web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 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 » Torah »

A Lifetime Guarantee

Freiman-092112

The Mishnah in Avos teaches us that even though our Creator foresees all, we still have freedom of choice. The most opportune time to exercise this freedom is at the initial moment of choice, when the challenges present themselves on a daily basis. Chazal tell us that it is greater to act consistently well throughout the year than to try and make it up in the Yom Kippur season. It is better to give small amounts of charity every day than to give large sums only during the days of judgment.

The Nefesh HaChaim questions at what point during the mitzvah does the peulah–the action–have the greatest impact on ourselves and ultimately the world. The greatest impact occurs not when you actually do the mitzvah, but when you fight your laziness and yetzer hara and choose to do the good act. Thus, when you give tzeddakah every day of the year, the cumulative moments of choice are more effective in facilitating growth than the one generous moment of choice during the High Holy Days. This concept also explains why mitzvas anashim milumada–habitual mitzvos that are done by rote–are not as great because there is less choice involved in doing them. Consequently, these habitual mitzvos involve less active choice and decision making and we don’t grow as much from a good act that does not involve a challenge.

Over the past few months, we mourned the loss of the Bais Hamikdash, a devastation that occurred as a result of senseless hatred. Despite the tremendous focus on improving interpersonal relationships, few people will claim not to hold grudges for wrongs done to them within the past year. Many people carry hatred for long periods of time, some even for lifetimes. A grudge that is carried from childhood to well into adulthood is a very heavy burden.

There is a fable about two monks who were walking along the river, refraining from conversation in fulfillment of their vows of silence. They observed a young woman desperately flailing in the rushing waters. One of the monks ran to the woman, lifted her on his shoulders, and carried her to the shore. The monks continued on their way. Four hours later, the other monk broke the silence by vociferously criticizing his friend–didn’t he know that it was wrong to have any physical contact with women? The first monk declared, “I don’t know why you are still carrying that woman with you–I let her go hours ago.” Many of us live our lives the same way. We get angry and blame others, and we punish ourselves by carrying the burden of anger for long after. If we could only forgive and move on with our lives–even if the other person doesn’t seem to deserve or even ask for our forgiveness–we would live more relaxed, less stressful lives.

There is additional gain that comes from forgiving. The Gemara tells us (Rosh Hashana 17) that anyone who overcomes his feelings of being slighted and forgives the one who has wronged him, Hashem overlooks his sins and forgives him for his acts, even if he doesn’t properly ask for or deserve forgiveness. We cannot approach Hashem on Yom Kippur and ask for His mercy until we have first shown mercy to all His children. That is why we say Tefillas Zaka on Erev Yom Kippur, declaring that we forgive all who have ever wronged us, even if it was their fault and even if they did not ask us to forgive them. This lightens our load and provides for us a guarantee for a good life and blessing.

Take the warranty from our Creator, say Tefillas Zaka this year with meaning, and may we be inscribed in the book of good life, and may goel tzedek bring the whole Jewish family together to live in holiness and harmony.

About the Author: Rabbi Gil Frieman is the pulpit Rabbi of Jewish Center Nachlat Zion, the home of Ohr Naava. He is certified as a shochet, sofer, and has given lectures in the United States, Canada, and throughout Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Frieman is currently the American Director of seminaries Darchei Binah, Afikei Torah, and Chochmas Lev in Eretz Yisroel, and teaches in Nefesh High School, Camp Tubby during the summers, and lectures weekly at Ohr Naava. In addition, Rabbi Frieman teaches all tracks in Ateres Naava Seminary. He is a highly anticipated speaker on TorahAnytime.com where he speaks live most Wednesday nights at 9:00pm EST.


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 “A Lifetime Guarantee”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Haredi men cast their votes for the 19th Knesset in Bnei Brak, January 22 2013.
New Poll: Shows Netanyahu Will Lead Next Gov’t with Haredim
Latest Judaism Stories

What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

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.

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

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.

More Articles from Rabbi Gil Frieman
Freiman-092013

While we wish the nations of the world success and prosperity, we realize that this feeling has not always been reciprocated.

Torah-Anytime-logo

I watch my children use blocks to build a large structure, observing the trepidation with which they add each block. As the structure becomes larger there is a greater risk of it collapsing, thus bringing an end to an hour of playful labor. I anticipate what will happen when one child adds a block to the top floor, compromising the integrity of the building and resulting in the collapse of the entire structure. The argument that ensues is predictable, as each child blames the other for “ruining” the fun. As an adult, I wonder about the need to attribute blame. Will assigning blame be instrumental in rebuilding the structure?

Kids today… that’s not the way we behaved when we were younger!! That is the mantra I hear repeated as parents bemoan the spoiled nature and lack of responsibility of today’s children. The problem is – it is not a fair comparison.

My family and I had recently enjoyed an outing to the bowling alley, courtesy of our friend, the owner. Children of all ages enjoy this weatherproof sport, and even preschoolers can easily score strike after strike as bumpers support the heavy ball as it creeps its way towards the pins at the end of the lane.

We all yearn to feel that we are part of something special. We all seek respect and acceptance for simply being who we are.

A congregant once told me that he was spending a large amount of time trying to explain Judaism to a coworker. His colleague thought that all Jewish holidays had the same theme, and he proudly summarized this theme at his family’s two-minute Seder: “They tried to kill us, Hashem saved us, we won, now let’s eat!!” He proudly bragged that this sentence was the family’s personal, abbreviated Haggadah.

Many trees upstate were damaged by the hurricane that swept through the East Coast at the end of last summer, and I was involved in finding the safest equipment to clean up the mess. I love trees and found the chore of cutting them down very difficult, especially knowing that the stately 60 year old trees would be impossible to replace. Even though we planted new trees, I don’t know whether I will be there to enjoy these new saplings when they are 60 years old.

I rarely take the extended warranty when purchasing new electronics. I figure that this warranty must not be worth much if they feel the need to pressure me into buying it. They must know what I have learned the hard way: there is no such thing as a real guarantee. In my more naive days, I purchased this “peace of mind,” as they call it, but never cashed in. Usually, by the time the item broke, I had forgotten about the extended warranty and purchased a replacement.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/a-lifetime-guarantee/2012/09/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: