Parshas Vayechi 5781
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Part I. Brothers’ Personalities
The Dream House
In Mesichta Pesachim (4a) the sages tell us about a certain man who attracted the interest of the sages: דְּהַוׇה קָא אָזִּיל וְאָמַר אַכֵּף יַמָּא אַסִּיסְנֵי בִּירָאתָא – He used to go around telling people, “I would like to build my palace on the seashore.” Everyone has a dream house in his mind and this man was always telling his friends that when the time comes to build his ideal home, the site would be by the seashore; he wanted to retire to a beachfront house.
That’s the first pshat in Rashi. Another peirush that Rashi says is “Akeif yama, by the seashore, asisna birasa, the bush grows into a cedar tree.” It means that this man was always talking about the benefits of doing business by the ocean ports; exporting and importing: “Everything becomes big and prosperous by the ocean,” he said.
In either case, whatever he said, it means that he liked the seashore. He wanted to live there and to make good business there; and he continued to talk about it so much that it intrigued the chachomim. Like the Gemara in Gittin (68b) says: Michdi, shoteh b’chada milsa lo sorich – an imbecile doesn’t always talk about only one thing, and if this man is insisting on this idea there must be something behind it.
A Love For the Sea
So badku acharav, the sages began to investigate; why does he talk so much about the seashore? And they found that he came from the tribe of Zevulun. This was in the times of the Talmud, long after the tribe of Zevulun had already been dispersed and sent into captivity, but when they searched this man’s family tree they discovered that this man came originally from the Zevulunites.“Oh! Now it makes sense. Because in Parshas Vayechi, when Yaakov was saying his final goodbye to his children, it was about his son Zevulun that he said, זְבוּלֻן לְחוֹף יַמִּים יִשְׁכֹּן – Zevulun will make its habitation by the shore of the seas (Vayechi 49:13).
Now, if we only had that one sentence of Yaakov Avinu’s prophecy – “Zevulun will live by the seashore” – so we would think that Yaakov was prophesying that Zevulun would be situated by the seashore and that’s all. That’s understandable; you have to live someplace after all and Eretz Yisroel is not all mountains or all fields; some is seashore. So Hashem put the nachalah of Zevulun, their inheritance in the land, by the shores of the sea. Someone has to be there.
But along comes this statement from the Talmud and it tells us that it wasn’t merely a matter of divvying up the land. It’s much more than that! We’re learning now that Hakodosh Boruch Hu originally put into Zevulun an infatuation with the ocean; it’s built in – the tribe of Zevulun has in its blood a love for the sea. And it was because of this idiosyncrasy that he had in his nature, that’s the reason why Hashem assigned to him a place by the seashore; in order that he could continue to develop that characteristic and live successfully by means of that.
Letter of the Law
Now we go on. The gemara there says that another man used to go around saying: דּוֹנוּ דִּינִי – “Judge my judgement.” Whenever a dispute came up with a neighbor he didn’t want it settled by arbitration; instead he said, “Let’s go to the judge and let him rule according to the strict letter of the law.” Could be his neighbor wanted to make a peshara, but he said, “No; let the judge rule and that’s all.”
Now, you might say that it was just a quirk of this man’s mind but he repeated this attitude so frequently, so consistently, that the sages thought it was suspicious and therefore badku acharav, they searched after his pedigree. And they discovered that this fellow came from Shevet Dan. דָּן יָדִין עַמּוֹ – “Dan will judge his people,” said Yaakov Avinu. It’s a family that doesn’t believe in leeway, in bargaining and arbitration. Shevet Dan was rigid; others might be more flexible, they’re not such sticklers for din, but the family of Dan liked that everything should be according to the strict letter of justice. It was a characteristic of the entire family.
That’s why there are people like that today too; they don’t like to deviate at all. Even little children sometimes are born that way; it’s their nature to follow rules. It used to be in Europe, in Yiddish, we used to call a child like that a “zakonik.” Zakon in Russian means law; a zakonik is a child who likes the law. If you tell him once to close the door when he walks out, he’ll always remember that. I remember I once saw a child like that. You told him once when he was a little baby of three years old, “Don’t forget to close the door,” and after that he never forgot. It was in his nature.
And so what our sages discovered was that the words of Yaakov Avinu weren’t merely a prophecy of something that would happen one day in the future – that one day in the far off future Zevulun would be a seafaring merchants supporting Yissochor in his learning (49:13 Rashi) or that from Dan would come Shimshon who would judge the nation (49:16 Rashi) – it’s more than that; Yaakov was describing an attribute of the whole tribe, an inherited family trait.
