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    When one

    remembers that

    everything is

    from Hashem, he

    will be humble.

    People tell the

    following story:

    There was a poor person who lived in a

    run-down home at the edge of town. He

    had a friend in the city who owned a

    store, where (among other items) he

    sold lottery tickets. Once, his friend told

    him, “Why don’t you play the lottery?

    Perhaps your mazal will change.” The

    pauper replied, “If I had an extra coin I

    would spend it on a loaf of bread.” The

    store owner said, “I will buy a lottery

    ticket for you. If you win the lottery,

    you can pay me back.” In the middle of

    the night, the storeowner checked the

    lottery and saw that his friend won! He

    went to the end of town, in the middle

    of the night, to tell his friend the good

    news. He first knocked on his door

    quietly, but his friend was sleeping

    deeply. He knocked louder, and he also

    knocked on the windows. Finally, his

    friend woke up and opened the door.

    What do you want? Why did you come

    here at this hour?” “I wanted to tell you

    that you won the lottery and now you

    are rich!” The man’s mannerisms

    changed in a moment. He said, “How

    dare you wake me in the middle of the

    night? If anyone else did that, I would

    forgive them, because they don’t know

    that I’m wealthy. But you know, so

    what business do you have waking me

    up like that in the middle of the night?”

    This is the way people are. When

    something good happens to them, they

    become haughty and think they

    deserve the good that they are

    receiving. They forget that it is from

    Hashem and that without Hashem’s

    help they would remain poor. Reb

    Yisrael Salanter zt’l pioneered the

    mussar movement because of the

    following story: There once were two

    poor cobblers, and the mazal of one of

    them turned around, and he became

    extremely wealthy. He was appointed

    rosh hakahal (president of the

    community). Almost everyone forgot

    that he was once poor. His daughter

    became engaged to the son of the rav

    of their city. The wedding was

    celebrated with pomp and honor.

    Many people – among them rabanim

    and wealthy people – came in honor of

    the wealthy man and in honor of the

    rav. The wealthy rosh hakahal spent a

    lot of money on the wedding, and he

    hoped that no one remembered his

    humble past. All this time, the other

    cobbler was still poor, and he

    was very jealous of the honor

    that his childhood friend was

    receiving. As the chasan and

    kallah, rav and rosh hakahal

    stood under the chuppah, the

    cobbler put out a shoe and said

    to the rosh hakahal, “Can you

    fix my shoe for me?” reminding

    everyone present of his poor

    past. The roshh hakahal

    collapsed from shame and was

    niftar on the spot. Reb Yisrael

    Salanter was present at that

    chasunah. He saw what can

    happen to people who don’t

    study mussar, and he

    immediately launched the

    mussar movement. Reb Nota

    Zehnworth zt’l said that most

    people think that Reb Yisrael

    Salanter launched the mussar

    movement because of this

    cobbler’s bad and cruel middos.

    However, that wasn’t the main

    reason that Reb Yisrael began

    the mussar movement. It was

    because the rosh hakahal

    couldn’t bear the shame. Why?

    He had everything: wealth,

    honor, and nachas. His

    daughter was getting married!

    Yet, it bothered him so much

    when someone embarrassed

    him. Reb Yisrael Salanter, who

    was at this wedding, thought,

    “He should have taken the shoe

    and danced with

    it because of the

    chasadim that

    H a s h e m

    performed for

    him. He was

    raised from the

    lowest levels,

    and Hashem

    gave him so

    many honors.

    But he wanted to create an image that

    he was always wealthy and that he

    earned his wealth with his strength and

    power. He didn’t want to remember the

    chasadim Hashem did for him. That is

    why the mussar movement was


    Kriyas Shema

    There were six primary arei miklat

    plus an additional forty-two cities that

    also served as cities of refuge

    As it states


                -       –

        -             -    ,

    The cities that you shall give to the

    Levi’im, the six cities of refuge…

    Additionally, add another forty-two

    cities [cities of refuge].” The Ohev

    Yisrael writes, “This mitzvah also

    applies in our times, because the Torah

    is nitzchis (eternal) and therefore it

    must be applicable even today… The

    explanation is, if someone committed

    aveiros and has in a sense murdered his

    own soul, this is what he should do for

    his rectification: When he recites the

    first six words of he)             )

    Shema should accept the yoke of

    Heaven with love, with mesirus

    nefesh, with sincerity, and

    commitment. Those are his six cities of

    refuge (arei miklat). He should add

    another forty-two cities, which is the

    paragraph       that contains

    forty-two words…” Shema is the arei

    miklat in our generation, where one

    runs to for atonement. This lesson is

    also alluded to in the Gemara (Brachos

    5), which says, “One should always do

    battle with the yetzer hara. If he

    succeeds, all is well. If not, he should

    learn Torah. If he succeeds, it is good.

    If he fails [and the yetzer hara is still

    overpowering him], he should read

    Shema.” For kriyas Shema is a place of

    refuge, where we can be protected

    from the yetzer hara, and where we can

    attain atonement for sins.