Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Taking on the Yoke of Heaven

When someone once asked the Divrei Yisrael of Modzhitz, zt”l, why many say l’shem yichud before performing a mitzvah he explained in a wondrous manner. “Our sages teach that, 'אמירתו לגבוה כמסירתו להדיוט'. Although this literally means that one’s pledge for hekdesh is equivalent to handing it over to a person, there is another explanation which answers your question. We explain simply that saying one’s intentions causes the action to already belong on high, and enables him to do it with proper purity. It follows that evil has no part in such a mitzvah since it has already been consigned to Hashem above and this cannot be reversed.”
The Alter of Kelm, zt”l, explained that feeling and showing love for one’s fellow man is the most important way to develop one’s middos. “Our sages famously teach: 'ואהבת לרעך כמוך' is a כלל גדול בתורה. This means that through loving one’s fellow Jew he is able to truly fulfill the Torah. This is because focus on love for one’ fellow slowly diminishes his arrogance and anger which are the products of negative self-love.”
He added, “This is also why we find that during judgment one will be asked whether he has made his friend a king over himself. This is the critical factor in determining how much a person accepted the yoke of heaven.”
This is another way to understand the statement, "אמירתו לגבוה כמסירתו להדיוט". The more completely one gives himself over to his friend, the more effective his words of Torah and tefilah will be.

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