And the truth is that these qualities became accentuated because in ancient times they used to marry within the tribe; they didn’t dilute their characteristics by means of intermarriage with other shevatim. When they entered Eretz Yisroel each tribe was isolated from the others. Especially in those days when communication was very difficult and even to cross a mountain where the other tribe lived was almost insurmountable. Many people never crossed that mountain all their lives and the tribes therefore developed into almost separate nations!
That’s why we find that every shevet came with different customs; the wide variety of minhagim are an expression of the nature of every community. Of course, everyone subscribed to the emunah; they all believed Torah min hashomayim but there’s no question that there were different attitudes, different ways they looked at the world. The bnei Yehuda were one way and the bnei Gad another way.
They even had different ways of talking. Like you have today; some say burich and some say boruch and some say baruch. The shevatim didn’t speak the same lashon kodesh. We know that. Shiboles; youremember that story from Sefer Shoftim (12:6). One shevet said shiboles and one said siboles. One said “Good Shabbos” or another said “Good Sabboth.”
Inborn Character Traits
But it’s much more than just minhagim and pronunciation. These stories from the Gemara about the man from Zevulun and the man from Dan are important because they give us a novel insight into the soul, the character, of a human being. From these two instances we’re expected to understand that from the beginning Hashem created our nation so that people should be different from one another. Not only different in the way we understand — everybody knows that people are different – but they are different in specific things that can’t be changed. It’s built into them.
There are some elements of our character that the seforim call techunos. Unlike middos, your techunos are the fundamental traits you are born with and which you can never change. You see little babies are born one way or the other. One person may be excitable, another phlegmatic. Your chavrusa might be like a lion, full of energy, while you not so much. This one is volatile, emotional, and this one stolid. One person needs to work with his hands, another wants to sit at a desk. Everyone has a certain way of expressing his or her personality.
If I happen to think one way, it may be something that you cannot change in me; it may be built in into my nature. Just as Zevulun loved the sea, and Dan loved clear-cut din – it wasn’t something you could change; it was inherited; it was in his blood and it would be transmitted forever to all of his seed.
And not only in general but in very many particulars – these are only some of the particulars but there are many more that we don’t know about it. If it was so made that Zevulun loved the seashore and others loved mountains, you can be sure that there were many other details in which they differed.
And therefore when Yaakov looked at his sons, he was beset by a very big concern. He was deeply worried for the future. After all, Yaakov’s sole aspiration was l’haamid umah ovedes Hashem – to raise up a people that would serve Hashem (Moreh Nevuchim 3:51) and Yaakov understood that with such different natures, such different personalities, maybe someday they’ll break apart. If they don’t understand that this is Hashem’s intention, Hashem’s plan from the beginning, so they’ll go their separate ways. “As long as I’m alive,” said Yaakov, “they’ll be together, they’ll be reminded that we’re one family of ovdei Hashem. But if I’m not here anymore what’s going to be?” It’s like a sefer. As long as the covers are there, the pages are together. But when the covers of the sefer fall off, then the pages start falling apart.
That’s why the medrash says that when Yaakov was on his deathbed he expressed this worry to his sons (Vayechi 49:18): לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּיתִי הַשֵּׁם – What’s going to happen, Hashem? If my children are not going to understand that every page in the sefer of the Am Yisroel is important, that all of these differences are intended by Hashem so that each person will be able to bring out his contribution, my children will go their separate ways.
United in Purpose
Now, Yaakov’s sons understood their father’s worry and so they all got up and made a declaration to their father: Shema Yisroel – Listen our father, Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad – all of us have one Hashem. Don’t worry; whatever differences you see, we’re all avdei Elokei avicha – we’re all united in the service of Hashem. We understand that the purpose of our differences is so that each one of us, whatever differences we have in our nature, will be able to contribute in our way, to the Am Hashem.
We’re learning now one of the big purposes of all these differences that we see among the Am Yisroel. Each one of Yaakov’s sons had their own characteristics and all of those different seeds were passed onto us; we have those sparks in each one of us. It’s not an accident; that’s what Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants, that each one will use his own particular talents, his own characteristics in his service of Hashem. Hakodosh Boruch Hu has planned these differences from the beginning and He’s waiting to see, “Will this person utilize his stay in this world to bring forth by means of his own personality and his unique capabilities the greatness that he’s capable of?”
