In Parshas Haazinu, the Torah proclaims about Hashem, “Hatzur, tamim pa’alo – The rock, perfect are His ways.” The great Rav Yisroel Salanter once elaborated on one angle of Hashem’s perfection. He said:
If a person is apprehended by the police for a serious crime and is duly convicted in court, he will serve a lengthy sentence in prison and, all too often, his wife and children will become impoverished and suffer as a result even though they did nothing wrong. Hashem’s justice, however, is perfect and therefore works differently. Hashem won’t punish someone if the punishment will indirectly harm innocent people who depend on him.
Therefore, if we want a successful year ahead, we should make ourselves needed. A man may have blatant flaws, but if he is a good provider and pleasant companion to his spouse and children, he will be protected in their merit as they likely don’t deserve to lose him. Similarly, a wife will be protected by her husband and children if she is a proper eizer k’negdo and an attentive mother even if she has serious spiritual flaws. Hashem will be loath to break the bond of husband and wife or take a needed mother away from her loving children.
The Gemara says Nadav and Avihu died because they weren’t married and didn’t have children. Everyone asks: How can the Gemara say that when the Torah says clearly that they died because they brought a foreign fire on the altar? The commentators answer that they deserved to die because they brought the foreign fire, but they would have been saved if they had wives or children who depended on them.
I know many who read this will shake their heads and say, “What about the widow with 12 children who lost her husband to Covid-19 or the young wife who died from cancer leaving a bereft husband and family? Weren’t they needed? Where was their protection?”
The answer is that if a person passes away at his keitz, his predetermined time, being needed won’t help him. However, if punishment threatens to shorten his life, being needed can save his life. “Harotze l’harich yamim, hevei marbeh b’achim v’rei’im – If you want to live long, have many brothers and friends,” says Orchos Chaim by Rav Luniel, because the more people who need you, the safer you are.
As the challenging year of 5780 comes to a close, I’d like to thank The Jewish Press for giving me this global platform to disseminate Hashem’s Torah and to wish my dear readers and their families a year of good health, happiness, and everything wonderful.
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