HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein spoke on Tuesday night about the changes the new government has been making. “This government intends to issue decrees on ruchniyus, that Beis Yisrael should be like all the goyim,” the Rosh Yeshiva said. “It wants to issue decrees on many issues – on lomdei Torah, kashrus, giyur, and many other issues. There are askanim working on this but what are our zechuyos? Everything needs zechuyos.”
“The members of the government don’t understand that the entire zechus of the existence of Am Yisrael is only due to Taryag Mitzvos. And in truth, it was already written in sefarim that after the Churban Bayis Sheini, there was no country for Am Yisrael. Am Yisrael is divided and scattered among the nations, scattered throughout the world. There’s no state, everyone is in Galus, but yet we’ve endured for thousands of years. Can this be understood b’derech hateva?”
“And moreover, it’s written in Chovos HaLevavos (Sha’ar HaBechina, end of 85) that we see the hashgacha in Galus, that Am Yisrael have good lives, and at times, the lives of Jews are even better than the goyim. Rabbeinu Tam used to lend money to goyim with ribis. In Galus! Without a state! We suffer from decrees in Galus but we somehow continue to exist.”
“And throughout all the years of Galus there were decrees and there weren’t equal rights for Jews. Only later, in France, in the US, they began granting equal rights to the Jews. But in Russia, for example, before World War II, when the Russian government encompassed a huge part of the world, there were decrees on Jews. They decreed all types of decrees but the Jews were oisek b’Torah and held on! It’s not derech hateva [that Am Yisrael has endured]. This is the zechus of our existence – via hashgacha and a nes galui – without a country of our own.”
“Therefore now that we want these gezeiros to be eliminated, what should we do? Those who are issuing the decrees don’t understand it. We need zechuyos.”
“As it says for the Yamim Noraim – ‘Teshuva, tefilla, and tzedaka will eliminate the evil decree.’ We first need teshuvah on all the issues of ruchniyus: on Torah and on other things like tefillah, that we should daven with more kavana.”
“And teshuvah on Torah, we should add more Torah, another achievement in Torah! Another few minutes in Torah – each person according to their abilities. It’s possible to add something, even one more minute. It’s impossible to estimate what a minute of Torah is worth.”
“In Kelm, they spoke about the great benefits of answering Amen, that it’s impossible to estimate the sechar and what we gain by answering Amen just one time. The one word of Amen – what we earn from it and how it’s mashpia the upper worlds.”
“And teshuvah v’tefillah v’tzedaka remove the decree, only with zechuyos! And the yeshuah will come from zechuyos. Therefore each person should see what they can add, something in Torah, as much as possible. And by the way, it’s important to know that even aleph beis are divrei Torah. A melamed in cheder that teaches children aleph beis is mezakeh the rabim b’Torah because this is Torah, it’s the foundation for the future.”
“And for teshuvah, there are many sifrei mussar. If you find it boring it won’t influence you but there are many sifrei mussar that are interesting and will be mashpia, especially the well-known sefarim: Mesilas Yesharim, Chovos Halevavos, Shaarei Teshuvah and Orchos Tzadikim. And there are other sefarim, like Nefesh HaChaim but it’s a little more difficult. There are many sifrei mussar that provide chizzuk and they are a sure derech for success.”
“And tzedaka – it’s known that whoever gives a fifth to tzedaka will be successful and have a good and happy life. All the details about this are in the sefer Ahavas Chessed of the Chofetz Chaim. It’s tried and true that this leads to success and a happy life.”
“And there’s another sefer from the Chofetz Chaim, Toras HaBayis, which includes ways and eitzos how to be oseik b’Torah and how to utilize your time to minimize bittul Torah.
“And in general, it’s known that all the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim, the divrei mussar of the Chofetz Chaim are mashpia to an immeasurable extent. There are many sefarim like Shemiras Halashon, that apart from the halachos has another section about shemiras halashon with divrei chizzuk. There’s also the sefer Shem Olam, and many other sifrei mussar that the Chofetz authored that are all very mashpia.
“So we have eitzos to add zechuyos for a good and happy life, and b’ezras Hashem we’ll all be zocheh to be mechazeik with whatever needs chizzuk and be zocheh to whatever we need.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)