Part II. Great Personalities
Great and Different Personalities
Now, it’s important to understand that it’s just because of these differences between man and his fellow man that there arises endless possibilities for each individual to shine and become an oived Hashem. That’s why when we look at our history, we see unique individuals who came along and caused a revolution in the world. Because of the various characteristics that have been passed down to the entire nation, people were able to step forward and use their capabilities to accomplish great things, even to make changes in our history!
I’m going to say a few cases – this is not the subject yet; I’ll soon begin the subject – of great people in our history who stepped forward to use their own capabilities to become great. Now, I’m not capable of estimating the greatness of these great people. Who am I to measure these giants? I’m just telling you words like an ant looks up at a very high mountain. But even as ants we can see that each one of these people, by means of his own ideas, his unique character, was able to introduce tremendous changes into our nation! Different personalities producing different greatnesses created a wonderful mosaic of Avodas Hashem.
We’ll talk for a moment now about Rashi, Rebbi Shlomo Yitzchoki. Rashi, you have to know, used his personality to make a tremendous revolution in our history. Rashi is unequaled among the meforshim of the Torah! The mesek loshon, the sweetness of his language is unparalleled – we have to study Rashi with the greatest derech eretz!
He writes with such lucidity, such clarity. And he always hits the nail on the head! When we look at his words we are amazed at the extraordinary ability he had to help us understand what we would want to know. He uses exactly the right words as if he’s inspired min haShomayim! Maybe he was.
All the yeshivos, all the lamdanim, most people who have any knowledge of Talmud at all owe it entirely to Rashi. There’s no end to the gratitude we owe Rashi; he’s the one who made the Talmud Bavli available to the Jewish nation! Imagine today if you didn’t have Rashi; try to learn a new piece of gemara with only Rabeinu Gershom’s peirush on the side. Except for the gedolei Yisroel, it would be impossible for anybody to understand. Impossible! The world wouldn’t learn any gemara anymore. The Rishonim were able to understand the gemara from certain traditions they had but we would be lost without Rashi.
Rashi on the Gemara, you have to know, is one of the most wonderful achievements in history! I’m saying that without exaggeration! I don’t have enough words to explain the tremendous significance of what Rashi did for us! The work that he left us is a masterpiece of style, lucidity, and ha’amakah, as if he had spent months and months on every page!
A Unique Gadol
Now, that’s one example of a person that utilized individual peculiarities, a talent that he had in himself to go ahead and turn the world upside down. Rashi could have been a person who didn’t demonstrate this ability. He could have lived like a fine frum Jew and that’s all. But Hakodosh Boruch Hu was waiting and Rashi showed Him that he could produce something that’s unique, something Rashidik. We cannot measure how much of a reward in Gan Eden forever and ever that Rashi is receiving for being Rashi.
Now you’ll have to forgive me for what I’m about to say, but other gedolim, the Rishonim and Acharonim could never have accomplished what Rashi did. Rabeinu Tam was a great man – all over Shas you can find chiddushim, great lomdus you find from Rabeinu Tam in Tosfos and yet he couldn’t do what Rashi did. And Rashi wouldn’t write Tosfos. Not because he didn’t have a good head and he couldn’t think of those kashyos and teirutzim. There are seforim that explain why Rashi is correct. There are seforim that defend Rashi from the attacks of the baalei Tosfos. It’s not about who was greater, but they had different personalities and each of them used their peculiarities to accomplish for our nation.
Baal Shem Tov
A different example; many years later another personality came along and made use of his personal techunos to cause a revolution in our history. Reb Yisroel Baal Shem Tov had a certain personality and he went into the forest and spent days communing with Hakodosh Boruch Hu. He became very great there and when he came out he caused a revolution in the world.
The movement of chassidus was something that brought in an entire wave of activity, an inspiration that Hakodosh Boruch Hu could look down and be happy kavyachol: “This is the man I was waiting for!” We have no words to estimate the tremendous achievement of this one personality.
The Baal Shem Tov had a fire in his heart and he ignited all of Europe. Once upon a time, chassidim were people with fire! Tremendous fire! Sometimes they were too fiery and that’s why the misnagdim opposed them, but they were full of fire! For hundreds of years, the Jewish nation was ignited by a flame of inspiration! Everywhere, all over, millions of people were inspired! Tremendous achievements!
