Thursday, April 7, 2011

Potentially Great

וְאִם דַּל הוּא "And if he is poor" [Metzora 14:21]
[Written by Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein]

The offerings of a wealthy man and that of a poor man, remarked the Chofetz Chaim, are not equal.  A wealthy man brings an offering in accord with his wealth, while a poor man brings an offering that is within his means.

The Mishnah is Maseches Nega'im states that a wealthy metzora who brings a poor man's offering does not fulfill his obligation with that offering.

The same thing applies, said the Chofetz Chaim, to a Jew's spirituality.  A person must put forth the utmost effort when it comes to serving Hashem, and he must utilize the potential that Hashem has granted him.  For example, Hashem demands much more from a talmid chacham than from someone who is ignorant in Torah learning.  Each individual must harness his own potential and level to its maximum.

There are times when you pray or study Torah and you think to yourself:  "I may not be totally focused during my prayers and learning, but compared to my friend, I am far superior."

This is a grave error.  The friend may fall into the category of a spiritually "poor man" - perhaps he never learned how to pray properly; perhaps he has worries that gnaw at his peace of mind; or perhaps the friend does not possess the same intellectual capabilities that you do.

Your friend's deeds may appear inferior to your own, but Hashem, Who knows and understands the hearts of every man, sees that your friend is praying and studying Torah to the best of his ability, thereby satisfying that which is required of him.  It may very well be that it is you who are the inferior one!

Reb Zusha was on his death bed, and tears were streaming down his face. "Why are you crying?" asked his disciples. "If God asks me why I wasn't like Moses or Maimonides," answered Reb Zusha, "I'll say, I wasn't blessed with that kind of leadership ability and wisdom.

"But I'm afraid of another question" continued Reb Zusha, "what if God asks: Reb Zusha, why weren't you like Reb Zusha? Why didn't you find your inner being and realize your inner potential? Why didn't you find yourself? That is why I am crying."

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