They forget that Hashem loves them infinitely and always has mercy on them, even when things seem otherwise.
Our dear friend "CME" (Chaim Meir Erps) wrote a beautiful song that has captured the Chassidic world. Last night I was at a wedding, and we danced for nearly a half hour to this song. It reminds us that Hashem is our father, and a father is always a father. Here is the song, delightfully sung by Mendy Weiss and his son Hershy (lyrics in transliteration and translation below, so you can follow along):
Here are the words, which begin by paraphrasing Psalm 103:13, and then continue in Yiddish:
Krachem av al banim, ken terachem Hashem aleinu.
Vayil a tata bleibt a tata, er heat oif zeine kinder, a tata bleibt a tata allemol.
As a father has mercy on his children, so Hashem will have mercy on us.
For a father is a father, he protects his children, a father always stays a father.
Original Hebrew and Yiddish:
כרחם אב על בנים כן תרחם ה' עלינו. ווייל א טאטע בלייבט א טאטע, ער היט אויף זיינע קינדער, א טאטע בלייבט א טאטע אלעמאל
According to the Gemara in tractate Shabbat, many folks will be in for a big surprise and a rude awakening when their time's up down here on earth. The Heavenly Court judges don't care about what most people consider important down here; they'll ask four main "make it or break it" questions:
1. Did you negotiate fairly? Were you honest and did you keep your word? Did you pay your bills on time? Did you knowingly cheat or swindle other people? Did you pay your workers fully and on time?
2. Did you set aside time for learning Torah? Did you utilize all your after-work hours for Torah? Did you waste time on the web and watching DVDs? Were you more familiar with Facebook than you were with a holy book?
3. Did you eagerly anticipate the Redemption? Did you care whether the Divine Presence (Shechina) was in exile and we didn't have a Holy Temple? Did you beg Hashem for Moshiach? Did you do your utmost to move to Eretz Yisrael with your family or did you look for more excuses to remain in exile? Did you beg Hashem for Moshiach? Did you care whether Hashem's Holy Name was exalted or not? Did you help spread emuna in the world?
4. Did you marry and have children? Did you use your body for the mitzva of marriage and raising a family, or did you use it for debauchery? Did you maintain personal holiness? Did you dress, act, and speak modestly? Were you a faithful spouse and loving parent?
Why do the Heavenly Court judges ask these particular questions? The reason is that positive responses to the above "Big 4" expedite the Geula, the full redemption of our people, while negative answers prolong the exile and delay the redemption.
When a person is more concerned about the new bathroom tiles and the brass door handles in his Diaspora home, he delays the Redemption for everyone. But, there comes a time - which the spiritual leaders of our generation say is sooner than we can imagine - when the train of Redemption will leave the station. Anyone who misses it will be sorry forever. People get ready, 'cause the train's a' comin'...
Here's an oldie but goodie - Curtis Mayfield singing "People Get Ready". This was a favorite of mine way back when. (Lyrics Below)
People Get Ready, by Curtis Mayfield
People get ready, there's a train comin' You don't need no baggage, you just get on board All you need is faith (emuna!) to hear the diesels hummin' You don't need no ticket you just thank The Lord
People get ready, there's a train to Jordan Picking up passengers coast to coast Faith (Emuna!) is the key, open the doors and board them There's hope for all among those loved the most
There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner whom would hurt all mankind Just to save his own Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner For there is no hiding place against The Kingdom's Throne
People get ready there's a train comin' You don't need no baggage, just get on board All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin' You don't need no ticket, just thank The Lord
Why does the Torah devote a whole portion to making a thorough inventory of everything that went inside the holy Tabernacle? What relevance does this have to us today? Enjoy this week's mini-lesson and have a lovely Shabbat!
All over the world - in the USA, in the UK and Europe, and even here in Israel, certain political elements are trying to force the Torah-observant population to dilute the Torah education of the cheders and yeshivas with secular studies. What's more, with the "teshuva" movement of today, many people are worried that their sons prefer Torah study in Yeshiva to the pursuit of "Hellenistic" intellectual disciplines in university. Be proud and happy, dear parents, and please don't worry anymore. Although many people who were born into the Torah world succumb to outside propaganda and pressure, thinking that people in the universities know something that our sages of the Talmud didn't know, they'd be well-advised to take a closer look. Here's why:
Hashem taught Moshe Rabbenu on Mount Sinai the secrets of the universe, including astronomy and astrophysics. NASA is over 3,300 years behind Moshe Rabbenu; thanks to their advanced technological equipment, they're only beginning to learn what Moshe Rabbenu knew way back then. And, Moshe Rabbenu didn't have satellites, astrophotography or atomic clocks - he didn't need them.
Let's compare NASA's latest billion-dollar research on the lunar cycle to what our sages in Talmud have known for the past thousands of years:
The Talmud states that the lunar cycle spans ‘29.5 days and 793 fractions of an hour’. In Talmudic terms, the hour is divided into 1080 parts.
793/1080 = 0.734259 hours.
0.734259/24 = 0.03059 days.
29.5 days + 0.03059 days = 29.53059 days for the moon to travel around Earth.
NASA Research concluded that the lunar cycle is 29.530588 days, two 1/1000ths of a second short of the Talmudic figure. More advanced research in Berlin came to a figure of 29.530589 days, only one thousandth of a second short of the Talmudic figure.
The Sinai tradition of the span of the lunar cycle is thus corroborated by figures reached via advanced satellites and atomic clocks.
Put down the astronomy book and start learning Tractate Rosh Hashana, the Rambam's laws of the new moon, and the Tiferet Yisroel's commentary on Mishnayot. If you're looking for a degree, go to university; if you're looking for wisdom, go to the Torah.
We all know the type - the person that throws a rock at you and then says he was only joking; or how about the woman who humiliated you in front of all your friends and then says she didn't mean it...
Before you feel like laughing or making a joke or pulling a prank, even on Purim, think about whether what you’re going to do or say will cause damage to anyone. It's a more serious violation of Torah than eating pork, and Yom Kippur doesn't atone for it.
You won't want to miss today's emuna lesson and live broadcast from Jerusalem entitled "The Lethal Jokester", which will take place, G-d willing, on the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7 PM Israel time; the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time. If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it later this coming week on Lazer Beams.