TODAY'S MESSAGE IS DEDICATED
IN MEMORY OF
ABRAHAM BEN ROSA A'H
BY EDDIE AND HELEN SHAMAH & FAMILY
Maimonides, in Hilchot Teshubah [The Laws Of Repentance, chap 7, law 3], explains that the sins of poor character traits, which do not even involve a deed, are far worse than sins that involve doing an act that transgresses the will of G-d. The question is: "How come the Torah did not command openly regarding the good character traits a person must develop to qualify as a true Torah observer?"
In his classic work Shaare Kedusha, the great Mekubal Rav Haim Vital Zt'l deals with this problem in depth from the standpoint of Kabbalah. We can understand the essence of his reply on a simple level through a parable.
A rich man went to contract with a builder on a magnificent0 multi-story mansion-like condominium building in an exclusive resort. The legalities attended to in a formal fashion through their respective attorneys, the excavation was begun. Shortly thereafter the builder approached the client with a bill for excavation and laying of the foundation for several hundred thousand dollars--over and above the price agreed to in the contract. His claim was based on the fact that he said the foundation was not included in the price. The client shocked and angered asked, "Did you ever build a building without a foundation? How did you expect such a tall structure to stand? Of course it is included in the total price!"
Even one who has never built a building knows that a structure needs a foundation and the taller the building the more solid and deep the foundation must be. In order to build a life of Torah observance one needs a foundation. That foundation is not made of concrete and steel it consists of a person's character traits. A person must dig deep to excavate and remove the weak and negative traits with which one was born and then fill in the character with positive traits of a refined personality. Only then will one be able to hold up the very tall superstructure--our holy Torah.
May we all succeed in this difficult task as we prepare ourselves for another year of Torah study and each of us should work on making our learning a matter of behaviorial progress. Everyone should try to develop into a Torah personality - a person of sterling character and fine manners.
DID YOU KNOW THAT
We have the custom to stay awake all night on the 7th day of Succot? (This year it is tonight Tuesday Oct 2nd) The day is called Hoshannah Rabbah. It is the day that the heavenly messengers are handed the decrees sealed on Yom Kippur and instructed to carry out the verdicts. We have the custom to read the entire book of Tehillim interspersed with Selihot prayers. Tehillim were chosen because in the Kabalistic delineation of the specific forces for each day of the holiday --this is the day of King David, the primary author of the Tehillim. We invoke his power to bring mercy upon us to prevent any bad decrees from being carried out. Also note that King David never slept more than 60 breaths. He always spent the night singing praises to Hashem. We stay awake in order to invoke G-d's mercy in the merit of David at this crucial time.[Source Ta-amay Ha-minhagim]
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