Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Burning Flame

During the third meal of Shabbos, the Beis Yisrael of Gur, zt”l, was known to deliver very inspiring Torah that was strong enough to fire his chassidim for at least the coming week. One week he gave a lesson from a statement on today’s daf. “On Zevachim 43 Rav Yitzchak teaches that pigul, nosar or tamei which was brought up on the altar has their prohibition removed from them. Rav Chisda makes an oath and bemusedly wonders, ‘How can the altar remove issurim?’ Rav Zeira explains that it is discussing a case where the various offerings actually caught fire.
“This teaches us a very important lesson in avodas Hashem,” the rebbe enthusiastically exclaimed. “When one is filled with holy fervor, all inner evils that are like pigul, nosar, and tumah, fall away. All the filth and dirt is removed.”
We can understand this in light of a parable brought in the Toras Avos: “Once there was a man who owned a huge forest. Since developing the area was the best way to earn money from his land, he decided to remove the trees. To this end, the owner began to cut down the forest tree by tree. After many long days, he noticed that he was hardly making any progress. If he did not manage to increase his efficiency, it was quite plausible that the trees would grow back before he had a chance to cut down the rest. What did he do? He set fire to the forest and within a short time he achieved his goal.
“The same is true in spiritual terms. One who fights day in and day out against each illicit thought and spiritual challenge eventually realizes that he must find a better method to overcome his base nature. He will only prevail if he ignites a holy fire in his heart. As long as he is on fire with longing for Hashem, he will soon incinerate every base thought and failing.”

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