MARCH 9-10. 2007 20 ADAR 5767
“Behold they are a stiff-necked people” (Shemot 32:9)
As we review our perashah this week we learn about the sin of the golden calf. This is truly a sad episode in our history. This sin was so serious that Hashem wanted to destroy the Jewish people. Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, shlita, notes (as quoted in Torah Lada’at) that when Hashem wished to destroy the people, He did not say, because they worshipped the golden calf, but rather, because Israel was a stiff-necked people. The reason for this is that the underlying problem that would hinder any sincere repentance was their stubborn nature. And since they would never properly repent, Hashem would have destroyed them, has veshalom, had Moshe not interceded on their behalf.
Rav Sternbuch writes that he once heard from the Hazon Ish z”l, that when a prospective shiduch is suggested, the first matter to clarify is if the other party has a stubborn disposition, for this is the one personality trait which can have the most damaging effect on a marriage. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
The Gemara tells us that the Evil Inclination (Yeser Hara) works in a slow, methodical manner. First he tells a person to transgress something minor. When the person violated that minor transgression and got over it, the "Yeser hara" tries a more substantial act until ultimately, the person can be convinced to worship idols.
Here in the perashah, we see an exception to this rule. The Jewish people had accepted the Torah on Mount Sinai just 40 days ago and now they were dancing around a Golden Calf. How could they fall so quickly to do such a grave transgression? R' Hayim Shmuelevitz Z"l says that the Yeser Hara has to work slowly only when a person is in good spirits. If a person is depressed, however, then the Evil Inclination can get him to do the worst sin in the slightest amount of time. Here, the Jewish people thought that Moshe Rabenu had died, and got into a deep depression. Therefore, they were able to commit an act of idol worship without going through the slow process of deterioration.
We must always be vigilant of this principle and try our best to stay in good spirits. When things start getting us down, we should do whatever we can to bounce back into our regular self either by talking to others, listening to the right music or going places that will bring us more happiness. By maintaining our spirits properly, we can have both our physical and spiritual health in the best shape possible. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
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