Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nullifying Divine Anger

Our sages teach that as long as there are thieves in the world, Hashem’s anger will be in the world. Rav Yonasan Eibeschitz, zt”l, wonders why thieves are worse than anyone else. He explains, “One cannot deny that every wicked person brings Hashem’s anger into the world when he acts against the Divine will. But it is well known that that a thief who acts with care that he not be caught by mere people is worse than an armed ruffian who robs openly, fearing neither man nor Hashem.
“On the other hand, it is known that one who gives tzedakah in secret nullifies Hashem’s anger. We may well ask why this is so. The obvious reason is because the person giving does so solely for the sake of heaven, since he knows that Hashem sees even where others do not. Although the sinful deeds of most wicked people also are the result of willful ignoring Diving providence, nevertheless, thieves who act as though Hashem’s providence does not exist at all are the exact inverse of the kind actions of one who gives in secret. For this reason, the mitigation of Divine wrath their good deeds accomplish do not extend to the furtive pilfering of the burglar.”
“The ultimate teshuvah is when one repents from sins between man and his fellow man such as theft. This is why we say at the end of Yom Kippur, 'למען נחדל מעושק ידינו'—‘That we might refrain from oppression at our hands.’ The main thing in teshuvah is to erect fences and strict boundaries to ensure that one does not return to his sinful behavior.”

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