14 Sep A Great Defense for Rosh Hashana
In parshas Haazinu, the Torah proclaims about Hashem, “HaTzur, tamim pa’alo – The Rock (a metaphor for Hashem Who is solid and stable like a rock), perfect are His ways.” The great Rav Yisroel Salanter, zt”l, zy”a, reveals one angle of Hashem’s perfection. He explains that if a person is apprehended by the police for a serious crime and is duly convicted in court, he is incarcerated and serves a lengthy sentence. During this period, all too often, his wife and children become impoverished and suffer greatly. Rav Salanter concludes that such judgement is not Hashem’s way for it is not perfect since it generates undeserved suffering to the wife and children. Thus, Rav Salanter develops, Hashem will not punish someone if the ripple effects of that punishment cause harm to the dependents if the dependents are not worthy of such suffering.
With this fundamental concept, we have a powerful tool to ensure for ourselves a successful New Year and that is to make ourselves needed by our loved ones. For, even if a father and husband has blatant flaws, if he is a good provider and a pleasant companion to his spouse and children, then they don’t deserve to lose him and they will provide him with protection. The converse is also true. If a wife is a proper eizer k’negdo and she is an attentive mother, then even if she has serious spiritual flaws, Hashem will be loath to take her away and break the set of husband and wife, or take a needed mother away from her loving children.
This is the concept which the Gemora reveals when it says that Nadav and Avihu died because they weren’t married and they didn’t have children. Everyone asks, How could the Gemora say this was the reason when the posuk says outright it was because they brought a foreign fire on the Altar. All the commentators answer in unison that they deserved to die because they brought the foreign fire but they would have been saved if they had wives that needed them or children that had to have them.
I know many who read this will shake their heads and say, what about the widow with twelve children who lost their husband to COVID or the young wife who dies from cancer leaving a bereft husband and family. Weren’t they needed? Where was their protection? The answer is that if a person passes away at their keitz, their predetermined time, then being needed won’t help them. However, if punishment threatens to shorten their lives, then being needed is a lifesaving salvation. This is what the Orchos Chaim by Rav Luniel declares. “Harotze l’harich yamim, hevei marbeh b’achim v’rei’im – If you want to live long, have many brothers and friends,” because the more people who need you, the safer you are.
As the challenging year of 5780 comes to a close, I’d first like to thank the The Vues for giving me their wonderful stage to disseminate Hashem’s Torah, and I’d like to wish my dear readers and their families a year of good health, happiness, and everything wonderful.