web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

The Merit Of Others


The-Shmuz

“And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, “Go down, for your nation that you have brought up from Egypt, has sinned.” – Shemos 32:7

Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest human being who ever lived. The Rambam tells us that of all the prophets he alone was able to speak to Hashem directly. Normally, a prophet must go into an altered state of consciousness to experience Hashem. Otherwise the experience would cause sensory overload, and he would die. Moshe was able to speak to Hashem in a totally clear, conscious state of mind. At any time, he could approach Hashem and speak, experiencing Hashem as I do a neighbor or friend. Moshe was also granted access to the entire Torah, in all its depths and secrets.

Right after the sin of the Golden Calf, Hashem told Moshe, “Go down.” Rashi explains this didn’t simply mean, “Go down to see what the nation is up to. Rather, Go down from your greatness. You have lost access to the upper worlds. The ability to enter the Beis Din of Heaven has been taken from you. I only gave you that access because of Klal Yisrael. They are no longer worthy, so you must go down.”

This Rashi becomes difficult to understand when we take into account that Moshe was on a fantastic level because of his actions and ways. He spent his life dedicated to serving Hashem. Clearly, this access to the upper worlds and his ability to perceive and understand Torah were things he had earned. So why should they be taken from him?

The answer to this can be better understood by focusing on the relationship we have to one another.

Two Systems in the World to Come

Chovos HaLevovos explains that there are two systems of measurement in the World to Come, the internal and the external. The internal system is based on my personal growth: improving my character traits, increasing my awareness of Hashem, learning Torah, etc. The external system is based on merits outside of myself: how much I affected others and the influence that I had on people. These are accomplishments that don’t directly change my state of spirituality, but because I was the cause of them, they are credited to me.

As an example, Chovos HaLevovos describes two individuals. The first has sterling character traits, is steeped in Torah knowledge, and is so great that he can be compared to the angels above. The second individual is a plain person. He’s nowhere near as developed in his service to Hashem as the first man. Yet when they both come to the World to Come, the second individual will tower over the first.

Why? Because the first person brings with him his own merit while the second toiled to improve others. Therefore, he has his own merit plus the merits of all of those whom he helped.

A mashol to this would be looking at how people become wealthy. In 2001, Microsoft Corporation reported 40 billion dollars in excess cash. That means money that was not needed for operating expenses, research and development, or marketing – extra money. Bill Gates, as the largest single shareholder of the company, had become one of the richest men in the world with billions of dollars in discretionary income. It would take a successful lawyer, doctor, or account 10,000 years of hard work to earn that kind of wealth. The question is, how does a person acquire so much money?

The answer is that he cannot. No single man can ever earn that type of prosperity. The secret to building wealth is to have other people on your payroll. A successful dentist can drill, fill and bill, but he is only one man doing a job. Bill Gates had 20,000 workers in his employ. In a good market, with a good product and a team of thousands churning it out, your profits will be multiplied exponentially, and you can realize that which no single individual can even dream of.

This is how the Chovos HaLevavos explains these two individuals. The first person may have been great, but he was working for himself. He was a one-man operation. While he may have attained prominence, it was limited. The second man had many people in his employ. Because of him, many people grew closer to Hashem. And since their growth came about because of him, he is credited with it, so he is fantastically rich in merit.

The answer to this Rashi seems to be that when it comes to aiding others in their spiritual growth, not only does Hashem reward someone with the external merit of what others accomplished, He gives the person all the tools he needs to accomplish his mission. Moshe was the representative of the multitude and was therefore allowed access to the highest level of Torah knowledge and understanding – not in his own merit but in the merit of the entire nation.

As important as Moshe Rabbeinu was, he was a man, and man isn’t allowed access to the upper worlds. When the Jewish nation was deserving, Moshe represented it and therefore was allowed to enter the Heavens. He was the conduit for bringing Torah to the multitudes. Once the Jews fell from that level, they were no longer worthy, so he as their shaliach was no longer permitted in Shamayim. It wasn’t as a punishment to him but a reality. He no longer had the merit of that great nation catapulting him to those heights.

We see a powerful concept from this Rashi. When you help other people grow, not only do you receive reward for everything they accomplish, you receive S’yata D’Shmaya to do things that you might not have been able to otherwise. Whether as a rebbe teaching a difficult Gemara, a worker for the klal taking on a bold project, or a parent trying to create a wholesome environment for his or her family, the merit of the entire group works in your favor, and you will be able to do things that would otherwise be unthinkable.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Merit Of Others”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Exploring the connection between Pharaoh’s dreams and the story of Joseph being sold into slavery.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

The-Shmuz

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

If a man owns a successful small business, he might do a million dollars a year in sales. But that is the gross revenue, not the amount he takes home.

It almost sounds as if Hashem is saying, “I have to keep Yaakov from getting too comfortable; otherwise he will forget Me. I can’t promise him sustenance because then he won’t need Me. He won’t write. He won’t call. He won’t love Me anymore.”

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

What happened was that Frank Jr. stopped being the little babe looking with love into his father’s eyes, and the relationship took on a very different nature.

Is it possible a man could be standing in a burning building, knowing this life is in danger, and be too lazy to move?

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-merit-of-others/2013/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: