Monday, February 11, 2019

Favoritism in Heaven is Acquired Down Here


by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto


"You shall make vestments of sanctity for Aharon" [Tetzaveh 28:2]

Going about our daily life, we encounter many different sorts of people. There are the successful ones and the ones who constantly fail; those who are energetic and those who take life easy. There are people who are greatly respected and those who are less valued. There are also people who have 'connections' - children of important personalities or famous askanim; they are the ones who can resolve almost any predicament, with minimum time and effort…

This latter group is in a special category; everything falls into place for them almost by itself - they find work easily, they have friends in all the right places, they are accepted in the best educational institutions, and in the Beit Haknesset too they are accorded all the honors. The cherry on the cake is that when they need to deal with an issue in a government office, or sort out a problem with the local council they enjoy special treatment; lengthy procedures are carried out with alacrity and in a most efficient manner and they also receive all kinds of benefits…

But in heaven, Rabbi Osher Kovlesky shlita enlightens us, there is no such thing. All people are considered equal and are judged according to their deeds alone. Benefits are bestowed on those who have earned the merit. But there is nevertheless one group, a special 'elite' group, whose members do enjoy special reprieve in heaven. They are dealt with lightly, processes are shortened for them, they are assisted in closing their case, and their sins are bypassed. They automatically merit lenient treatment, not down in this world but in heaven – the place where it matters the most…

How does one join this club? It is open to one and all. One's country of origin makes no difference, nor does one's financial status. Those who enjoy special benefits in heaven, those who merit efficient service in the most valuable place - are those who give in to others, those who show submission. They behave with restraint, know how to defer to others and to be flexible and they know how to yield even when they truly deserve something.

Chazal have revealed a wonderful concept: "המעביר על מידותיו" – one who yields and doesn’t take a stand over offenses that were done to him, "he is forgiven for all his sins" – he merits heavenly assistance to fully repent. His repentance is given priority, he is treated with reprieve when seeking to erase debts and sins, and the focus is on judging his merits.

But one moment, how can this be? In heaven, nothing is overlooked. Heaven reckons every word that comes out of our mouths and every sight that we gaze at; a careful note of our every deed is recorded, "for all these things G-d will call you to account" [Kohelet 11:9]?

This is certainly correct - if we too behave according to the strict law and we are most particular about everything that others do to us! But, if we know how to yield and we are prepared to behave beyond the strict letter of the law, then in heaven we will merit the same attitude: we will be rewarded with abundant merits which will glide over our sins.

In this parsha we are told about the garments of the kohanim, the special clothing that Ahron and his sons wore. Aharon HaKohen "loved peace and pursued peace". This was his essence. He was a person who exuded peace and went out of his way to make peace between others and to increase peace and brotherhood. One of the most effective tools for increasing peace and friendship is to adopt the trait of giving way, to forgo and forfeit. We should firmly resolve that we are prepared to flee from all strife and peace is our priority, even if this means forgoing in any way.

The next time someone takes our place in the line, or takes advantage of us in any way for example by blocking our air or light, or parking in our private space – we can be right and make sure that he doesn’t get away with it, but it is much more worth it to be clever - to surrender and show restraint, to move on. At that moment we may seem weak in other people's eyes, but right then all our books of debt will be opened in Heaven, and entire pages will be deleted without batting an eyelash. We will merit special benefits and alleviations, which will cause our repentance to be accepted willingly and with ease. It could be that the person will again park in your space, and it is totally correct that someone insulted you so deeply that there is no way you are going to help him, and maybe the neighbor's extension blocks your light – but it is so much more worth it to merit a stream of benefits in heaven! To forgo and receive preferential treatment in the place where life itself is determined, is of much greater worth!

1 comment:

Leah said...

Beautiful!!! Thank you, Devorah for posting this. I am using the line form Kohelet that you quote here.
Have a great day!!