Friday, March 9, 2012

A Speck of Chometz

The Shulchan Aruch rules that a prayer intoned without kavanah is like a body without a soul. This rule applies equally to how one fulfills the mitzvos. If he uses the mitzvah to connect to Hahsem, they reach the highest spheres. Although fulfilling a mitzvah without thinking is also very precious, when compared to doing a mitzvah with kavanah, it too is like a body without a soul. That is the main element of the mitzvah is lacking. This is one reason why many people say לשם יחוד before fulfilling mitzvos. In this manner, they attempt to recall that one is not only obligated to fulfill the mitzvos. To paraphrase the Shelah Hakadosh, “He must also remember the One who gave the Torah.” But how is one to remember Hashem while involved in the many physical preparations of the chag? Rav Avraham Ladau, Av Beis Din of Zembin, would always send a short message to Rav Shmuel Dovber of Porisov with the wagon driver that would go to that town before Peasach. The message would reveal what the rav was thinking about while involved in all the preparations and mitzvos of Pesach. One year the message was, “Chometz on Pesach is אסור במשהו, even a tiny amount. Emunah—failing to remember Hashem—is also אסור במשהו, even for an instant!” When Rav Shmuel Dov Ber heard this message he said, “This short message can easily be expounded on for a full year!”

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