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In z'chus of a r'fu'ah shleima for Rafael Ze'ev ben Miriam.

Yeshivas Chafetz Chaim is asking people to commit to at least 10 minutes of mussar per day to add to the many merits of Rafael Ze'ev ben Miriam to bring him a r'fu'ah shleima min haShamayim, r'fuas haNefesh u'r'fu'as haGuf. I will be happy to forward the form to anyone who wants to officially participate. The official request is from now till January 20. I decided as part of my own acceptance to learn that I would also accept to, bli neder, publish something I have learned from my mussar seder to this blog at least three times per week. Saying over what I have learned should make the lesson more ingrained in me and thus a better limud.

Here goes...

It says in Avos 1:15: "Shamai omer:... hevei m'kabel es kol ha'adam b'seiver panim yafos." I heard from R' Avigdor Miller, z'tzl, that one should analyze each word:
panim: from "lifnos", to turn (toward); turn toward the person you are greeting
seiver: same root as "s'vara"; be interested in the other person, and show it
yafos: do all that pleasantly

I saw recently in "Sifsei Chaim; Midos v'Avodas HaShem" an important ha'ara on this mishna. The difference between Shammai and Hillel was not that one was stern and the other cheerful (as evidenced by this mishna, as well as many other sources). Rather, Shammai's approach to life was that his decisions started from din (the letter of the law) and then found expression after applying other midos (such as gimilus chasadim). Hillel, on the other hand, started with chesed and then found expression after applying other midos (such as din). The conclusion, therefore, is that Avos brings this mishna b'shem Shammai to tell you that greeting every Jew with a pleasant and interested expression on one's face is not a midas chasidus -- it is al pi din!

Now I am speaking to myself: looking up from a sefer to greet my chavrusa is not an interuption of my torah learning, it is an application thereof. I have some work to do on myself....

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