Sunday, January 13, 2008

You Can't Fall From the Ground

The Beis Avrohom of Slonim zt”l told the following story:

The famous brothers, Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk and Reb Zusia of Anapoli zt”l, once had a disagreement about serving Hashem: Should one first work on humility and then rise to see the greatness of Hashem, or instead start by focusing on G-d’s greatness, which naturally leads to humility? They traveled to their mentor, the holy Mezritcher Maggid zt”l, to put their quandry before him.

Rebbe, which is the better way?” they asked.

“Both paths are divrei Elokim Chayim!” smiled the Maggid.

“But isn’t one better than the other?” they pressed him again.

The Maggid paused a moment and then answered, “Both paths lead to Hashem, but only one is absolutely secure—the way of beginning with humility, and then looking up toward His greatness.”

“You can see this from the old saying: you can’t fall from the ground!”

The Beis Avrohom zt”l applies this concept to the haggadah, about which Chazal said, “It begins in disgrace and ends in praise.” We are first humbled by seeing where we come from—our ancestors served idols, and is there anything worse than that? We needed to be built from the ground up, and in the end, “Hashem drew us close to serve Him!”

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