Parshas Acharey Mos
The Best Boss
"Dov, I heard that you are looking for a job."
"That is correct, Rabbi Seigel."
"I saw an ad in the newspaper about a job opening in your field. I cut it out for you. Here it is."
"Thank you so much, Rabbi Seigel. You are really a caring person. Maybe you can help me with something else."
"I'll try Dov."
"I had a very bad experience with my last boss. He promised to pay my wages on time, and to add bonuses. In the end, he did not pay any bonuses, and the wages were very late. He still owes me money."
"I'm so sorry to hear that Dov."
"What can I do to prevent that from happening again, Rabbi?"
"Dov, you have to check out your employer very carefully before going to work for him. If you have any suspicions about his honesty, you are permitted to ask employees, friends, and neighbors about him. Just make sure that you follow the halachos in Sefer Chofetz Chaim (Hilchos Rechilus, Chapter 9)."
"Thank you Rabbi Seigel. It's too bad that there are bosses like that."
"I know one boss who will never cheat an employee. He always pays every penny that is earned. However, you have to be on your toes. He will penalize for every mistake."
"He sounds like a fair and honest person. Who is he? I would like to work for him."
"He is none other than The Holy One Blessed Be He. And you are working for Him. We are all working for Him."
"Rabbi, you always find a way to work Hashem into every conversation."
"Actually, it is a verse in this week's parsha. Hashem tells Moshe to speak to the Bnei Yisrael and say to them, "I am Hashem Elokeichem" (Vayikra 18:2). These are two separate names of the Almighty: Hashem and Elokeichem."
"Why does the Torah use both names, Rabbi?"
"Rashi and the Sifsei Chachomim explain, Dov. Hashem is His Merciful Name. He is The Faithful One, who will pay good rewards to those who keep His mitzvos. Elokim is the Name of Judgement. He will judge our sins and extract punishment."
"He really is fair."
Kinderlach . . .
We are all working for the World's Best Boss. No one is fairer. No one is more reliable. And no one is more generous than Hashem. You are earning a great sechar (reward) for every mitzvah that you do. Don't worry about anything. He will pay you in full. However, He is also a demanding Boss. If you do not fulfill your job duties, He will not overlook it. There is a price to be paid. Keep working hard, kinderlach. You're sure to get your reward.
Body and Soul
Do not eat meat and milk. Do not eat unkosher animals. Do not wear shaatnez (mixtures of linen and wool). Purify yourselves with the Parah Adumah (Red Cow). Do we understand these mitzvos? Hardly. They are described in the Torah as chukim. Other mitzvos make more sense to us. Do not steal, do not murder, do not take revenge, pay for damages that you caused. These mitzvos are called mishpatim. Hashem instructs us to guard both types of mitzvos. "And you shall guard my chukim and my mishpatim. You shall carry them out and live by them. I am Hashem." (Vayikra 18:5). The Malbim zt"l illuminates the relationship between these two types of mitzvos. A person is composed of a body and a soul. The secrets of the soul are very deep and hidden from us. The chukim are mitzvos that we do not understand. They are given to us to purify and perfect our souls in a manner which we do not fully understand. The mishpatim, on the other hand, relate to the body. These common sense laws allow us to live together. The verse instructs us to guard both types of mitzvos. We perform the chukim with our bodies. Thus, the body helps to perfect the soul and prepare it for eternal life. Similarly, the main observance of the mishpatim is with the seichel (intelligence). The soul works to understand these laws, whose observance will protect the body. And so, the two halves of the person help each other to live. This is the meaning of the verse, "You shall carry them out and live by them." Two lives - the physical life in this world, and the spiritual life in the next world. When the person sheds the external garb of his body, he then lives the true eternal life of the world to come.
Kinderlach . . .
The mitzvos were given to us for life. Performing them gives us life. Both in this world, and the next. We do not understand some mitzvos. They give us no less life than the ones that we do understand. Don't ever think that you lose anything by performing a mitzvah. You only gain. Life itself.
"My laws - you shall carry out, and My statutes - you shall guard, to go with them . . ." (Vayikra 18:4). The verse states that we must go with Hashem's laws and statutes. Where are we going? Where did we begin? Where is our destination? The Keli Yakar zt"l has a beautiful explanation which defines our job in this world. In this world, a person is called a traveler. He goes from one spiritual level to another. This world is a dynamic situation, with opportunities for growth and spiritual development. Contrast this to the next world. The person's status is described as "sitting", as the Gemora (Berachos 17a) states, "The righteous sit with crowns on their heads". There is no room for growth over there. Only reward for the work done here.
Kinderlach . . .
Let's all hit the road. We have places to go and things to do. We're on the way up. Higher and higher in madrayga (spiritual level). Now is the time to work hard and accomplish. Get moving and keep moving in the right direction. Up and up.
Kinder Torah Copyright 2003 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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