe of God by searching for the joyful experience of Shabbat which ultimately paves the way for the great simcha of clinging to God and making ourselves holy. As the Slonimer Rebbe brings in the name of Reb Chaim Vital ( Likutei Torah) on the verse, “kol hamitzvah…” ( Devraim 8.1), Hashem is gifting us with “the entire Mitzvah.” Just like a person is made of body and soul, and one can’t exist without the other so to we need to experience and appreciate all of our mitzvoth from both the “body” and “soul” aspect of the mitzvah, the awe and the love, the obedience and the joy, the complete entity of each mitzvah.
May we all be blessed to taste this great experience this coming Shabbat in every detail of our holy day.