Only it’s not so obvious today. Once upon a time the world could understand more clearly how great was the unique accomplishment of the Baal Shem Tov in the world only that today the boundaries are not so clear anymore. Today already Chassidus today has merged with hisnagdus together. It’s all more or less the same today. Today even the misnagdim are noshing from the chassidim so many good things. Yes! So many good things!
Rav Yisroel Salanter
Here’s another man who became great in his own way. When Rav Yisroel Salanter zichrono levrachah started the Mussar movement, that people come together to learn mussar. Nobody did that. They knew there was a Mesillas Yesharim. They knew about the Sha’arei Teshuvah. And people learned them sometimes. But Rav Yisroel used his personal techunos to recognize that much more was needed and he made it an ideal to come together and to concentrate on learning mussar. People came together and learned mussar aloud with enthusiasm, with a fire of hislahvus.
And mussar spread all over the world. All the yeshivos learn mussar today. Of course, it’s not exactly the same as Reb Yisroel’s ideal but it’s there. I was in Slabodka – they learned mussar a half hour only, every night a half hour. But it was done the way Reb Yisroel taught. We were shouting! Motzei Shabbos, there were no lights. We sat in the darkness for over an hour and we were saying mussar words aloud. Aloud! At the end of the hour, we were all shouting. Some were weeping, were weeping and shouting. And then we heard, V’hu rachum yichaper avon – it’s time to daven maariv. We were still in the middle, we didn’t want to stop. It was tremendously inspiring!
Now some gedolim were afraid they were making a new movement. Like one said, “Chadash asur min haTorah. We don’t want anything new. We’re afraid of new things.” But Rav Yisroel said it’s a gemara: Makom henichu lo min hashamayim lehisgader – Hakodosh Boruch Hu leaves over for a place for each person to accomplish unique things in this world. Because of everyone’s unique nature there’s potential in everyone – and someday it might even come forth in such a way that will turn the whole history of our nation in a different direction. Rav Yisroel was a fire and he understood that his special fire, his way of looking at the world, was important. He understood that because everyone has different techunos; in every person’s nature there is potential for great things.
Now allow me to add one more; it’s not our topic, the famous people, but allow me one more. That’s Sara Schenirer. I remember many years ago when I was in Slabodka, Rav Avraham Grodzinsky zichrono levrachah went to visit Poland. And when he came back I was sitting with my chaveirim around his table and he said, “I saw women in Poland like fartzeitiker rebbetzins, like the old-time rebbetzins.”He was so surprised. Old-time rebbetzins we understand, but in his time – it was 1932 – things were different already. And when he saw some of the talmidos of Bais Yaakov in Poland he was amazed. The spirit was something new.
How did that happen? Only because of Sarah Schenirer. She was a poor woman; a seamstress who wasn’t highly educated. What happened? During World War l she came as a refugee to Vienna and she was sitting there in a shul in the ladies’ gallery listening to the sermons of a certain Orthodox German rabbi. And she was so inspired – she said, “This is the kind of thing that Jewish girls should hear!” So sitting in the ladies gallery she decided to start a school for girls.
We always had frum women, frum girls. But in the olden days the Beis Yaakov was in the home. The mother was able to teach her daughter everything in the home. Even the Jewish street could teach a Jewish girl everything. But times had changed and the Jewish street was no longer Jewish after World War 1, and now it was going downhill now.
So this woman, on her own, took together girls in a little home and she began teaching them inspiring things. And the girls spread out after a while and made a Bais Yankev movement. You have no idea what happened. Sarah Schenirer came along and she changed the course of history; it was a tremendous revolution in the world. The Bais Yaakov became a world movement that rejuvenated the Jewish people. We don’t realize how much we owe her; she saved our people.
Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan
And one of her talmidos, Rebbetzin Kaplan came to America and she turned America upside down. People don’t realize that it was she who turned America upside down. Reb Aharon Kotler said, “If not for Rebbetzin Kaplan, there wouldn’t be any kollelim in America.” The entire institution of kollelim, of married men learning, was due solely to Rebbetzin Kaplan teaching the girls an ideal of working to support husbands that learn. A revolutionary idea! And her girls went out and changed the world.
Not only that, she encouraged them to live with those ideals while building large families! She herself had fourteen children of her own. At that time there began an explosion in America, a population explosion. Large frum families were established all over.
And all of this came forth by means of the personality of a woman, Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan; on her shoulders alone is the tremendous credit for hundreds and thousands of boys and girls who were born because of her inspiration. So many kollelim and talmidei chachamim as a result! One person! One woman by means of contributing her own personality to the Am Yisroel!
