Acharei Mot Edition Print Version
29 Nissan, 5782 | April 30, 2022
Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik
Rabbi Dovid Ashear Tests
Imagine coming home and you’re starving, your stomach turning in emptiness, having barely eaten anything the whole day. You look around the house and take note of your wife, who’s outstretched on the couch. You’re dazzled. What a great wife, I have. She finished preparing dinner early, and she’s off relaxing. She deserves every bit of that.
Walking into the kitchen, you stand at the stove’s corner, peering with child-like curiosity into the large pot. But nothing is inside. It’s empty. Your mood suddenly shifts, as you step back and carefully glance at your wife’s position on the couch once again. She’s sitting there, quietly at ease, and dinner is nowhere near made. It’s a different story from what you first thought.
You know how you could react at this moment. But then you think twice, mulling over the matter without the tempest attitude that seeks to wash over you without mercy. “Look,” you tell yourself, “Hashem is in charge, I know that… and if I was meant to eat a meal tonight made by my wife, then she would have made it. But she didn’t, so it must be Hashem wants something else for me, and I trust that. With patience and care, she makes dinner every other night, so let me just grab something myself now and move on.”
This realization is the biggest gift you can give yourself. Yes, it seems that your wife was idly reclining on the couch, but the truth is that you weren’t supposed to have dinner made by your wife that night. It was something determined by Hashem and growing mad at her is missing the point and misplacing your focus. Everything that happens is from Hashem and no one can affect you, whether for better or worse. If something is meant to happen, it will, and no one can intervene; and if it’s not, then no one can make it occur, against G-d’s will.
If you can’t find your keys when you’re running late, Hashem hid them from you and you’re intentionally meant to go through the annoying process of finding them. Your son or daughter is disturbing your sleep? You weren’t meant to sleep, as decided for your best by G-d. To grow irritated at your children is missing the point.
The world runs according to G-d’s precise and purposeful interventions, every moment and in every situation. When our life therefore takes a certain direction and throws us a challenge, it is nothing more than Hashem communicating that this is meant to happen. We are being challenged, and yet we are capable of overcoming it. So summon your strength, lean into your trust of G-d and move forward with conviction, taking the right steps and making the right decision, knowing that it’s all G-d’s doing.
Mr. Charlie Harary Thank You Hashem
The reason why we don’t have geulah, redemption, right now is because we don’t really want Him – Hashem. When a child pulls up to the house and asks his father for support, the father realizes that he doesn’t really want a relationship with him as a father, but rather with his bank account.
What we once had with the Beit Hamikdash is not a building; it was G-d and us in an intimate relationship. And Hashem tells us, “If you don’t want Me, but just My stuff, then I can’t come home.” Every single year, we sit on the floor and tell Him, “Can you take care of… Can you give… Can you help…” And yet, while we most certainly should be asking Hashem for all that we need, it mustn’t be the way we condition our love for Him. If we get what we want, then we love Hashem; if we don’t, we don’t. The more we think that Judaism is about asking for more stuff, the more distant we push ourselves away from Hashem.
“What do I really want in this world?” we tell G-d. “I want You! I like to have money, I like to put food on my table, I like to live nicely, I like to live healthy, I like to have all my children married, but what do I really, really want? The entire world bowing to You, Hashem. I want to walk down Times Square and see Your Name on the buildings and billboards. Why shouldn’t You get that? Is it okay to build a world and give life to people who disrespect and disbelieve in You every day?
“What I really want in this world is my Dad. I just want You. And if You come with money and You come with health, then I’ll take it. But if not, it doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day, if You win, I’m happy. I know in my core that You want me. But I need to stop saying, ‘What can You, Hashem, do for me?’ and start saying, ‘What can I do for You, Hashem?’ Yes, it’s an honor to serve the King. You throw a challenge my way, I look at the challenge and say, ‘You think I don’t love Hashem because of the challenge?’
“This year, I want to grow up. I want to look at You, my Father in Heaven, and say, ‘You threw me a challenge? Thank you for the challenge! I don’t see that the challenge is good for me? No problem. Maybe I won’t see that it’s for my best for five years, or maybe my whole life. I’ll go through challenges and I’ll never see it. But it doesn’t matter. You’re building me, and thank you for that!”
