Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Don’t Let Aveiros Interfere!

“Reish Lakish says that we do not ‘pass over’ mitzvos,” that we are not to delay a mitzvah that presents itself in preference for an action that is not itself a mitzvah. How does this apply to our own avodas Hashem? The Tiferes Shlomo zt”l explains that the yetzer makes use of a certain strategy to dampen our enthusiasm just as we are about to pray. “How dare you, sinner that you are, even think of turning to Hashem now? The nerve!” Yet the truth is the very opposite—Hashem, in His mercy, attends to every honest prayer uttered by even the simplest Jew. We see this from the gemara quoted above: the word for “pass over” (“ma’avirin”) bears the same root as the word for transgression (“averiah”). When we are about to perform a mitzvah, we must not allow our aveiros to interfere. Every second is a new world, presenting fresh opportunities to do the Will of our Creator.

The Vilna Gaon taught that a meshumad, an apostate, is obligated in all mitzvos, just like any kosher Jew. His apostasy doesn’t grant him any kind of dispensation, and he is obligated in every detail of the law just as he was before he abandoned the Torah. When the Gaon heard of a Jew who had converted and joined a monastery, he sent an invitation to his home so that he could try to draw him back to Judaism. When the meshumad arrived, the Gaon honored him with a drink and said, “I would like to hear a b’rochah.“ The meshumad was taken aback. “I am no longer a Jew—why on earth should I make a b’rochah?”

The Gaon patiently explained. “Converting did not change anything, and kefirah is no excuse. You are a child of Avrohom Avinu, and you will eventually be punished for every single sin. But you will also be rewarded for every single mitzvah! Take the opportunity to earn yourself another z’chus!” The words of the Gra made a deep impression on his guest, and it was not long before he did a complete teshuvah.


Spiritual Dan said...

Amazing. I have real problems with Tachanun for exactly this reason. If we really are full of these sins, how can we approach H"? thank you so much for this inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the chizuk yet again!
I am very happy to be of assistance.
I understand from your statement that your problems have been completely resolved. (If they haven't please let me know.)