Monday, February 4, 2008

Hashem Cries over Three…

"...על שלשה הקב"ה בוכה בכל יום..."

Once, the Ahavas Shalom, zt”l, came to visit at the home of his wealthy uncle in Kolomaya. To his distress, he noticed that this uncle didn’t give charity as a man of his means ought. At the same time, the man did learn Torah with tremendous diligence.

The Ahavas Shalom approached his host one day and said, “In Chagigah 5b we find that Hashem cries over three people: one who can learn but fails to, one who can’t learn and does, and a leader who lords it over the community. The well known question is, why does He cry for one who cannot learn but does anyway? What is this person doing wrong?

The Ahavas Shalom mused, “One possible answer is that each person comes to this world to correct his flaws. A person who has no assets and can learn is apparently here to learn and teach Torah. One who has great assets but has difficulty learning is primarily here to give charity. One who has the capacity to learn and also has a lot of money is here to do both. For such a person, one with out the other is simply not enough. If such a person learns and thinks that this absolves him of his obligation to give tzedakah, he is tragically mistaken. Hashem cries over the fate of that man! Unless he changes his ways, this person will not do what he needs to in this lifetime and will be forced to return again to this world to rectify his neshamah. We see something similar from the fact that Daniel told Nevuchadnezzar that his sins would only be absolved through charity.

The Ahavas Shalom then turned to his uncle and proclaimed, “Don’t you understand? For a man of your means, learning alone is simply insufficient!”

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