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Rabbi Elimelech Biderman - Torah Wellsprings - Behar - Bechukotai - Part 1

The parashah states, im bechukotai teilechu. The word chםk חק refers to the mitzvos we keep, without knowing the reason. חק also means parnassah (see [Mishlei 30:8]). The Divrei Yisrael of Modzhitz zt’l explains that histhadlus for parnassah is a חק, something one does, without knowing why. It isn’t fully understood why one must work for parnassah, since parnassah comes from Hashem. When one knows that his parnassah comes from Hashem, that awareness alone will increase his parnassah. Because the more one believes that parnassah doesn’t come by “the strength of my hand,” rather, it’s a gift from Hashem, the more parnassah he will have. The Divrei Yisrael discusses this matter and concludes, “there is nothing better for parnassah than emunah.”

Sometimes, we hear people say, "Times are hard … It’s hard to make a living these days." But it isn’t the “times” that’s the problem, it’s emunah and bitachon we are lacking. If we would fully believe that parnassah is from Hashem, we would have parnassah. So the time isn’t the problem, but the lack of emunah. This is hinted at in the verse, “the emunah of your times…” (Isaiah 33:6).This implies that the variable that influences better fiscal years and financially tight years is how much emunah you have.

Rebbe Bunim of Pshesicha zt'l said that we pray for emunah every night in Maariv, when we say "Prepare us with good counsel…" But עצה also means emunah, as we say in the piyut (Rosh Hashanah), "His counsel is emunah." Thus, "Prepare us with good counsel…" means that Hashem should place into our hearts emunah to know that everything is from Hashem.

How is someone successful in business? We think it’s because he had a good idea and sold a product people want, etc. But it’s more complex than that. The Sefer Chassidim (309) says that many angels are employed to help someone succeed. The Sefer Chasidim explains that when Hashem wants to give someone wealth, “Hakadosh Baruch Hu will send angels to put into the hearts of merchants to bring merchandise to the location where that businessman is located. The angels also place a desire in that businessman to buy their merchandise. And then the angels place into the hearts of consumers to go there, to buy the merchandise, or the angels will place into the heart of the businessman to go to them." This teaches us how much Hashem is involved in our pursuit for parnassah. The thoughts that come into our mind of what to buy, where to go, etc. are also from Hashem. Everything is destined and planned, down to the smallest details. This awareness itself will increase your parnassah.

Rebbe Mordechai of Chernobyl zt'l said, if a person’s store faces a side street and he opens another door facing the main road, in anticipation that more people will see his shop and come in, this shows that his emunah is weak. Because Hashem gives parnassah, and therefore this extra histhadlus doesn’t make a difference…

We are approaching the final days of sefiras ha'omer, but there’s still time enough to take advantage of the unique potential of these days to acquire purity. The Chidushei HaRim said that even on the final day of sefiras ha'omer, one can acquire the entire purity available during sefiras ha'omer. This is hinted at in the verse, "until the morrow of the seventh week, count fifty days." This hints that even on the last day of sefiras ha’omer, you can count all fifty days. You can acquire the entire purity that’s available in sefiras ha'omer up until the last moments.

As we’ve stated, one of the areas one might decide to improve in is guarding your eyes. It is written, "hakedeishah (which can also be pronounced 'hakedusha (holiness) is in the eyes" (Bereishis 38:21) and tzaddikim explained that a person's kedushah is measured by the degree he is cautious with his eyes. In beis medresh and at home, it’s easier to guard the eyes. The test is when going out to work, or when travelling. Then challenge to keep your eyes pure is a great. The Vilna Gaon zt'l once asked the Dubno Magid zt'l to tell him mussar. The Dubno Magid said, "Is it a kuntz, a special trick, to be holy and a tzaddik when you’re inside the four walls of your house? How does this compare to the tests of people in the marketplace? They have to guard their eyes and thoughts constantly. Their tests are greater than yours…" The Vilna Gaon replied, "I am not a kuntzler, daredevil. I don’t seek to do chachmos!" This means, it’s true that there are people who encounter greater tests than I, but Hashem doesn’t want a person to purposely and willingly put himself at spiritual risk. But there are people who must go to these places, and they are encountered with very difficult tests.

Today, due to the internet, it is often difficult to guard one's eyes at home, as well. We are fortunate that the leaders of the generation have established many rules and regulations to maintain the holiness of the Jewish people — at home, and abroad. Fortunate are those who follow their guidance.

It states, "A person who is pure, and he wasn't on the way…" (Bamidbar 9:13). The Chozeh of Lublin zt'l said that the verse can be read, if you see a person who is pure that is a sign that he didn’t travel. If he is pure, it must be that he didn’t travel, since it’s very hard to control one's thoughts and eyes when traveling.

Rebbe Naftali of Ropshitz zt'l taught if one must travel, he should try to go on side streets where there are fewer tests. He should change his route eight times, to be on a road that has fewer tests, in order to keep his thoughts and eyes clean from sins.

The Beis Yisrael zt'l said that if you are careful with your eyes even when you travel, you will rise eight times more than had you remained home. Because when one passes difficult tests he becomes elevated even higher than if he weren’t tested. Nevertheless, as the Vilna Gaon taught us, we shouldn’t seek the tests. But when one is tested, and he passes the test, he should know that he has just elevated himself to a very high level.

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