Parashas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim
Make the Effort to Succeed
"Shalom aleichem my good friend Nesanel! How are you?"
"Baruch Hashem, Motti. How are you?"
"Baruch Hashem. I am so happy that I ran into you. I have the opportunity to give you a big mazel tov on the new sefer that you wrote."
"Thank you very much, Motti. The sefer was a big Chasdei Hashem (kindness from Hashem) and took a lot of Siyata Di'Shmaya (Heavenly Assistance)."
"Please tell me about it Nesanel."
"To begin with, just getting the motivation to put your ideas onto paper takes some work. The Yetzer Hora is very good at convincing you that it is not a good idea. Then finding the time is also a job. The Yetzer can find many other things for you to do with your precious time. Then there is the actual effort of learning the subjects well, organizing your thoughts, and putting them down on paper. Even when that is completed, the work must be checked, edited, proofread, typeset, and finally published. An author needs Siyata Di'Shmaya every step of the way to overcome all of the obstacles, difficulties and finally publish a sefer."
"Kol HaKovod to you that you did it, Nesanel. I have been considering writing a sefer for many years, but I have not gotten beyond the thought stage. Can you help me?"
"Let me share with you some wisdom from Rav Shimshon Pincus zt"l about Sefiras HaOmer."
"What does Sefiras HaOmer have to do with writing a sefer?"
"I will explain. These seven weeks between Pesach and Succos present a golden opportunity to work on our middos (character traits). The Arizal relates that what we accomplish during this period of time can bring us hatzlacha (success) throughout the entire year. Each of the seven weeks presents a different middah to work on and master. If we follow the plan and work on our middos step by step, we will arrive at Shavuos well prepared to receive Hashem's Holy Torah."
"This week's middah is 'netsach.' Rav Pincus explains that netsach means to succeed. One who succeeds in a struggle is called the 'menatzeach.' Our goal this week is to succeed."
"In what way?"
"I will elaborate. We all have good ideas. Are they going to remain ideas, or will they become reality? Will they be left in the realm of thought, or will they be put into action? The menatzeach puts in the hishtadlus (required effort) to bring his wonderful ideas to fruition. He is a doer, a builder! Just as Hashem does not procrastinate (so to speak), neither does he."
"Can you give an example?"
"Yes. I will use Rav Pincus' illustration. The Almighty's decision to bring color into the world was a wonderful idea. It was chessed and gevura. When He actually did it, that was netzach. He did it in the most beautiful way. Not just black and white rather the whole rainbow of colors!
"The first three weeks of Sefira we worked on chessed (kindness), gevura (self-control), and tiferes (being involved with beautiful things - mitzvos.) Now is the week to menatzeach - to put our great ideas into action. Now is the week to begin your sefer, Motti. You may encounter challenges, difficulties, and problems. However you will do your best to menatzeach! The father of netzach is Moshe Rabbeinu. He brought Torah down from Heaven into the world. He fought with the Heavenly angels. They did not want to give up the Torah. He had a big struggle . . . but he won! That's Moshe Rabbeinu - that's netzach!"
Kinderlach . . .
Now is the time to take action! Your ideas are beautiful. What are you going to do about them? Don't procrastinate. Take action. There will be challenges. It may get difficult at times. The yetzer hora is very good at putting plenty of obstacles in Your path. However, Hashem will help you. Pray to Him for Siyata Di'Shmaya. Kinderlach, you have the koach of Moshe Rabbeinu on your side. Now is the time to menatzeach!
The Love Book
"Where are you going Yossie?"
"Outside to play, Imma."
"Who are you going to play with?"
"Yossie, do you ever play with Yankie?"
"He's a very nice boy."
"I know. We just never got started on the right foot. I don't really like him."
"Would you like to be his friend?"
"Would you like some advice on how to be his friend?"
"Tell me something good about Yankie."
"He's a good student."
"Okay. I'm writing this down. 'I love Yankie because he's a good student.' What other good things can you tell me about him?"
"He's very polite."
"I like Yankie because he is very polite."
And so, Yossie and his mother continue writing down Yankie's good points. Each one begins with, "I like Yankie because . . ."
"Okay Yossie. Everything is written down. Please read this list.
Yossie reads through the list. He begins to warm up towards Yankie. He feels better and better about him, as he mentions each of his good points.
"You know, Imma, Yankie is a pretty good guy."
"He has many good points, Yossie. If you want to befriend Yankie, read this list over once a day. You will focus on his good points, and like him."
"You shall love your fellow as yourself" (Vayikra 19:18). Sometimes this mitzvah is easy and sometimes it is hard. Some people are more difficult to love than others. Yet, we must make our best effort to love all of our countrymen. Spend time thinking about the other person's good points. Then write them down. Review the list daily. Watch you feelings of love grow.
Kinderlach . . .
The mitzvah of loving our fellow Jews is very important. It is the source of all good middos (character traits). It will stamp out loshon hora, jealousy, and hatred. It will increase peace and unity and ultimately bring moshiach. How do we learn to love someone? Write a book about him called the "Love Book". This book is a list of all of his good points. Each point begins with the words, I love him because he is ______'. Read the Love Book every day. See how easy it is to love a Jew.
What is the difference between nekama (revenge) and netira (bearing a grudge)? (Rashi 19:18)
What does stealing lead to? (19:11 and Rashi)
Will anyone ever find out if you intentionally gave bad advice? (19:14 and Rashi)
Why is someone who speaks loshon hora compared to a peddler? (19:16 and Rashi)
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