Those are some examples of people who utilized individual peculiarities they had in themselves to go ahead and turn the world upside down. I didn’t intend to spend so much time on it, but the truth is we can spend much more time. We can sit here and talk until next week. Do you realize what the Rambam accomplished? The Rif? The Rif was not Rashi but he brought about a revolution in Halacha. The Chayei Adam, the Chofetz Chaim. All of our great men were great in different ways and that’s how they changed the history of the Jewish nation.
Part III. Your Personalities
Just Be Yourself
Now, we come to ourselves; we want to see what is expected of us. Are we going to start world movements? Could be. It could be that some of you will write seforim or accomplish something else that will revolutionize the Jewish world. But that’s not our point. Because if you don’t start a movement for all history it doesn’t mean anything. Who cares about being famous? Hashem doesn’t need famous people. Don’t worry about changing the history of the Am Yisroel – your most important concern is your own history! When you make use of the personality that Hashem gave you, that’s the way you become famous in the eyes of Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
And in order that we should not lose sight of this great principle that each person is expected to use his own personality to achieve his or her personal greatness in this world, Hakodosh Boruch Hu did something exceptional when He created the world. Pay attention to this now.
Just One Pair
In the beginning of time, when Hakodosh Boruch Hu wanted to create living things, He didn’t merely create one pair of rabbits and tell them, “Go ahead and multiply and fill the world.” No; He created millions of rabbits at one time. All over the world, rabbits started hopping around. He didn’t create two elephants, male and female, and say, “Get busy and start having offspring.” No; He created elephants everywhere.
So we see a plan here; Hashem wanted to populate the globe and so he filled the world with all types of animals, birds and insects. And yet, what do we see? That when Hakodosh Boruch Hu created Mankind He made an exception; He made only one man – one man and one woman.
The creation of man was the exception and therefore it deserves an explanation: Why is it that when it comes to everything else Hakodosh Boruch Hu went all out and made millions at once but when He created the min ha’adam He was stingy and He made only one pair?
All For Me
Is it because He wanted to curtail the amount of human beings in this world? Oh no; just the opposite! Hashem wants a world full of people. פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ – “Fill the whole world!” He said. So why didn’t He just make a million Adams just the way He made a million rabbits?
And the mishna in Sanhedrin gives us the answer: Lefikach nivra adam yechidi – You know why a man was created all alone? Kidei sheyomar kol echad v’echad – In order that every human being should say, Bishvili nivra ha’olam – “For my sake, the world was created.” You’re everything! Forget about the fact that today there are other people too – Hashem wants you to remember that at the beginning there was one man! And He made it that way so that every man should know how important he is.
That’s a thunderous declaration! “So that you should tell yourself, ‘For me the world was created!’” So the next time you’re walking on 13th Avenue and it’s crowded; there are hundreds of people walking back and forth, remember this great lesson: “The whole universe was created for me.” Don’t worry that it was created for him and for him and for him too. As far as you’re concerned, Hakodosh Boruch Hu is waiting for you to make the most of what He gave you. You’re the only one!
You Have It in You
We must spend our lives in learning this principle of the Torah because the world is fighting against it. If you look in other places, they’ll reduce the greatness of man; they’ll minimize him and make him into nothing. They want you to believe that you’re just a highly developed amoeba; a fish that came out of the water and grew legs. But the Torah on the other hand wants you to know how great you are. Not to let you know how great is Reb Yisroel Salanter. Kidai sheyomar kol echad v’echad – In order that every human being should say, bishvili nivra ha’olam – “For my sake, the world was created.”
It means that this world is your place for achieving greatness by means of your peculiarities. The Rambam says that every person is capable of becoming as great as Moshe Rabbeinu! Not by being Moshe Rabeinu. Not by being Rashi or Sarah Schenirer or the Baal Shem Tov. By being yourself!
Hashem has given us our own peculiarities, our own characteristics, so that each one of us can shine in our own way. Every one of us has endless potentiality to become great and we learn from those who did it already as a model for ourselves; we should strive all our lives to use the possibilities within ourselves to make something out of ourselves, not to remain nobodies.
And the more we utilize our own lives that’s how we live successfully – believe me, you’re a success! Don’t be satisfied! Continue striving! Try to press out of yourself more and more because you have it in you! Hakodosh Boruch Hu is waiting to see what we will do with our lives! Everyone must become a tzaddik, a righteous man or a righteous woman, as much as possible! When you come to the next world at the end of a hundred and twenty years, you are going to be asked, “Why didn’t you utilize all the potentialities that I gave you?”
