Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fear of Hashem

In 5637, the Chofetz Chaim’s son was learning in the “Kovetz Prushim” in Eisheshok when he heard that his worthy father in nearby Radin had contracted some kind of illness. Understandably, he made the short trip home. He found the Chofetz Chaim in bed with intestinal colic looking into a Tur Orach Chaim propped open in front of him.
The moment after greeting his son, the Chofetz Chaim poured out his troubled heart: “How foolishly people always push off doing teshuvah until ‘later’ when they will supposedly finally have time. They figure that returning one day before they die—literally—is good enough. I see on my own flesh that this is a very great error. Here I am, disabled in bed. Although I cannot preoccupy myself with other matters, and try again and again to make an exact chesbon hanefesh and do teshuvah, I cannot muster up enough clarity to do a precise reckoning with myself. The reason I cannot is unfortunately simple: my head is heavy and my body’s suffering makes it next to impossible for me to concentrate. All of my thoughts are drawn to my physical ailments and I cannot remember what happened so may years ago…”
The Chofetz Chaim concluded, “How correct were Chazal when they commented on the verse, ‘Fortunate is the man who fears Hashem’—when he is still an ‘ish,’ while he is still young and strong…”
It is important to note that Rav Nosson of Breslov, zt"l, explains that one must have "yirah l'chaim." This means fear of Hashem which moves him to greater spiritual vitality not nervousness or worry.If thoughts of yirah make one melancholy this is a sign that he should work on attaining chizuk first.
One who worries incessantly due to his "fear of Hashem" likely needs a psycologist, as the Steipler, zt"l, remarked.
Hashem should grant us yirah l'chaim!

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