17 Shvat 5782 / Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | Torah Reading: Va'era
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You are the King    

You are the King

The material world and the evil inclination try to fool us, making us think that we determine things. On Rosh Hashana, we remember that Who is the King...


In the CD You are the King Rabbi Lazer Brody explains that on Rosh Hashanah we need to work to crown Hashem properly because we fail to do so during the year. We have limited focus and tend to forget. Therefore, we have to make a concerted effort to instill a constant awareness that Hashem is the King.


All too often we fall under the sway of the foolish king, the Evil Inclination who usurps the real King's authority. We think we are free to do what we want but really we are a prisoner of war to the Evil Inclination. We are in servitude to him when we engage in self-defeating behavior that damages our souls.


We need to surrender ourselves to the Monarchy of Hashem and place ourselves under the wings of His infinite mercy and compassion. Rebbe Nosson says that the main aspect of crowning Hashem is repentance, returning to him with all our heart. We need to humble ourselves and nullify our sorely limited logic and subjective opinions. We need to accept His sovereignty with complete simplicity.


Our job is to illuminate the world with the light of Hashem. The more we grow in emuna and awe the more the mercy of Hashem is revealed to us and the entire world.


Our individual and national soul correction is to stop complaining and thank Hashem.


After the ill-fated mission of the spies, the people of Israel cried and complained for no reason. We are still paying the price for this tragic mistake. We must correct this flaw by thanking Hashem profusely for all our blessings. Failure to appreciate all our blessings coupled with needless complaining are closely related.


The word for Jew, Yehudi, means to give thanks. When we take nothing for granted we can always be happy. Gratitude is the number one job of a Jew. Ingratitude is the root of all troubles while gratitude evokes forgiveness that mitigates stern judgments.


Proof positive: Gratitude invokes Divine Compassion


In the above-mentioned CD, Rabbi Brody tells the true story of a young man with a brother who had contracted cancer. The doctors said there was no hope for a recovery. Rabbi Shalom Arush advised the young man to tell his brother to begin thanking Hashem for his illness for five minutes a day. This brother had been raised in an anti-religious kibbutz and was fervently opposed to religion. Nevertheless, the situation was desperate and he had nowhere else to turn. He took the advice and began to thank Hashem for five minutes daily. Miraculously, within a few weeks the cancerous tumor disappeared completely!


Rabbi Brody says there are countless examples of miraculous salvations occurring after people began to thank Hashem for their difficult situations. This account is especially remarkable because the young beneficiary had been passionately anti-religious. This highlights the power of gratitude and the limitless nature of Hashem’s mercy and compassion.


We need to emulate Hashem’s mercy and compassion


Yom Kippur only atones for sins between man and God. You can't be frum and disparage and abuse people. Judaism demands that we respect and help every single human being.


Rabbi Brody recounts the incident from tractate Sanhedrin when in a crowded study hall Rebbi requested that the person with garlic on his breath leave the room as the smell was really disturbing. Rav Chiya left to avoid embarrassing anyone and all the other attendees followed him out of the room. The next day Rebbi’s son asked Rav Chiya why he had left the lecture hall thereby terminating the entire session of Torah study. Rav Chiya said there should be no humiliation of a person ever, especially in the house of study. A thousand Torah lectures are not worth embarrassing a person.


Where did Rav Chiya learn this level of sensitivity? He learned it from Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Brody told the story about a woman who had been exploited by a young man from Rabbi Meir’s yeshiva. She had received kiddushin (betrothal) from him via physical relations and now he had abandoned her. She requested that Rabbi Meir find the young man and compel him to give her a get (writ of divorce) thereby terminating the marriage. Rabbi Meir personally wrote a get and gave it to her and he required every student in the yeshiva to do the same in order to avoid embarrassing anyone.


Derech Eretz (Good Character) is a prerequisite and a product of Torah


If a person doesn't have good character traits he can't possibly have Torah. The Torah commands us to cling to Hashem. How can we do this?  We need to act like Hashem by being compassionate, gracious, and forgiving. In his commentary on Psalm 15 Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch says that the way to come close to God is to be generous and honest with your fellow man.


When we act like Hashem we crown Him. We show that he is our Father and King and we are his beloved children. When we live like Hashem, since he is above nature, nature has no control over us.


In the merit of emulating Hashem and being sensitive, kind, patient, forgiving, and generous with our fellow human beings, may His kingship become manifest throughout the entire world. May you be blessed with a wonderful New Year!

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