Friday, 31 March 2017

Take what you can get

by Ur-a-Jew (See all authors)

I saw a wonderful insight from Rabbi Galinsky Zt"l which is very relevant to our struggles.

We all know the Baal Haturim (even if we didn't know that it was the Baal Haturim who says it) why Vayikra is written with a small aleph. Explains the Baal Haturim that when Moshe sat to write the word Vayikra there was a dialogue between HKBH and Moshe. Moshe out of humility wanted to write Vayikar that Hashem happened upon him, Hashem said no you have to write Vayikra a term of endearment. Moshe said at least let me write it with a small aleph. Says Rabbi Galinsky there is a tremendous lesson here: in the quest for perfection, don't give up just because you are not able to reach perfection. Moshe could have said shleimus in humility requires me to write Vayikar the RBSO doesn't want so I'm done. Instead he said let me strive for less than perfect, and he asked Hashem let me write a small aleph and in this he succeeded.
Rav Galinsky reinforced this with an incident involving the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim once met a former prized talmud who was now engaged in business and who the Chofetz Chaim knew was no longer kovaya itim. In response to Chofetz Chaim's inquiry as to why he didn't devote at least a little time to Torah study, the person responded that it was the Chofetz Chaim's fault; it was the Chofetz Chaim who had arranged for such a wonderful maggid shuir like Reb Naftoli Trop who taught them to navigate through the Yam Hatulmid delving into every facet and detail. As a result, when he first sat down to the Daf Yomi shuir in his local shul, he was appalled since they were obviously fooling themselves in thinking they knew the Gemara. How can one breeze through a daf of gemara in a mere hour. And, since he didn't have time to delve into the sugya, he devoted no time to learning because he obviously could not devote an hour to something that was not "real" learning.
The Chofetz Chaim smiled and responded with a moshel. There was a man who worked hard all week. Shabbos came he still had no rest since he had to tend to his family responsibilities. The one pleasure in life he had was Erev Shabbos he would go to the bathhouse relax in the shvitz and then go into the cold mikveh to cool down. There came a point where he wasn't feeling well and he went to the doctor who told him he had a heart problem and he would have to make certain changes. The person said 'whatever it is, don't take away from me the shvitz.' The doctor said 'that's the first thing you can't do. You go there, you're a dead man.'

The man was devastated. One week passed, two weeks passed, he restrained himself, the third week he couldn't take it and he went into the shvitz. Sure enough, as the doctor predicted, he immediately started to feel faint. With his last strength, he ran to go into the cold mikveh to cool off. But, alas, the cool mikveh this week was completely empty. Someone seeing this, ran and brought him a small bowl of cold water to cool off his face. He looked at the small bowl of water and said 'a bowl?! I go into an entire mikveh, I don't need a bowl of water.' The person responded 'don't be an idiot, an entire mikveh is ideal but if you are dying, you take what you can get.'
Concluded the Chofetz Chaim, the Torah is compared to water. We need to submerge ourselves completely into the waters of Torah but if we don't have a mikveh of water, at least take the bowl and revive yourself as best you can.

Often times in our own struggle, we cannot reach perfection but a little aleph we all have, it is in our power to do. You've slipped, maybe you even fell, one time, even a hundred times, it's not over. It just means that you won't have achieved 100% - even Moshe Rabeinu didn't achieve that - but what he taught us is that you don't give up take at least a little bowl of water and revive yourself.
Thank You, Hashem, for everything You have given us until now; may we continue to merit your protection.