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Thought for the Day: Celebrating HaShem's Providence

Nearly every year for the last 13 years, I have had the z'chus of attending a siyum in commemoration of the yahrzteit of my good friend Rafael Dovid Kaganoff, ztz"l, on 12 Elul.  (Having spent much time with him both before an during his illness, I feel fully justified in using ztz"l as opposed to a"h.)  The first year was siyum on Sha"s; not Sha"s mishnayos, but the entire Sha"s.  Every year since then, his sons (who were 6,6, and 3 when he was niftar) have made a siyum; at first mishnayos and now a masechta or two or three.  In addition, R' Dovid Zucker, shlita, gave divrei hisorerus; inspirational words taking note of the tremendous accomplishments over the years.  This year was particularly poignant, as R' Zucker has just recently suffered his own personal tragedy and has only recently emerged from Shloshim for his rebitzin.

R' Zucker began with a Tosefta in Pe'ah.  A certain chasid had forgotten one sheaf of grain, thus having the z'chus to fulfill the mitzvah of shich'cha.  The chasid asked his sons to prepare two animals, one for a korban olah and one for a korban todah, so he could celebrate the opportunity to fulfill this mitzvah. (I don't know why he wanted both korbanos.)    His sons wanted to know why this mitzvah in particular deserved such a celebration; after all, they said, you put on t'fillin every morning and you don't prepare korbanos.  He answered that the mitzvah of shich'cha is unique.

What, precisely, is the mitzvah?  Here's what it's not: leaving the sheaf for the poor.  Once forgotten, the Torah takes the sheaf from you and gives it to the poor; it would stealing to go back for it at that point.  The mitzvah of shich'cha cannot possibly be that you didn't steal!  So what's the mitzvah?  The forgetting; something you cannot do with kavana.  ("You need siyata d'shmaya to forget", said R' Zucker.  Hmm... I and I thought I was doing that all on my own!)  Therefore, said the Chasid, that mitzvah is a gift from HaShem and it is worth celebrating the open siyata d'shmaya revealing HaShem's direct involvement in one's life.  Year after year, noted R' Zucker, we see amazing siyata d'shmaya in the Kaganoff family and it would be worth a s'udas ho'da'ah each year just for that.

It's not hard to see siyata d'shmaya in each one of our lives, especially when we endure difficulties.  Realizing that each feeling of "help from above" is a reason for grand celebration actually frames and gives additional meaning to those difficulties.  Could there be any great preparation for Rosh HaShanah than realizing that?

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