By Rabbi Yechezkel Spanglet
Last week we explained how our Father in Heaven wants to shower His overflowing love and kindness upon us. This left us with a question-is our purpose then only to receive, to be merely beneficiaries and not benefactors? The answer is yes and no. The reality of Hashem’s nature results in His in desire to grant us constant sheafa brocho. However in His Divine wisdom He wanted us to share in his accomplishments, He wanted us to help Him bring the world to its final tikun or purpose and us to our personal tikun. In order for us to accomplish this, he offered to build a relationship with us even though the gap is so wide. Rav Shimshon Pincus points out that establishing this relationship and clinging to Hashem is the goal of emunah.(Sichos Rebbe Shimshon Pinchus-Pesach)
This relationship began as a bris. A bris is an irrevocable agreement (covenant) between two parties. In parshas Lech Lecha Hashem offered this bris to Avraham Avinu and his descendents. (Breishis 17:7-9, Breishis 26:5 see Rashi) The Al-lmighty promised to be his G-d and to grant us Eretz Yisroel as an eternal possession. Avraham Avinu’s part of this bris avos was to accept the yoke of the mitzvos represented by bris milah.. However, relationship involves more-it is also a mutual process of love, caring, communication and responsibility. We have spoken about Hashem’s desire to bestow life, goodness and sustenance. Emunah on our part should be a natural reaction of devotion, reliance and submission to these astounding graces. The challenge of emunah is to submit ourselves to Hashem’s will even when it appears that midas hadin has prevailed.
History has borne witness to the extraordinary emunah and acceptance of Hashem’s People to His will. For the past 3500 years, Am Yisroel has faced the degradation, persecution, and torture, at the hands of their enemies. Yet they have bridled the strength and courage to even give up their lives to sanctity His name.
It will take a sefer to describe just some of the countless acts of meiras nefesh that Klal Yisroel has performed throughout history. I would like to share one piercing example of the emunah of the Pintele Yid:
This story was told by Rav Yirmiyahu Abramov in the name of a Talmid Chacham from Lakewood. This learned Jew sometimes accompanied fellow Jews to the crematoria at Aushwitz. ( The talmid chacha describes the story in first person.) It was Chag Succos. I looked upon the face of this particular Yid, I was a astonished to see his face lit up withsimcha, instead of in the darkness of depression. This Jew in his last few moments said the following words, “It’s Succos and there is no succah to be found, yet I feel I am inside one. How?”
He pointed to the clouds of smoke escaping from the furnace. “These are anannei kavod. These smoke columns signify that there is Elokim in this world, because He warned us in His Torah that if we reject His mitzvos, very harsh consequences will unfold in front of our eyes. The present consequences prove that this aspect of Hashem’s will is being fulfilled. Therefore it is it possible to sit in the shade of these “ananei Kavod.”
“I have the arbah minim with me also. The lulav represents the spine; the spine in my body is kosher for I have been careful all of my life not to eat unkosher foods. Thehadasim, signify the eyes- My eyes are pure for what is there to see already in the death camp of Aushwitz.. The arovos parallel the lips. My lips are pure, for what improper speech can be uttered in this inferno.. However, I must worry about my heart, for I am not sure it is completely untainted.. After walking a few more feet, he pauses and exclaims, my esrog is kosher for I feel now that my heart is completely tahor with Hashem. I have no questions or doubts- I am ready to join my Creator. (Sefer Borchie Nashi, Parshas Chukas, HaGaon Rav Yitzchak Silverstein).