Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Punishment of Debt

Art: Maryana Beletskaya
If the Torah were written in order, we would know the precise reward and punishment for each commandment.

There are sins whose punishment is debt. [See Likutey Halachos (Choshen Mishpat) Gevias Chov MeYesomim 2]

One who is punished for such a sin is constantly in debt. All the merit in the world does not erase his punishment. He can do every possible good; still he must remain a debtor. These sins can even cause others to fall into debt. When such transgressions become common, there are many debtors in the world.

The (tikkun) remedy for this is to repent in general for all your sins. Even though you do not know what sin is causing these debts, repent in general and ask G-d to also save you from this particular sin. In times like these, it is very difficult for a religious person to have wealth. To obtain riches, one must lower himself very greatly. But even if he abandons the way of devotion, there is no guarantee of wealth, for even the wicked man can be poor. But if one is truly religious, then he is always far from riches.

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When the Temple was destroyed, all wealth left the core and fell into the realm of the evil husks (klipot). It is written [Lamentations1:9] "And she fell with wonders". "Wonders" in Hebrew is PeLAIM. Reverse the letters and you have ALaPHIM, the thousands of wealth. We then read the verse: "And the thousands fell". The thousands of wealth have fallen with wonders. They have fallen so deeply, it is a wonder. If one covets these thousands, then he too must fall with them. But even then he is not sure of riches.

Therefore, it is very difficult for a truly religious person to become wealthy. There are some rich Tzaddikim, but their wealth causes them great difficulty and keeps them from G-d. And though they seem wealthy, they still do not have the ready millions of the irreligious. For true wealth and G-dliness are not found together.

My grandfather, Rebbe Nachman Horodenker ob"m once spoke on the verse [Prov. 3:16] "Long life is in her right hand, and in her left, wealth and honour." The Talmud asks if this means that the right hand of Wisdom can provide only long life, but not wealth and honour. It answers that long life is there, and more certainly wealth and honour.

My grandfather explained that this wealth can be logically derived from the verse, but is not actually there. It is fitting that the righteous have wealth, but it is not actually theirs."

Source: "Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom" by Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov

1 comment:

  1. Sicha of the Rebbe, Parshas Teruma 5752

    A Jew is in essence rich and his inner spiritual wealth should be reflected in actual material wealth. If this is not openly apparent, this is only because G-d desires that a Jew reveal this wealth through his efforts, that he transform the darkness of the world into light. This in turn will draw down an abundance of Divine blessing into the world.

    The above is particularly true in the present time, when the Jewish people have completed all the spiritual tasks demanded of them and all that is necessary is to actually accept Mashiach. At this time, each and every member of the present generation, the last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption, is surely worthy of abundant material wealth.

    This leads to a practical directive: Each Jew should seek to obtain wealth, spiritual wealth as our Sages stated, "There is no concept of wealth other than knowledge," and also actual material wealth. The latter will, as the Rambam explains, enable one to devote oneself to the study of Torah and the observance of mitzvos in a more complete manner. Similarly, one will be able to donate more generously to tzedakah, including the tzedakah given for the construction of synagogues and houses of study.

    sichosinenglish.org/sichos

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