Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Amazing Hesped

We only speak words about the נפטר in the presence of the נפטר, is the simple translation of the words of חז''ל that we quoted. A deeper interpretation could be: we should only speak about the lessons this noble נפטרת taught us. In other words, “the words which the נפטרת herself is speaking to us”.

In משנה תורה, משה רבינו reviews all the different experiences that בני ישראל experienced during his tenure as the מנהיג of בני ישראל and the lessons that משה רבינו wants בני ישראל to derive and internalize. This is the מוסר ספר which the Great Rebbe wants בני ישראל to live by.

In this week’s סדרא, משה discusses the experience of the מן. משה says הקב''ה pained you and hungered you and fed you the מן….למען ענותך לנסתך “to pain you and test you”. The חפץ חיים says that here משה reveals that the objective of every pain in life is to test a person. It is obvious that a “test” from הקב''ה is not like a test as we know it i.e. to know where a person is holding or what the person knows, because הקב''ה knows a person without giving him the test. The correct understanding of a test by הקב''ה must be a means of bringing out a persons potential to actuality and thereby elevating the person to a loftier and more meaningful state of existence.(עי' במדבר כא' פסוק ח' ושים אותו על ''נס'' שפירושו דבר גבוה וא''כ פי' נסיון הוא שמגביה את האדם למקום ומדרגה יותר גבוה.(

In this פרשה where the general purpose of נסיונות is revealed we must search and find the more specific guidelines for every נסיון and the keys to utilize these intense “courses in purposeful living”, properly. The גמ' explains that the pain and hunger mentioned in the פרשה is not referring to the hunger before בני ישראל received the מן, rather, to the whole time that בני ישראל actually received and lived on the מן. (Then the question arises what is so painful about having sufficient amount of food that tastes as tasty as one could imagine, delivered fresh daily to your doorstep?) The painful elements of the מן were that one could never create for himself the feeling of security that he has provisions for tomorrow. If someone in the דור המדבר wouldn’t humble himself to completely be reliant on הקב''ה then the worry of what will be tomorrow would never allow him a single peaceful night of sleep. Secondly, although the מן nourished and satiated in the most perfect way, the external appearance of מן was completely untempting and its endless benefit was completely invisible. Someone in the דור המדבר who was rooted in the external superficial level of life was living in constant deprivation and continuous unsatisfaction.

So this is the nature of every נסיון on the surface it looks very bad and one feels completely inadequate to create for himself a way to deal with the situation. One lives with the constant worry of how will I persevere and continue to live on.

Here also lies the secret to utilizing נסיונות successfully. Disregard the external appearance and connect to the hidden good that definitely exists in the deeper levels of spiritual and eternal living. Trust totally in הקב''ה the ultimate טוב ומטיב that he will provide the ability to overcome and utilize your נסיון and that each נסיון is delivered to the exact address of the person who is destined to rise to the lofty and transcendental calling of meaningful spiritual life.

נחמה ליבא ע''ה lived a life that spoke, or better said, yelled this potent and timeless message with the utmost eloquence of expression. On the superficial level her life was one big tragedy. At the tender age of five she began suffering in a terminal illness with constant pain and frustration. She was never able to enjoy the carefree fun filled years of youth being always inhibited by the restraints of her frail and precarious physical state. Maybe one could have hoped that one day she would be healthy and then we would forget, forgive and move on. But that hope was also smashed with her untimely death days before her 11th birthday.

Yet נחמה who had a mature mind and was well aware of what she didn’t have lived with a smile cemented on her face. She could have wrapped herself in a well justified cocoon of self pity, yet she lived in the most generous and selfless way. Always sensitive to her caregivers, never to be a burden and even figuring out ways of being helpful to others and generating an atmosphere of happiness and serenity to everyone she came in contact with.

The “words” of this noble נפטרת were everything we said and more. So like משה רבינו ,as he prepared for his departure, made an effort to coax בנ''י to undertake a course in life centered on faith in הקב''ה and driven by a continuous search to uncover the veil of superficial vanity and tap into the wellsprings of רוחניות and חיים נצחיים. As we depart from this noble נפטרת we must make sure that her message is heard, that her suffering should not be in vain and that her legacy will guide us forever. Reviewing her life from her point of view we say she wasn’t inhibited in her ability to live carefree. She was crowned with the mission to teach us the deeper meaning in life. She knew she was on a mission and that gave her the ability to conduct herself so beautifully in spite of her external difficulty.

