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Fire It Up!
The Pasuk says וכל חכם לב בכם יבאו;
all those of wise heart shall come… It is said from the Be’er Mayim Chaim that
any smart person will bring his heart- to act with passion and enthusiasm. This
is unlike לבו רחק ממני; distanced its heart from me.
We can’t do things by rote as in מצות אנשים מלמדה- davening another Tefila
and the like.
As someone once put it, “When it comes to that which is spiritual,
it is all about putting spirit into your ritual!” In this way, the Kotzker
Rebbe interprets לא תעשון כן לה' אלה-יכם-
don’t perform acts כן; by doing it out of habit or to just
fulfill your obligation. There is a quote that reads, “The really
dangerous thing about existence is that it is not a question of sink or swim
but that it is possible to float.”
R’ Shlomke Zvhiller
was extremely happy each morning when he put on Tefillin. He once remarked that
the joy of a great Rasha when he commits a sin can't compare to the joy he
receives when he puts on Tefillin.
The Gemara tells us of the
praiseworthy deed of R’ Adda Bar Ahava who never slept in the house of study- לא ישנתי בבית המדרש.
This can also be understood as his Torah (בית המדרש) was learned with
enthusiasm, not in a sleepy way (לא ישנתי).
After relating the
disagreement where R’ Yishmael says that one should work and learn whereas R’
Shimon Bar Yochai says to only learn, the Gemara states הרבה עשו כר' שמעון בן יוחי ולא עלתה בידן; many did like R’ Shimon Bar Yochai and
were not successful.
It is said from the Baal Shem Tov that it didn’t work because הרבה עשו כר' שמעון- they merely copied R’
Shimon Bar Yochai
and didn’t do it from their own passion. A wise man
must guard himself and his uniqueness, and not imitate his fellow... for
initially man was created in his own image, and only afterwards in the image of
“Your time on this world is limited, so don’t waste it living someone
When the Beis Midrash of the
Sefas Emes burned down, he inquired what the source of the fire was. When he
was told it was ignited by a cigarette in the attic, he commented that if such
a small fire can lead to much damage, imagine what a small fire of Torah and
Mitzvos can cause.
doing Avodas Hashem with passion and fire we can rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.
This is alluded to in the Gemara
that says the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed with fire and will be rebuilt with
fire. This can mean that it will be rebuilt with the fire, passion, and fervor
we put into our Avodas Hashem.
R’ Alt merited to learn under
the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He
received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on
numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife
and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches.
The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.
The story is told of R’
Zusha that he wasn’t worried that he will be asked in heaven that they will ask
him why he wasn’t like Moshe. Rather his concern was that they will ask why
weren’t you Zusha. Likewise, we shouldn’t look at others and say why am I not
like him in learning, Chessed and the like. Rather be all you can be. There is
a saying, “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken.”
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