Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Parnossah Path

When Rav Uri of Strelisk zt”l passed away, although many of his chassidim became attached to Rav Yisroel of Ruzhin zt”l they still held fast to the path laid down by their original Rebbe. In stark contrast to the way of Rav Yisroel, Rav Uri tended to denigrate materialism, and encouraged his followers to dedicate their energy to avodas Hashem exclusively. Although many of these men were poor and barely managed to support their families, the Ruzhiner Rebbe noticed that none of his new followers ever included a request for parnassah on their kvitlach.

The Rebbe called them together and said, “The halachah is clear. One who reads the first verse of Shema without proper focus has not fulfilled his obligation. The consensus is that he must repeat it and concentrate fully. A similar halachah exists about the verse פותח את ידך ומשביע לכל חי רצון. If one failed to focus on it properly, one must repeat it.”

He then asked pointedly, “Why do you choose to emphasize the first halachah, and ignore the second?”

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