Wednesday, August 24, 2005

zeraim siyum speech

The 18th of Av was the Yartzheit. I am in Israel so the blogging
is difficult at best. Here is a draft of the speech which I gave at the Yartzheit Seuda here is Israel. I will post more about the Yartzheit and my Israel soon.
I made a siyum on Zeraim and friends learnt the other 5 sedarim.

Zeraim is interesting. Seemingly it has little practical application. Not only do I live in chutz laharetz but I am certainly not a farmer. I don't even like to garden and I have allergies. All this talk about produce, grain, wheat and threshing has little impact on my day to day life.In addition, there is 1 sticking point which, at the risk of being labeled cynical, I feel compelled to publicize. If there was an occupation which would conjure up the image of a hard working, back breaking, self depreciating job, I think a farmer would be it. It requires tremendous manual effort and the reward is uncertain at best.
There are a million steps and stages and it requires incredible patience. In addition, it is possible or even probable that outside influences can destroy part or all of your hard work. Too much sun, too little sun. Too much rain, too little rain. Drought, disease, insects, weather, flooding have a direct affect on the harvest. You can imagine the daily worrying on the part of the farmer. He never knows if his work from the last several months might be destroyed in as many minutes.
Now, imagine the delight,... the sheer joy, during harvesting season. After many months of toil and effort, he begins to see the fruits of his labor. Literally. Now imagine, he gets a letter in the mail, from the local government. It says that new rules are in effect and 10% goes to federal, 5% to the local county, 15% goes to the state. Another 2% has to be left for the poor as does anything that he neglected to pick up on his first time around. The good news is that 2% can be schlepped to Washington D.C for him to eat of his own food. It kinda sounds like my paycheck. Now, most people equate sailors with nivel peh but that was before our farmer got this letter in the mail. Now forgive me for appearing cynical, but we can imagine after all of his hard work, he has to take his weather surviving produce and divvy it up. This hardly seems fair considering all of this.
Yet, if we look at all of this from another perspective, perhaps we can make some sense of it. In a material world such as this one, we are commanded to do our hishtadlus. We need to put forth our sincerest effort. God gives us the tools to do so. We till the land, Day and night. Night and day. We work the soil with our bare hands and toil with our very souls. Till we have no strength left. We nurture and protect. We raise the produce from the ground up. Feverishly working and worrying until we start to see a bit of growth. We cultivate and pour our heart and souls until we see progress and on and on until harvesting time. The success is in Hashem's hands. We are a pawn in his hands. And soemtimes, a drought or flood destroys everything that we have worked towards. All the growth, the effort, the progress is all destroyed in one big swoop. All to teach us an important lesson, that we can't take for granted what Hashem gives us. it was never ours to begin with. We were charged with making the effort but success is in the hands of hashem. And for those crops that survive, we need to appreciate them and the chesed that comes along with it. And when hashem commands us to give a portion to the Kohen and a portion to the Levi and the ani, it is is his produce which we are divying up, not ours. All that we do take, is simply a chesed from above. So too with children. Nechama Liba was a gift from hashem for us to put in our full efforts but she was never ours to keep.
With the summer afoot and the Yartzheit rapidly approaching, our thoughts turn towards the events of last summer. There are strong feelings which well up inside. Among them are the feelings of pain, loss and shock. So much time has passed, yet the yearning, the sense of loss, does not diminish. Love for a child is never lost. The desire to see your child does not lessen. From where do we draw the strength? Upon what wellspring of energy can we draw? Where will we find the courage to move on?
We need look no further than the nifteres. Nechama Liba A"H lived each day knowing it might be her last. Her childlike innocence was a facade. It was nothing more than a protective shield around those she loved. She understood her predicament all too well. Her החיים שמחת wasn’t from ignorance rather it was a calculated and intentional effort to serve Hashem בשמחה regardless of the challenges that were thrown her way. No matter what the circumstances, Nechama always maintained her smile with her love of life. Just as she looked fear in the eye, we must do the same with our grief. She was determined to make the best out of each day regardless of her situation. She didn’t let it get in the way of what she needed to accomplish.
Learning Mishnayos for someone who has passed is the greatest zechus for their neshama. It has not equal not in kaddish nor in prayer. On behalf of my wife, and family, I thank you for this tremdous effort and I can't tell you how much it means to us. May it be a zechus for your entire families and for clal yisroel. Thank you.


Blogger cassidy77aurora said...

damn good blog, check out mine, comments always welcome!

9:53 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

no glen Thank you

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Shmuel said...

Enjoyed the summary on Zerayim... waiting to read your summary on Taharos.

11:19 AM  
Blogger bill said...

cool post...

9:18 PM  

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