Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Planting of Joy

The Chiddushei HaRim, zt”l, said, “In megillah 5a we find that Rebbi planted a seedling of joy on Purim. This hints that on Purim one has the ability to plant in his heart joy in Hashem. And just as a plant sprouts and flourishes, so too should one’s joy take root and flourish. We should become happier people after each Purim!”

A chassid once asked Rav Aharon Aryeh of Premishlan, zt”l, “The Chessed L’Avraham, zt”l, writes that between Purim and Pesach, we are each taken out of our personal forty-nine gates of impurity a little at a time. What can I do so that I will be able to feel this happening and change?”

The Rav responded, “The days between Purim and Pesach are powerful purifiers of the soul. It is only after we experience the holiness of Purim and the days between the two festivals that we are able to fulfill the wondrous duties of Pesach. You must think of yourself as a sick person whose convalescence progresses in stages. First, the doctor finds a way to strengthen the patient’s constitution so that he can bear the medications and get treated. After treatment and as soon as the patient is already better, he must take care not to have a relapse. This is exactly how it is on a spiritual plane.”

Rav Aharon Aryeh continued, “It is well known that joy can heal a person of all ills, but this too comes in stages. First, one plants the seed of healing with his great joy on Purim. This germinates during the days of preparation for Pesach—a hectic period that provides ample opportunity for spiritual growth provided that we hold on to our joy. Finally, we make it to the Seder night, the culmination of this great time. With great joy, we fulfill all the lofty mitzvos of the Seder, and this way we conclude the process of healing that began on Purim. Afterward, we immediately start to count the omer to ensure that we don’t have a relapse! Focus your mind on this, and you will surely see yourself emerging from your own forty-nine levels of impurity and entering into the gates of holiness!”

2 comments:

Spiritual Dan said...

I found this post very interesting... as someone whose wife is currently undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We thought the cancer was gone but then surprise, H" provided us with a relapse. This has been a painful episode, and its timing has proved interesting as well; the Nishmat Avraham has provided invaluable support on some interesting halachic issue.

Ultimately though, no matter what a doctor or patient does, relapse is only in the hands of H". Not so with matters of the spirit; for H" grants us free will. At least this is how I've reconciled R. Aryeh's view. i.e. merely performing mitzvos will not heal a person; only H".

MIcha Golshevsky said...

Thank you for your insiteful comment.
Although I am pained to hear about your incredible burden, I am completely amazed at your spiritual greatness. To even write what you wrote while going through a relapse, reveals tremendous faith and courage.
I wish your wife a complete recovery. May you have many joyous years together!
Please provide her Hebrew name and her mother's.
Rav Wolbe wrote a soldier who wished to work on his middos on the battle field, "You must realize that it is much harder to work on your character while you are under such intense pressure. There is a completely different standard for someone on the battle field, your failures don't count like a civilians."
My friend, have a care not to be hard on yourself.
Don't forget the gemara Rebbe Nachman emphasizes, "G-d is not a tyrant!"
And don't forget that every single good act while you are on the "battlefield" precious beyomnd measure!
If I can be of assistance in any way please contact me. My email is: Micha.Golshevsky@gmail.com