HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shternbuch delivered a chizzuk shiur at the famed Chevron Yeshivah in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood of Jerusalem on Tuesday.
HaRav Shternbuch began his remarks with an explanation of the avodah on Yom Kippur. “Every sin pollutes the neshamah and sullies it. The entire year, Hakadosh Baruch Hu only ‘forgives’ a person but on Yom Kippur, He not only forgives but also purifies our neshamah.”
HaRav Shternbuch then spoke about the painful question that preoccupies many people during these days – what’s the point if many people don’t end up fulfilling the kabbalos they accept on Yom Kippur? The Rav said in the name of the Chasam Sofer: “People are making a grave mistake when they only accept upon themselves kabbalos of ‘עשה טוב’ and not of ‘סור מרע.’ Since they don’t leave the aveiros behind, such as lashon hara and bittul Torah, they’re surrounded by a ruach of tumah and they don’t have siyata dishmaya to succeed in ‘עשה טוב.’ Therefore, the best way is to begin with ‘סור מרע’ and only afterward ‘עשה טוב.'”
HaRav Shternbuch then told over a story for the first time that he heard in his youth from HaGaon HaRav Eliyahu Lopian, z’tl. “In my youth, I heard from HaRav HaTzaddik Eliyahu Lopian, z’tl, that once on Friday night, the Chofetz Chaim called to all the talmidim and said to them: ‘This morning, when I said the bracha of ‘אלוקי נשמה,’ I was startled by the lashon of ‘ואתה עתיד ולהחזירה בי’ – that the lashon with the מפיק ה”א means that HaKadosh Baruch Hu will return the neshama to each person in the future exactly how he left it when he left Olam HaZeh. The tzurah of the neshama is different for each Jew according to the Torah he learned and the sins he committed, rachmanah litzlan. And a person’s neshama will remain in the same way that he left it after his years in Olam Hazeh – his neshama will remain that way forever without any change – and oiy to the person whose neshama will forever remain sullied.'”
HaRav Shternbuch also related how he remembers the laying of the cornerstone ceremony for the Chevron yeshivah building and how the Rosh Yeshivah, HaGaon HaRav Yechezkel Sarna, z’tl, said: ‘I see a thousand bochurim in my mind’s eye.'”
“There were those there who mocked him and thought that there would never be such a large number of bochurim,” HaRav Shternbuch reminisced. “But the truth is that he was ‘חכם הרואה את הנולד’ and now we see today that close to 2,000 bochurim learn in the yeshivah.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)