Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…