Weekly Inspiration

Deep Pain
May 23rd, 2024
Deep Pain

This week’s Haftara tells the story of Yirmiyahu ha Novi’s purchase of land when catastrophe loomed over Israel. This command from Hashem seemed to make no sense, even to the Novi who wrote it, but he listened to the Ribono shel Olam, Who told him, “Behold! I am Hashem, the G-d of all flesh. Is anything hidden from Me?” 

Last week in Israel there was unbearable pain after a terrible accident in which chayalim accidentally killed their own chevra. How can we deal with this? 

We are now more than halfway through the awesome days from Pesach to Shavuos, the days from Mitzraimto Har Sinai, from degradation to exaltation, from the dungeon to the Throne of Hashem. Each day we count, one step a day, one step a day. Sefirah is a difficult climb. Reb Moshe Sternbuch Shlita”h said, concerning the acquisition of kedusha by the kohanim (Vayikra 21:1), “in avodas Hashem, it is impossible to leapfrog. The only option is to make step-by-step progress based on one’s current situation and level.” 

Spiritual accomplishment is acquired only through hard work, struggling with the yetzer hara daily, hourly, minute by minute. 

Please listen to the words of the Chofetz Chaim zt”l: “So great is peace that we find regarding the travels [of Am Yisroel in the Midbar] … that they would encamp with arguments and set out with arguments…. [But] when they arrived in front of Har Sinai [they became ‘like one man with one heart’ (Rashi) and Hashem said: This is the time that I will give the Torah to My children. For when there is peace among them, the Divine Presence can dwell among them. (Shmiras ha Loshon, Shaar Hazechirah, Chapter 11)

The last bracha in Shemoneh Esreh is “peace.” 

“Bless us, our Father, all of us as one, with the light of Your countenance, for with the light of Your countenance You gave us … the Torah of Life….” Light and Torah come with peace. Peace is the last brachaperhaps because it is the most difficult to attain. Since our expulsion from Gan Eden, peace has eluded mankind. We have a taste of it on Shabbos, but until the days of Moshiach, we cannot expect the entire world to be filled with peace. Certainly, today, there is strife everywhere. 

I believe that this terrible accident is pointing to the lack of peace among us. 

Just before going to sleep, we say, “Master of the universe, I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me or who sinned against me … I forgive every Jew.” This is our focus just before our neshomagoes up to Shomayim during the hours of sleep. We cannot enter Shomayim unless peace reigns among us.

The same is true of tefillah. The Arizal (cited by the Magen Avraham, O.C. Siman 46) writes: “Before the morning tefillah one should accept upon himself the mitzvah of v’ahavtah le’reiacha kamocha – you shall love your fellow as yourself.”  It is as if Hashem says, “Do not expect to speak to Me unless you are at complete peace with your brethren.” It seems that, if we nullify ourselves for our brother, Hashem will nullify any decrees against us.  

We know that the attack of October 7 was preceded by months of unprecedented sina in Medinas Yisroel. These demonstrations were a horrible chillul Hashem, as the world witnessed the Children of Israel tearing their brothers and sisters apart. 

Shalom Bayis among Am Yisroel is nothing less than survival. 

Bayis Shaini was not destroyed by our enemies; it was destroyed by sinas chinom.

Sinas chinom is a weapon which destroys lives and sends us into the jungle where people eat each other alive. Sinas chinom manifests itself not just through vicious fights, but through a lack of kindness and chessed. Am I helping my neighbor who is a widow? Am I acting with sweetness to my friend or my neighbor, every Yid? Am I saying “Shalom” to him with a smile? Am I thinking about his needs and helping him when he is in trouble? 

There will come a day, B”H soon, when the world will once again become a Gan Eden and peace will reign among all of Hashem’s creations. Right now, we can prepare for that day by making our own Gan Eden. If we live in peace now, we can hope to live in peace in the Days of Moshiach, may we merit to greet him soon!



Avodas Hashem: Working for G-d 
Bayis Shaini: The Second Temple
Chayalim: Israeli soldiers
Chevra: One’s comrades
Chillul Hashem: Desecration of G-d’s Name
Gan Eden: The Garden of Eden
Har Sinai: Mount Sinai
Kedusha: sanctity
Kohanim: Descendants of Aaron, who officiate in the Holy Temple
Midbar: (Sinai) Desert
Ribono shel Olam: The Master of the Universe
Sefirah: The seven-week period between Pesach and Shavuos
Shalom Bayis: Peace in the home
Shemoneh Esreh: The basic prayer service, which has eighteen blessings (plus one)
Shomayim: The World of Truth
Sina: Hatred (between Jew and Jew)
Sinas chinom: Unwarranted hatred
Tefillah: Prayer
Yetzer hara: The evil inclination
Yirmiahu ha Novi: Jeremiah the Prophet

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