She wasn’t untimely torn away from life. She was never intended to loiter in this world longer than was necessary to speak her “words” and then go to a place where one doesn’t have to live with endless veils and obstructions. She moved on to the world of clarity and truth where she belonged.

(See Artscroll Siddur נוסח ספרד in the ר''ח מוסף) Every month has a different צירוף of Hashem’s name. When the letters of the שם are in order it symbolizes רחמים. When they are not in order they symbolize the opposite. The first two letters correspond to עולם הבא the world of מחשבה, Hashem’s thoughts and plan. The last two letters correspond to עולם הזה, עולם המעשה, Hashems thoughts being actual. The month of אב the שם is (ה-י / י-ה) the first half is not in order, the second is. That means from טו' באב begins a הנהגה of רחמים where הקב''ה is planning to be מטיב. In the physical world עולם המעשה it is the exact opposite of טו' בשבט. On טו' בשבט the sap for new production begins to flow into the trees. On טו' באב the sap for production and life begins to reduce. Yet it is a happy day (עי'משנה סוף תענית) because on a deeper level in the world of מחשבה, הקב''ה is planning a new and better growth and therefore he must dismantle the old to enable the new. What we see in עולם המעשה (עולם הזה) is the opposite of what it really is in עולם הבא. This is a process which coincides with 7 weeks of נחמה for the חורבן and צער. It is the understanding that הקב''ה is always חושב מחשבות only to be מטיב in a bigger and more perfect way. One is מתאבל with great sorrow on the חורבן contemplating the magnitude and severity of אידישע צרות during the first half of the month. Only then it becomes fulfilled the words of חז''ל: כל המתאבל על ירושלים זוכה ורואה בנחמתה. This intense meditation of the 1st of the month forces one to the only possible conclusion that all אידישע צרות are only a preparation for better happier perfect days.

The example that is used in the Torah and חז''ל to exemplify the love that הקב''ה has for us is כרחם אב על בנים. That must be the greatest possible, the most real and endless love that exists in the world. Then the pain and anguish that is induced by the loss of a child is the greatest pain that exists. Then no words can soothe, no speeches can alleviate.

Only the knowledge that we are בנים לה' and every אידישא child that is lost means that Hashem lost a child. That the pain of parents suffering the loss of a child means הקב''ה watching his children suffer, yet הקב''ה who is completely in control allows and causes it to happen, may help us look beyond and connect to the idea that

כל מה דעביד רחמנא לטב עביד. הקב''ה is constantly losing בנים in “natural” and violent humanly caused ways. We are forced to concede that there is something so great and perfect that will come out of all this suffering that it makes it worth the investment.

You as parents have risen to very great heights in בטחון and אמונה during this lengthy and extremely intense נסיון. I always felt small when I came to the hospital and watched you perform. You weren’t uninvolved or detached from the situation. You were fully aware of every detail and conscious of the constant imminent danger נחמה was in. Yet you remained calm and level headed making every possible השתדלות from the medical and רוחניותדיגר angle. You never let an experienced doctors prognosis to intervene with your wholehearted trust in הקב''ה’s ability to change לילה to יום.

So I’ll share a thought that entered my mind as I said תהילים by the מטה of נחמה while we waited for the לוי'ה to commence in ירושלים. על זאת יתפלל כל חסיד אליך לעת מצא רק לשטף מים רבים אליו לא יגיעו(תהילים לב פסוק ו'). A חסיד prays that during an עת מצא he should not be inundated with a flow of מים רבים. The גמרא in .ברכות ח gives one interpretation of לעת מצא to mean the time of קבורה (בפשטות מיירי בקבורת האדם עצמו). Maybe aפשט could be that during the time when someone ח''ו is קובר a loved one he could be attacked by a flow of מים הזידונים i.e. thoughts of תרעומות or doubts in the power of תפילה, ה' ישמרנו. A חסיד is מתפלל always that the נסיונות which are given to elevate a person should not ח''ו have a negative effect. May ה' help us to continue to live with אמונה and to take the “words” of נחמה ליבא to their fullest interpretation and through that be מזכה the whole כלל ישראל to an end for all אידישא צרות to a time that the נביא promises

ומחה ה' דמעה מעל כל פנים.


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My Goal is to post at least 2x per week on Sunday and Wednesday.