Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For the Sake of Heaven

“How great is an action for the sake of heaven!”
The Chofetz Chaim exclaimed this and explained that that we learn it from a statement of our sages. “If one offers a gift to a king of flesh and blood, he must consider the possibility that his gift will be rejected. And even if the king accepts his gift, he cannot know how much of an impact it will make on him; perhaps in the king’s eyes, his gift will be of little consequence. But to Hashem, every good action done for His honor is very precious.
“Our sages recount that when the king of Bavel sent a letter to Chizkiyahu Hamelech he wrote, ‘Shalom to King Chizkiyahu, Shalom to Yerushalayim, Shalom to the great Hashem.’ Nevuchadnezzar, who was at that time the Babylonian king’s usual scribe, had not been present when the letter was drafted. When he returned and heard the above text it upset him. “The ‘great Hashem’ should be first! We must write instead, ‘Shalom to the great Hashem, Shalom to King Chizkiyahu, Shalom to Yerushalayim. Nevuchadnezzar then ran a few steps after the messenger and called him back, giving them a letter with his text instead.
“In the merit of this slight exertion, he became king of the entire world and was given many other benefits listed there. From this we see the greatness of every action that we perform for the sake of heaven. Is it so difficult to pay attention to our many mitzvos and focus on acting for the sake of heaven? We will fulfill them regardless. It is surely worthwhile to add the simple thought that we wish our deeds to be for the sake of heaven!”

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