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Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 28 Elul

Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks - 28 Elul

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בִּרְכַּת ד' הִיא תַעֲשִׁיר, בִּכְלַל וּבִפְרַט לְהַנּוֹתֵן מֵעִתּוֹ וּמִזְּמַנּוֹ לַעֲסוֹק בְּצָרְכֵי צִבּוּר בְּעִנְיָנֵי צְדָקָה וְחִזּוּק הַיַּהֲדוּת, וּכְמַאֲמַר: דעֶר אוֹיבּעֶרשׁטעֶר בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּלַייבּט נִיט קֵיין בַּעַל חוֹב, פאַר יעֶדעֶר גוּטעֶר זאַךְ וואָס אַ אִיד טוּט, צאָלט עֶר בְּמֵיטַב מִיט בָּנֵי חַיֵּי וּמְזוֹנֵי רְוִיחֵי.

“It is G‑d’s blessing that brings wealth.”1 This applies universally, but particularly to a person who devotes his time to communal needs, such as matters of tzedakah and strengthening the practice of Yiddishkeit. As the familiar adage expresses it, “G‑d does not remain a debtor.” For every good deed that a Jew does, G‑d repays him generously — with children, vitality, and abundant sustenance.2

A Story with an Echo

Good deeds are not the monopoly of a pious elite. Indeed, the Sages teach that even “the empty ones”3 among the Jewish people are as full of mitzvos as a pomegranate is full of seeds.4 Every individual, whoever he may be, has a vast array of merits that make him worthy of G‑d’s blessings. On the days before Rosh HaShanah, we are reminded to make an effort to highlight the merits of our fellow men. Our unjudgmental goodwill then evokes a reciprocal thrust of Divine goodwill that highlights our own merits in the forthcoming judgment.

*

A non-Lubavitcher visitor related that he was once asked by the Rebbe at yechidus to repeat a Torah teaching that he had recently heard from the spiritual mentor of the community to which he belonged.

“At first,” he said, “I couldn’t remember anything, but then I recalled that he had delivered a talk on the conclusion of the Talmudic Tractate Chagigah. There our Sages state that ‘the sinners of Israel are filled with mitzvos just as a pomegranate is filled with seeds.’ My scholarly mentor had explained that the statement is difficult to understand: Why would the Sages dwell on the virtues of ‘the sinners of Israel’? And he proceeded to disparage those who had abandoned Jewish belief and practice.

“When I concluded, the Lubavitcher Rebbe responded: ‘I have a different problem with that statement. If those individuals are filled with mitzvos, why do the Sages call them the sinners of Israel…?’”

Footnotes
2.
Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz, letter #1673, Heb. Vol. 6, pp. 255-256.
3.
That is, even the sinners.
4.
Berachos 57a, et al. “Full of mitzvos” is commonly understood to mean that every Jew has numerous mitzvos to his credit. To this, the Rebbe adds a more literal meaning — that the mitzvos that every Jew observes “fill his entire being.” (See Sefer HaMaamarim — Melukat, Vol. 3, p. 34.)
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