Sunday, February 3, 2008

Hidden Agendas

Subconscious motives are very subtle and hard to detect. Even people on the highest level can be subject to them as the following story illustrates.

Shavuos with Rav Issur Zalman Meltzer, zt”l, was extraordinary in every way. The learning was fervently intense, as was the davening and the joy of Yom Tov itself. The divrey Torah at the meals were profound and heartfelt. It was an experience that many bochurim would not forgo for any price! One year during the middle of Shavuos-night learning, the bochurim were dancing and cake and coffee were being served as is customary. At this point, the Alter of Slabodka, zt”l, arrived at the Yeshiva.

He said to them in his penetrating way, “You may not realize this, but you really need to make a deep cheshbon hanefesh why you are here awake at this late hour. It is just possible that while you think your motives are pure and you are up because you want closeness to Hashem, your main reason is just to enjoy the refreshments! If so, this obviously is not related to the fact that Hashem gave us the Torah on this most holy day!”

Rav Issur Zalman exclaimed, “How can you even say that someone might be here for the refreshments and not the learning?”

The Alter removed a Moed Katan from the shelf and turned to page 20b.

He read, “Mar Ukva wanted to observe the laws of mourning over his brother-in-law. Rav Huna said to him, ‘You really want to eat tsudanaysa.’ Rashi explains that this is the meal served to the mourner.”

The Alter concluded, “So we see that one can even be willing to assume the laws of mourning and his main motivation could still be the good food!”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your hard work on this weblog. It's fantastic.

shalom uvracha

Micha Golshevsky said...

Yasher koach to you for your encouragement!