title.jpg (23972 bytes) subscribe

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues


"'And now, if you hearken well to Me and observe My covenant, you shall be to Me the most beloved treasure of all peoples, for Mine is the entire world. You shall be to Me a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the Children of Israel" (Shemos 19:5-6).

Rashi explains the words "And now" as an indication of change. Hashem told Moshe to explain to the Children of Israel that "until now it was difficult to serve Hashem because 'all beginnings are difficult.' However, from now on it will be sweet and pleasant for you."

Reb Moshe Feinstein ztvk"l used to say that one of the reasons that many of the generation of European Orthodox Jews who came to the United States lost their children to religion was because of a grave mistake they made in child education. Encountering the difficulties of being observant in "the New World," they raised their children with the dictate that "es iz shver tzu zein a Yid - It is difficult to be a Jew." They tried to implant in their children the willpower to serve Hashem even under trying conditions. While this may have worked in Europe, where things were basically hard for everyone anyway, it didn't work in America where the choice of living a difficult life as an observant Jew or living a life of "fun" as a non observant one was readily available for everyone.

Instead, what they should have shown their children, said Reb Moshe, was the beauty and thrill of serving Hashem and observing His mitzvahs. They should have emphasized the happiness and the spiritual and emotional tranquility the religious Jew has as opposed to the confusion and instability the non observant experiences. For example, spending Shabbos with the family brings countless blessings in this world which the Sabbath laborer misses out on - besides the reward and punishment in the World-to-Come.

Reb Moshe practiced what he preached. His children tell that before he would awake them to go to yeshiva, on the cold wintry mornings, he would put their clothes on the radiators to warm them up for a while so that they wouldn't dread getting out from under the warm blankets and thus associate yeshiva with suffering.

This is what Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to impress upon the Jews before He gave us the Torah. It may have been difficult at the beginning, but from now on it will be sweet and pleasant. The Torah brings blessings, spiritual and material, to all who adhere to it. King Shlomo wrote, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her; and happy is every one who holds her fast (Mishlei 3:17-18).

I often mention that Rabbi Grossman's Rabbi, the holy Rebbe of Leliv ztvk"l, promised that everyone who helps Migdal Ohr will see Hashem's blessings in his personal life. Many have attested to the truth of this promise and when Rabbi Grossman thanks them for their help they reply that it is they who are grateful to him. "I can show you, Rabbi," they declare, "that from the day I began contributing to Migdal Ohr, my business has prospered much more than before."

Yesterday, I received a very interesting phone call and, subsequently, an e-mail from a very excited new contributor to Migdal Ohr who gave a donation through our website (www.migdalohr.org). It reads as follows and no further comment is necessary.

Dear Rabbi,

I awakened 1.5 hours earlier than usual, and I happened to see an interview with Rabbi Grossman, concerning Migdal Ohr, on TV. Everything that was said rang true to me, concerning him and especially Hashem's blessings on those who help Migdal Ohr, very strongly as a matter of fact.

When I came to the office later that day, I suggested to my staff that we make a corporate donation... I suggested an amount to them, and they ran to do so without reservation. Thankfully my office is a good spiritual place with such people (one of my partners is a Kohain). Then I was shown, through one of my employees, what I should contribute, so we all did through the website. We then wrote down all of our names, awaiting Hashem's blessings, and placed them in the Torah.

That afternoon my staff informed me that my blessing already had arrived.

I had a medical laser go bad before the holidays last December, and It just didn't work (I am a podiatrist). It was a very expensive laser (several thousands of dollars!) that couldn't be fixed. I told the repair man to send it back anyway.

At 1:30 pm this same day, I was informed that he called and said that it was working. It only required a small repair - a fraction of the cost of another laser (only four hundred dollars!). Not only was this a financial blessing, but now my patients will benefit from the laser working.

I wrote my blessing in the paper, and we are awaiting news on everybody else. I felt as if Hashem was telling me, "Wait and see, with this small amount you have donated, what I will do for you.... that you will want to give even more."

We give because of our hearts and what is right, and of course want His blessings. I'm glad I was given this Mitzvah and hope many good things will come to you, and that I will have more good stories to tell you.

Shalom, James

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel