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Thought for the Day: Eternal Healthy Living Is HaShem's Plan for You

I more or less ignored the Sha'ar HaTziyun for a long time.  You know, the footnotes on the Mishna Brura that cite the sources for the Mishna Brura's p'sak halacha.  Usually a string of acronyms -- t"z, m"a, sh"a, b"ch, etc.  Ho hum.  Once in a while you'll see a "gemara" or "acharonim" (well, that certainly narrows things down, now doesn't it), or the ever popular "pashut".  Over time, though, I've been looking down more and more, looking especially for the long entries.  I've heard the Mishna Brura called a "lecket"/compilation; that's really missing the point.  Those long entries in the Sha'ar HaTzyun are a beautifully concise explanation of R' Yisroel Meir Kagan's halachic methodology.  The one I saw this morning, however, left me stunned.

The Shulchan Aruch (622:2) discusses the Torah reading for mincha on Yom Kippur, where we have a special hatara: Yona.  The Mishna Brura, sk 8, explains (in the name of "acharonim") that we read Yona for two reasons.  First, because it discusses t'shuva (ok... that makes sense).  Second, because it shows that you can't escape from G-d; basically, you can run, but you can't hide.  Yikes!  That doesn't sound friendly at all.  Sounds like we're getting a little scare put into us near the end of a long day of fasting and prayer to perk us of for n'ila.

Actually... no.  On the spot, the Sha'ar HaTzuyun (sk 6... first entry on page pei-gimmel; you really should see it inside) discusses the real intent of that last statement in a stunning mussar shmues that would bear re-reading after hearing Yona and before beginning n'ila.
A person often despairs of ever being able to correct his error and behaviors, so he decides to to just continue with his ways and if HaKadosh, Baruch Hu has decreed that this is his time to die, so he'll die.  But this is a mistake -- whatever HaKadosh, Baruch Hu desires the soul to repair, it will repair; coming again and again into this world until it has reached the perfection for which he was created.  Why, therefore, should he work so hard in this world only to die, suffer the decomposition of his body ("chabut ha'kever") and all the other difficulties of living, only to return once again?!  The proof is from Yona, whom HaKadosh, Baruch Hu wanted to deliver a prophetic message, but he (Yona) demurred and fled to the sea where he could not communicate with the Divine Presence -- as is known -- and we see that he sank into the sea and was swallowed by a fish where he spent several days.  It seemed certain that he would not be able to fulfill the Will of HaShem Yisbarach.  None the less, we see that in the end, the Will of HaShem Yisbarach was fulfilled and he (Yona) did deliver the prophesy.  It is the same for each person in his own situation, and that is what is says in Avos: Do not accept the assurance of your inclinations that the grave is your final resting place; for you were created [for a purpose] that shall be realized.
 You can't hide from HaKadosh, Baruch Hu; not because He "wants to get you" for what you've done, but because He loves you too much to allow you to fail.


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