• Akiva Murguia

Rabbi Elimelech Biderman - Torah Wellsprings - Shmini - Part 2


Why does fearing poverty bring poverty? The Maharal (Bava Metzia 33) explains that whenever one is afraid of something, he’s making himself vulnerable to that concept. If he is afraid of poverty, poverty rules over him, and he is liable to become poor. The Maharal writes, "When a person is afraid of poverty, he is enabling poverty to affect him. As it states "I was afraid, and it came. What I was afraid of, came to me" (Iyov 3:25). Because when one is afraid of something, he is subjugating himself to that matter, and then this [matter] can affect him…” The Maharal elaborates, stating a lesson that was taught by early scholars: “If a person would lay a wooden beam [high] across a river, from one side of the river to the other, and try to walk over it, he will likely fall off. If this very same beam would be on the ground, he would walk over it without falling. This is because when one thinks about falling, it affects him… Certainly, when one is afraid of becoming poor, the thoughts will affect him and he will become poor. Understand this." Therefore, one must learn to be optimistic, and to trust that everything will work out, because fear may cause his fears to materialize.

Also for health it’s good to be optimistic and not afraid. An ill person will often become better if he’s optimistic and not afraid of the disease (and, obviously, he follows the guidelines the doctors give him). The Vilna Gaon zt’l explains, "When a person is always happy, he will be able to overcome his sickness. Even if he will become ill,G-d forbid, he will conquer it with his joy. But when someone is depressed, who can sustain it?"

It was at that moment that Rebbe Moshe Kobriner understood the importance of emunah and bitachon, because when one trusts in Hashem and he acquires a positive attitude, he isn't subject to illnesses and other obstacles. He has the power to overcome all hardships. From then on Reb Moshe Kobriner made acquiring emunah and bitachon his life's goal, and he reached extremely high levels in these areas.

The Beis Yisrael replied, "I say that when a Yid walks down Yaffo Street and he guards his eyes, he’s greater than those tzaddikim who were up all night studying Torah." The tests of the later generations are greater, and for passing those tests, they may be considered greater even than the tzaddikim of past generations.

The Beis Avraham of Slonim zy’a said this passuk at his tisch, one Friday night in Teveria, and passionately explained, "It’s wrong to say that there used to be tzaddikim and today there are no more tzaddikim, because when a Jew walks on the street and guards his eyes, he is almost like the tzaddikim of the past."

Every step a person makes towards holiness, even if it is a small step, is considered a lot and he becomes extremely sanctified. It is therefore worthwhile for a person to extend himself slightly, to make himself holy (or even just to pretend that he is holy) because then he will be sanctified from Above, and he will truly become holy.

Be slow in your judgment because your opinion is often wrong, and strive to judge everyone favorably.

Every Torah scholar needs the attitude of girding oneself with belief that he can serve Hashem and accomplish a lot, regardless of his past deeds. Even if he did something wrong in the past, he can still accomplish great deeds right now.

There is a concept called, descending for the sake of ascending. One of the reason people fall from their level is so they can grow even higher when they pick themselves up again. It can be compared to someone who wants to jump high. He first goes back a few steps, so he can have a running start. People fall, but if they don’t lose hope and try again, they will rise even higher. Accordingly, lows aren’t necessarily a deviation from Hashem’s service. They can be considered a step towards future growth.

Hashem is happy with us and desires our service, despite our imperfections. Actually, Hashem is happy with us because of our imperfections.

When one believes that everything is from Hashem, he will understand that the portion that’s destined for him will come to him, even if he doesn’t rush for it.


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