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COMING SOON Bez"H
Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)
There are those that give
different excuses for why they believe they can’t accomplish in various areas
(studying Torah, being successful at a profession and so on). One’s excuse is
because of his upbringing while another blames his Rebbe. Another claims he has
a learning disability. The list goes on. Nevertheless, we see some that have
troubles yet become successes and others that don’t, as it depends on us, not
outside factors. In this way the Ritva
explains why Yaakov and Esav were twins, as it was to show that the
righteousness of Yaakov came because of himself and not because of his parents
or any other reason. Yaakov and Esav were in the same stomach, the same parents
and so forth yet Yaakov was righteous and Esav evil. So, the cause of our
greatness or lack of it is dependent on us. This is just as R’ Elazar Ben
Durdiya remarked אין הדבר תלוי אלא בי, it depends solely on
The great R’ Akiva could have
had many excuses why he shouldn’t be a success. He didn’t begin learning Torah
until age 40,
didn’t descend from Jewish lineage,
his father-in-law was against him marrying his daughter,
24,000 students of his died
and so on. Yet he persevered and became the great R’ Akiva to the extent that
he recited Shema at his final moments on this world while being combed to death
with saying I finally have the opportunity to fulfill בכל נפשך (even if he takes your soul)!
This idea is shown in the
Parsha where it speaks of the two goats of Yom Kippur. The Mishna
states that they should be alike in appearance, height, value and purchased in
a single transaction. Yet, one is for Hashem and one is לעזאזל.
Similarly, two people can have the same parents, attend the same Yeshivos and
the like and turn out so different.
One may have good excuses for
why he is unsuccessful. We can compare this to one that is overweight who was
extremely busy working and taking care of his family that he had no time to
exercise thereby being unable to lose weight. Although it may be true,
nevertheless because of his inaction he looks the way he looks.
The Gemara says שובו בנים שובבים חוץ מאחר, return wayward sons except for Acher.
This can also be interpreted that those who say I am the exception, I am
different (אחר) are the ones that can’t (חוץ) do Teshuva because they think they are different. It is the
ones who say I am different that don’t accomplish in life, as they always have
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. Rabbi 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
Avos Drebi Nosson 6:2. It describes there how he, together with his young son,
went to Cheder to learn the Alef-Beis.
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