You are here
PIRKEI AVOS - ETHICS OF THE FATHERS
From the first Sabbath after Pesach and throughout the summer months, until the Sabbath before Shavuos, we study one of the six chapters of “Ethics of the Fathers.”
SHABBOS MEVORCHIM - BLESSING THE NEW MONTH
This Shabbos we celebrate the upcoming month of Iyar which is an acronym for “Ani HaShem Rofecha - I am the L-rd your Healer.” May all those in need of a speedy recovery be granted healing this month. The New Month is celebrated on Sunday and Monday.
PARSHAS SHEMINI - CONNECTING WITH G-D
Very often, we hear people express a secret wish: If only I could download a miracle; if only G-d could help me; if only I could connect with Him. Well, the truth is that we can connect with the Almighty. As a matter of fact, He is waiting for us to call. As for His miracles - they are all about us if only we had the vision to see them.
In this week’s portion, we discover how to make that direct call to G-d, and we see this theme running throughout the parsha: “And Moses said, “This is the thing that HaShem has commanded you to do - then the glory of HaShem will appear to you”(Leviticus, 9:6). If we wish to have a connection with G-d, if we wish for Him to respond to our prayers; if we truly desire those miracles, then we have to do that which G-d commanded. There is nothing revolutionary about this concept - it is only logical, but somehow, this simple truth seems to elude us, for while we profess belief in G-d, we also want to follow our own inclinations and we fail to comply with His commands. We convince ourselves that it doesn’t matter to G-d what we do, so long as we are happy with ourselves and our hearts are in the right place. So the Torah specifically states that, if you wish the glory of G-d to appear to you, then you have to do that which G-d has commanded.
In our interaction with people, we understand this - for example, were you to hold open house on Sunday afternoon from one to five, and someone barged in on you on Monday morning, saying, “This is a more convenient time for me to visit,” you would be furious, and rightly so, and yet, too often, that is exactly what we do in our relationship with G-d. We choose to ignore His wishes; we indulge our own desires and expect Him to be pleased.
Toward the end of the parsha, we find yet another dimension to this concept of fulfilling the will of G-d that we would all do well to remember and act upon. Aaron asks a question that it behooves all of us to ask: “Would HaShem approve?” (Leviticus 10:14)
Normally, after performing a mitzvah, the paramount question to ask is “Did I perform the mitzvah in accordance with halacha - the letter of the law? But Aaron the High Priest, went yet a step further. He understood that, not only must we fulfill the mitzvah according to G-d’s law, but we must do so in a manner that will be pleasing to our Creator. This teaching applies to every aspect of our lives - before making decisions, before taking any steps, ask yourself that simple, but piercing question: “Would HaShem approve? Is this the way G-d would want me to live? Would He be pleased with my actions? Would He approve of my thoughts, my words?
If we learn to do this, then our relationship with G-d will not be based strictly on obligation, but rather, on love. A child who truly loves his parents would desire to please them and give them naches. Should we not desire to give our Heavenly Father naches? Should we not express our love for Him?
So if we wish to connect with G-d...if we wish to download miracles and have His glory bless us, we need only follow His commandments, fulfill them as He proscribed and go the extra mile and ask, “Is the manner in which I am performing the mitzvos pleasing to my Creator, my G-d?”