By Yakov Spil
I heard a story last week that touched me and helped clarify an aspect of our avodas Hashem.
The maaseh occured in the days when Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zl was the Mashgiach of Ponovezh. There was a talmid chochom who was close to death and a few talmidim went to be with this adom choshuv in his last hours. This talmid chochom knew that he did not have much time left and he knew when to say shema, vidui, pesukim etc. etc. The talmidim were all davening with him and they were very touched as they witnessed this man’s lofty madrega in his last hours in this world.
He passes away and they cover him and stay with him until the Mashgiach zl comes.
Rav Chatzkel came and said to them, “Genug mit dem bitul! Geit zurik zu di Yeshiva!” “Enough with the waste of time. Go back to the Yeshiva.”
The talmidim answer him, “But, Rebbe, how can this be a waste of time. We were melaveh him to the Next World. We had such hisorrerus from it.”
Rav Chatzkel’s answer is so important I think.
“Hisorrerus iz nisht kein avodah.”
“Feeling inspired is not what constitutes a person’s avodas Hashem.”
When we think about it, there are so many aspects of our avodas Hashem that really and truly are inspiring events or activities, but we are thus missing out on meat and potatoes because this is not true avodas Hashem, they are ancillary. Important and life changing as they may be, they are not what really build our avodas Hashem and our connection to Avinu Shebashomayim.
This hits me because perhaps this is why there are so many “Kinus Hisorrerus” today. This is why so many are looking for chizuk. Could it be we are looking for chizuk because we have not built the proper foundation within ourselves?
Of course, one should go and hear a Rov or a Mashgiach about seminal life events and current events as we recently endured. But one should not think that he has fortified himself in his own Avodas Hashem by going.
It only comes through the struggle and toil we all have experienced in working over a Gemora, or working through some loshon in a sefer and we get it better because we “chorvened” over it. We worked on it. We made a kinyan on it. We all know that feeling.
My question to everyone is, with all of our family obligations and being kovea itim, how do we still make those kinyonim being older? It was much easier when we were younger! I have that longing to achieve still and find it so challening.
Until I heard this vort, I might have thought I was spending my time wisely. Now, I realize that there’s this and there’s that. There’s the need for outside chizuk and inspiration which is always welcome. And there’s the personal yegia.
I wish everyone the brocho to achieve in their own yegia and to reap tremendous nachas from it which encourages us to move on and acquire more Torah.
By the way, I hope we can approach this maaseh on its merits and not go with an idea, “Why did he have to be so critical?!” etc.
The talmidim of those days were extraordinarily special and only wanted to do what would bring nachas to their Rebbe who they admired immensely.