Thursday, January 31, 2008

Feeling the Presence of the King

During his younger years, the Beis Halevi zt”l learned in a designated room in his father-in-law’s house. His father-in-law, a chossid of Rav Moshe of Kovrin zt”l, had agreed at the beginning of their relationship that he would never disturb his son-in-law’s study for any reason whatsoever.

Once, Rav Moshe came to visit at his follower’s home. Although the Beis Halevi’s father-in-law wanted his Rebbe to meet his son-in-law, he couldn’t see how it would be possible to introduce them since this would mean interrupted his constant learning. On the day his Rebbe was going to leave he had an idea. He couldn’t interrupt his son-in-law…but someone else could! When he noticed that the Beis Halevi had left his room for a moment, he placed Rav Moshe’s luggage inside. When the Beis Halevi returned and resumed his study, the Rebbe knocked at the door.

“What do you want?” the Beis Halevi asked.

“My bags are here. May I come in?”

The Beis Halevi was just then learning the final section of Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim. Rav Moshe asked, “What about the first subsection? Do you manage to fulfill it?”

The Beis Halevi answered, “I work on shivisi Hashem l’negdi fifteen times a day. But I’m always troubled that although the Rama says that imagining being in the all-knowing presence of the King immediately fills a person with fear, it takes me time to feel it.”

The Rebbe explained, “That is because you are thinking with your head. Fear of Heaven is in one’s heart, and it takes time to reach from your head to your heart. That’s why the Rama says to ‘place it on his heart’—not ‘on his head!’”

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