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Small Prophecies

Loving Kindness
Avrohom Avinu’s Gift to the World
By Rav Moshe Shternbuch

At the Shabbos Table with Rabbi Juravel
By Rabbi Dovid Juravel
Hashem reprimanded Avrohom for Sarah’s having laughed upon hearing the malachim’s prediction that she would bear a son. Why was Avrohom held accountable for Sarah’s laughing? Rav Yisroel Salanter zt”l offers the following moshol. Someone visited a home and noticed that there was carelessness with regard to kashrus. His first intuition was to blame the husband, because he was the one who set the standards. Likewise, Avrohom set the standards in emunah. Therefore, if there was a seeming surprise on the part of Sarah, Avrohom was held accountable. Rav Chaim Brisker zt”l was a small child when his melamed brought him to the Slonimer Rebbe. The Rebbe gave the young child an apple and young Chaim took a bite from it without saying a bracha. The melamed began to reprimand his young talmid. The Rebbe said to the melamed, “It’s your fault, because you are his rebbi.” To which the young Chaim interjected, “Then it’s your fault, because you are his rebbi!” In a certain city in Europe, the custom was for the rich people to make their simchos in the town square, while the poor people would make their simchos in the shul. Once, a poor shoemaker inherited a fortune, and very soon after, he made a chasunah in the town square. One rich man was unhappy with the shoemaker’s sudden rise to riches. As the baal simcha was leading his son down to the chupah, the unhappy rich man approached him holding a torn shoe and said cynically, “How much do you charge to fix this?” The baal simcha was very humiliated. When Rav Yisroel Salanter heard of this incident, he said, “I’m sure that the gedolim of the last generation are being called to the Bais Din Shel Ma’alah to be asked, ‘Why didn’t you teach proper behavior?’” Likewise, when a principal tests a class on their knowledge of the material they learned, the rebbi is usually scared. The rebbi understands that it is really he who is being tested on how well he taught. Hashem said, “I love Avrohom, because he teaches his children the way of Hashem.” May we all merit this. ••••• To have Rabbi Juravel speak at your function, call 646.320.3125.

The following was written by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis based on a drasha given by Rav Moshe Shternbuch, Rosh Av Beis Din of the Eidah Hachareidis of Yerushalayim. •••••

Avrohom Avinu was the paradigm of chesed, as Chazal tells us, “Chesed L’ Avrohom.” Every day of his life was filled with acts of kindness. Avrohom taught the Jewish people the importance of this attribute and its crucial place in serving Hashem properly. Klal Yisroel has continued to follow Avrohom Avinu’s example throughout history. Acts of kindness have been a hallmark for the Jewish people. In every generation, Jews have excelled in chesed, even when they did not have for themselves. There was one time in our history when the mitzvah of chesed was seemingly impossible. For the forty years that the Jews were living in the midbar, Hashem took care of all of our physical needs. How did

Hashem is the source of all kindness. Every day, the Almighty showers chesed on each person, taking care of all of their needs. By performing chesed, Avrohom Avinu was following in the ways of Hashem. At times, we experience the Almighty’s attribute of strict justice. During these periods, it is difficult to see the chesed behind the din. We might be tempted to think that He has changed His ways and chas veshalom abandoned His attribute of chesed. One such incident took place during the Holocaust. A group of prisoners in a concentration camp was slated to be taken to their death. One of the members of the group stated that he could keep davening but he could no longer say the bracha, “He takes care of all of my needs.” There seemed to be a consensus among the group that this man was correct, until one of the other prisoners stood up and interjected. “Hashem is taking care of all of our needs, even in this most dire situation,” he said. The other members of the group were inspired by this man’s emunah and agreed that even at this time the Almighty was watching over them.

“Then it’s your fault, because you are his rebbi!”

The Alter of Norvadork compared this world to an expensive hotel. A person can order as much as he wants and seemingly does not have to pay a cent. Only at the end

If a person makes himself crucial for the running of the world by constantly doing acts of chesed for others, he will not be held accountable for what he took from this world.
we have an opportunity to do chesed with each other? A person can do chesed without spending a cent. Teaching others Torah and guiding them on the proper path of serving the Almighty is the greatest act of kindness that one can do for his fellow Jew. This enabled Klal Yisroel to perform chesed while in the midbar. Hashem put Jewish neshamos in this world with the exalted task of serving their Creator. Unfortunately, this fact is unknown to most Jews today, and most of Klal Yisroel is estranged from Torah and mitzvos. The greatest chesed that a person can do for another Jew is to bring them to a life of Torah. of the meal does a bill come, charging him in full for everything he ordered. So too, a person can take whatever pleasures from this world that he desires. However, he should remember that he will be charged. When he gets to the next world, a full accounting will be made. Rav Yisroel Salanter zt”l said that there is a way that one can bypass these charges. Although the workers in the hotel may not eat, the staff members who are crucial for running the establishment will get their meals free. So too, if a person makes himself crucial for the running of the world by constantly doing acts of chesed for others, he will not be held accountable for what he took from this world. Avrohom Avinu taught the entire world the importance of chesed. Happy are his descendants who follow in his path, whose lives are filled with acts of kindness. May his merit stand up for us and bring us to the final redemption soon. ••••• Rav Shternbuch’s shiurim on the parsha are being prepared to be published by Feldheim Publishers as a sefer entitled “Small Prophecies.” For information about dedication opportunities, contact dytravis@ ••••• Rabbi Travis is a rosh kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim in Yerushalayim, and is the author of Shaylos U’Teshuvos Toras Chaim and “Praying With Joy - A Daily Tefilla Companion,” a practical daily guide to improving one’s prayers, available from Feldheim Publishers. For more information about his work, contact dytravis@actcom. com.

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Rav Moshe Shneider zt”l, Rav Shternbuch’s rosh yeshiva in London, obligated older students to study with the younger and weaker talmidim at least two hours a week. This way, even while learning in yeshiva, bochurim would have an opportunity to do chesed. Rav Shneider would say that without chesed, one cannot succeed in Torah learning. What do acts of kindness have to do with success in Torah? Although a Jew must follow in the Almighty’s ways, there is no set amount regarding how much to give. Chesed is a sign of nedivus, acting for the sake of Hashem without obligation. In order to acquire Torah, a person must have siyata diShmaya and find favor in the Almigty’s eyes. The way to do this is through chesed. Acts of kindness to others cause Hashem, middah kineged middah, to respond to him with the ultimate chesed of giving one the gift of Torah. 19 Cheshvan 5770 • November 6 2009

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