Rabbi Yossi Bensoussan Calm and Cool
To be more effective in any relationship – with children, parents, siblings or a spouse – a calm presence is the way to go. Think of a fight and how it unfolded, and now think of it had both parties or even one remained calm. It’s a different story, and perhaps a story that never would have happened.
Not only this, but a calm attitude leads to stronger and more genuine relationships. You disagree with a family member or friend, and keep to your signature style of acting calm, you will become closer to that person, because your actions and reactions are predictable, and they know they can peacefully work things out with you. You will remain calm, no matter what, and you can be trusted to be this way. You are a rock whose emotions remain even-keel and controlled. When you have that, life is great. And not just for you, but for everyone around you.
Be calm and you’ll respect yourself for it, and so will everyone else.
Rabbi Jonathan Rietti Change Your Mind
Most of the time, you and I are not paying attention to what we’re thinking. But do you know what is much more obvious? What we’re feeling. So if you feel frustrated, what are you really revealing? That you have frustrating thoughts.
The reason the word Lev in the Torah refers both to thoughts and emotions is because Hashem wants us to understand that our emotions are big clues for us to understand ourselves. If we are frequently angry, what does that say about what’s going on in our mind with the person we frequently get angry with? We’re thinking negatively about that person.
Hashem gave us emotions in order to reveal to ourselves what we are thinking. The moment we understand that our emotions are not triggered by someone else’s behavior, by the stock market, by the weather or by our boss, but that it’s our thoughts about our boss or the weather, we don’t need to wait until outside circumstances change. We can change our mind instantly, on our own. And when we change our mind, our emotions switch immediately.
Rabbi Yaakov Harari A Team Player
Behind closed doors, in our personal and private lives, there are moments of weakness. We’ve all had them. We falter, realizing what we need to climb back into the ring of life, and we do. But even during those times when our willpower caves and we lose the battle with ourselves, we don’t lose our Jewish identity. That is never lost, no matter how down or deep our mistakes put us.
That is the strength we stand with. Our identification to the unity, oneness and togetherness of Jews around the world binds us to our Jewish roots, even during moments of distance and estrangement from the ideals and values which it stands for.
The only distancing mechanism there is between us and our Jewish brotherhood is lack of respect for one another. Our divisiveness and hatred will do us in, not our personal failings.
And what stands at the center of such disunity?
Sinas Chinam¸ unfounded hatred, stems from an engaged ego which stubbornly refuses to back down, grant forgiveness or let go. And it is ego which destroys relationships. If we want to bring unity, we need to put our ego aside, and do what’s best for our relationship as a Jewish family, instead of what’s best personally for ourselves.
We can personally struggle, but so long as we feel deeply connected to our brothers and sisters, we can ask them for help, work through struggles, receive the care and support we need, and grow into better people.
Put your ego out of the way and embrace your Jewish family. Your personal mistakes aside, you will still be loved no matter what. Just never forget your place in our Jewish family and your role in our collective identity and conscious.
We need you. We need each other.
Rabbi Binyomin Pruzansky Always There
It sounds cliché and we’ve heard it more times than we can count, but there are some truths of life that however many times we hear them, it’s never enough. And one of those is that G-d is always with you. No matter what, we must see Him through the smoke screen.
In life, so many times, we experience problems and we start to doubt. “Where’s Hashem?” we say. But if we hold on tight, we will come to realize that He’s always there, and He’s always been there. He's always there holding us. We just have to cling to Him.
Even when it’s cloudy and difficult, and even when there are rainstorms, realize that G-d is still directing you. He's just taking you on a different route. You’re applying for a job and you didn’t get it. Why not? Hashem is telling you, “That's not for you. You have to follow Me with full belief.”
Think of it as a child looking for his father. Keep looking for him and his father will soon enough open the door and embrace you. “Where were you all this time?” you’ll then ask. And when it comes to Hashem, He will answer,“I was testing you, and you’ve passed the test. You did your best, you came close to Me, and you recognized that your father was always there. You should be proud.”
That is life. And we’re all fully capable of rising to the occasion.
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