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Shabbat Parashat Noach| 5771

Ein Ayah: The Point of Repeated Requests

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:79)

Gemara: If a person sees that he prayed and was not answered, he should pray again, as the pasuk says: “Turn with hope to Hashem, strengthen and fortify your heart, and turn with hope to Hashem” (Tehillim 27:14).

 

Ein Ayah: The goal of prayer and thereby attaining one’s requests is primarily to actualize a certain level of shleimut (completeness), thus increasing one’s spiritual power in different manners. The ways a person’s grasp of the holy can increase are broad and can come in endless, detailed nuances.

Hashem, who created the world and knows all secrets knows what spiritual element is missing in each soul and correspondingly prepares for each person a means of self-improvement. This includes improvement by having one lack something for which he will have to pray. Sometimes it takes multiple prayers before the person develops the spiritual level he needs and so Hashem delays accepting his prayer so that he can work on the matter through additional prayer. Thus, one whose prayer was not answered should not give up hope but should continue praying. After all, Hashem can always bring salvation, and He plans to give a person the best prospects for the future.

It is human nature that when one makes efforts toward a certain goal and is not successful, his heart weakens. However, if he realizes that every step he takes brings him closer to the goal, just that many efforts are required, he will be strengthened and encouraged to continue working. Thus one should turn with hope, which is the shleimut itself and the goal of the efficacy of prayer in the first place. The more he turns to Hashem, the closer he becomes, which is the strengthening of the heart, and thus he should poise himself to continue.

 

Religious Act Vs. Charity

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:81)

 

Gemara: A fast day is greater than charity, for the former involves the body and the latter involves money.

 

Ein Ayah:  It is hard to overestimate the value of mitzvot between people, as one benefits from their “fruit” in this world and gets full payment in the world to come. Yet, mitzvot involving Hashem have certain advantages over mitzvot between people. The foundation of service of Hashem is to bring one closer to the Divine, reaching a climax with the idea of becoming attached to His ways, besides the good deeds that one performed to get there. A person’s nature can become straight, enabling him to do many good deeds, including acts of kindness to his fellow man.

When a person distances himself from service of Hashem, he will draw closer to materialism and animalistic behavior and eventually will curtail his acts of charity and kindness. Therefore, an act of charity, if not done for the right reasons, is just an individual good deed. If he does not act to separate himself from materialism, he is liable to end up doing many regrettable things, following bad characteristics without the knowledge of Hashem in his heart. Therefore, we prefer the act that increases fear of Hashem in his heart, which is the foundation of ethical behavior.

In this way, fasting, which helps remove a person’s animalistic tendencies and sanctify him from desires, can mold a personality more than an individual act of kindness. That is what the gemara means by the distinction between involving the body (i.e., personality), as opposed to one’s money (i.e., an external, individual act). Also, if in the course of doing an act of kindness one breaks dictates of the Torah or of modesty, his charity turns into a sin, as his infractions can bring on many bad results, including eventually, curtailing future acts of kindness. It is better to perform fewer acts but with fear of Hashem, which is pure and everlasting.   

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Dedication

This edition of Hemdat Yamim
is dedicated to the memory of
 George Weinstein,

Gershon ben
Yehudah Mayer,
a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land

 

and
R' Meir ben
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
o.b.m 

Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.

 

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