Adar 5761 – Perceiving Hashem’s Blessing In This World

1 Adar 5761

From the Desk of: Rabbi Betzalel Borstein

Dear Talmidot,

How well do we perceive the blessings that surround us? Do we recognize the things that Hashem has done for us as individuals (comfortable place to live, good friends etc) and as a nation? (Medinat Yisrael, tremendous centers for Torah learning, etc)

“Re-ay Ah-nochi No-ten liphneychem Ha-yom bracha U-kllala” (Devarim 11:26) The Kotzker Rebbe asks – Why is the word “re-ay” written in the singular form, while the word “liphneychem” is plural? Both should be plural or singular? The answer is that a bracha isn’t obvious. It is left to each individual to recognize something as a bracha. Some people will be shown (Re-ay!) the greatest blessing, and scarcely notice it.

Clearly it is the responsibility of the individual to see Hashem’s blessing in the world, so why is it that some have the insight necessary to see a bracha while other people do not? Perhaps the person who can see Hashem’s blessing, has mastered the ability to focus on the beauty in his life. He knows that the only way to stem the tendency to simply live life without appreciating it, is to concentrate on the “little things”.

Everyone has heard of the famous story of how Rabbi Akiva began to learn Torah. He passed by a stream and he saw how the droplets of water were boring a hole in a stone. Upon seeing this he realized that if water succeeded in penetrating a stone, surely Torah could penetrate his head. Imagine for a moment the number of people who passed by this stone daily. How many of these people had a life changing experience because of what they observed?! Probably only those who had learned to appreciate life and to focus on the blessings around them. Failing to recognize the tremendous blessings that surround us may stunt our spiritual progress.

When Moshe announced that the hail that would fall on Mitzrayim would only kill those animals and people left in the fields (Shemot 9:19), the Torah describes two reactions of the Egyptians. The “Yareh Dvar Hashem” – the one who feared the word of Hashem brought his animals and servants inside and they were spared. The “Asher Lo Sam Libo” – the one who didn’t take the warning to heart, who ignored it, who refused to focus on what was happening around him, he left his animals and servants in the fields and they were killed. Those that do not fear Hashem are referred to as “Asher Lo Sam Libo” – they simply refuse to see what to other people is obvious.

Adar is a time of joy!! It’s a month that teaches us that even when things appear to be terrible Hashem will protect us. To feel joy, even in difficult times, we must focus on that fact. To feel happy and content is to recognize that we ALL are blessed!

Rabbi Betzalel Borstein