Monday, May 30, 2011

A Stubborn Cold

"A man or woman who distinguishes himself (or herself) by taking a Nazirite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem" [Naso 6:2]

Rashi asks "Why was the Torah portion of the nazir put adjacent to the portion of the sotah (a woman who deviated from moral behaviour)? To tell you that anyone who sees a sotah in her disgrace should take upon himself to abstain from wine [by becoming a nazir]."

Whenever a person sees something improper, he must think: "Why has Heaven shown this impure thing to me?" He must do some serious soul-searching and attempt to strengthen himself in his Divine service.
R' Yisrael Salanter once caught a bad cold. The first day of his illness, he spent the entire day worrying.

"Why is the Rav so worried?" asked one of his close disciples. "Baruch Hashem, it's just a cold and it will not pose any serious threat to your health."

"It is not my health that concerns me" responded R' Salanter. "I worry over what it states in Mishlei: "Colds and traps are in the path of the stubborn" [Mishlei 22:5] "This verse is evidence that I was stricken with a cold on account of possessing the terrible trait of stubbornness".

Only once evening had arrived and R' Salanter had thoroughly examined his deeds without finding the trait of stubbornness within himself, was his mind put to rest.

[Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein]

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