Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Value of Every Effort

Rav Yaakov Meir Shechter, shlit”a, taught a very inspiring lesson from a statement of our sages “In the midrash we find that Hashem wished to return the world to primordial chaos because of the heinous acts of Yehoyakim. It is therefore not surprising that the gemara asks why Yehoyakim is not on the list of kings who have no portion in the next world. The gemara explains that he received atonement due to the humiliation of not being buried. Rav Preida’s grandfather found a skull near the gates of Yerushalayim. On the skull was imprinted, ‘This and another.’ He buried it but it resurfaced. When this happened again, he understood that this was the skull of Yehoyakim, regarding whom the verse states, ‘He will be buried like a donkey.’ This was the first act of recompense that was alluded to in the inscription. But despite this curse, Rav Preida’s grandfather figured that it was inappropriate for a king to be dishonored in this manner and he wrapped it in silk and placed it in a chest. His wife found it and her neighbors reasoned that it was likely of his first wife whom he could not forget; in a fit of jealousy she burned it in the oven. This was the other act of recompense imprinted on the skull.’
“We learn from this gemara the vast importance of every action in this world. If this humiliation after death was enough to atone for Yehoyakim’s many sins, it is obvious that every embarrassment or effort one makes while still in this world certainly helps rectify one’s sins. But of course one requires great siyattah d’Shmayah to merit such atonement.
“Our main hope and prayer must be that Hashem shine His face upon us and be gracious to us, as the midrash learns from the verse, 'האר פניך ונושעה'. Sometime a ha’aras panim is shined on one and through one experience or thought he can change himself from one extreme to the other!”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How awesome is the power of teshuva!
Not only are one's sins forgiven, but actually all former sins, having been atoned for, are turned into mitzvos.
For that reason our holy Sages have said,even perfect tzaddikim are not able to attain such a high and loftly spiritual standing as that of a baal t'shuva.