Good and Bad in Natures
Now, how to develop your own peculiarities, often you’ll have to seek out somebody wiser than yourself, but the first step is to recognize this great principle; to know that you have in yourself a certain greatness and it’s your duty to try as much as possible to cause it to come to the surface.
Now, these techunos that you have are your path to greatness. It has nothing to do with righteousness or with wickedness; the same techuna is able to operate for virtue or for evil. Don’t think that if you’re an excitable person, you anger easily, so you’re bad. No, if you’re excitable, so you become nervous at injustice. You can be quick to anger and become irritable when you witness wickedness. You’re deeply affected by things, so you become saddened when you see people suffering, and you do all you can to help them.
A Tzadik and a Rasha
Even someone who is phlegmatic can direct his personality in the right direction. Sometimes a phlegmatic tzaddik can endure poverty more than others. He can sit and study Torah in a kollel in Yerushalayim without worries. He has fourteen children to feed and he provides for them day by day and still he takes it calmly and he sits and studies Torah. And he’s able to live all his life in piety without becoming ill. He doesn’t develop any ulcers because he’s a phlegmatic and calm nature.
Of course that same techuna can be misused. Here’s a phlegmatic rasha; he’s so stolid of character that he can look on at the sufferings of others without blinking an eye. He can even be hired as an assassin. He does it on a business basis. To him it’s like delivering goods. Other people sell merchandise, he sells himself as a hit man.
So we see that the techuna is something that’s basic in human nature. You cannot change it, but it doesn’t mean virtue and it doesn’t mean wickedness. It can be utilized either way. And our job in this world is to utilize what Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave us for one purpose – to bring Him glory.
Giving Hashem Nachas
That’s what we all daven for every day: יְהִי כְבוֹד הַשֵּׁם לְעוֹלָם – The honor of Hashem should be forever. We pray that Hashem should always have kavod in this world. That’s our highest endeavor – to bring glory to His name.
And how do we do that? What’s the best way to give honor to Him? יִשְׂמַח הַשֵּׁם בְּמַעֲשָׂיו – When Hashem rejoices in His creations. When Mankind gives nachas to the Creator, when we cause Him to rejoice in our deeds kaviyachol, that’s our success.
Right now Hashem is looking at us sitting here right now. And what is He looking for? He’s looking for nachas. He’s looking for some pleasure from His ma’asuv, from the wide variety of people He created.
Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants to get a separate kind of nachas from each one. What this person will do, what he’s capable of accomplishing, nobody else can do. Everybody has something to contribute. The Am Yisroel is like a beautiful orchestra, with thousands, millions of different musical instruments, and each one is contributing a beautiful sound that his neighbor can’t produce. The nachas that you can give Hakodosh Boruch Hu, nobody else can give.
Don’t Fall Short
And those that don’t give that nachas, so Hashem is disappointed kaviyachol. It doesn’t mean you’re a rasha but you have fallen short of His expectations – He’s waiting to see something from you that you didn’t do yet.
Every bar Yisrael has inherited a character that is full of treasures only that they’re potential treasures; they’re like a goldmine concealed within him. And even though he might be a rough and untrained character, nevertheless it’s possible for him to bring forth the greatness of his soul and become a perfect chassid in every respect if he utilizes the unique characteristics Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave him. As long as he remembers that “for him the world was created,” and he uses whatever Hashem has given him, then yismach Hashem bema’asav – Hashem kaviyachol rejoices. He’s happy with what He created. He’s smiling at you!
Yaakov Is Consoled
And that’s what the children of Yaakov told their father. “Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad – Listen Yisroel, our father; Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One.” “We might be very different from each other,” they said. “One of us is like a lion, full of energy. Another one is volatile; he’s emotional. This one is phlegmatic and stolid. Everyone has a certain way of expressing his personality, his peculiar characteristics, and that means that each one of us can shine in avodas Hashem in our own unique way; each one will use his own talents to produce a different kind of shleimus in the service of the One Hashem.”
When Yaakov heard those words from his children his fears were calmed: “If that’s the case, then boruch shem kvod malchuso l’olam va’ed – If you’ll all be dedicated to taking the differences that Hashem created you with and using them to serve Him, then that will be the greatest glory for Hashem. By means of all of those differences a tremendous mosaic of avodas Hashem is painted; a beautiful painting of many colors where everyone is most important.
Have A Wonderful Shabbos
Let’s Get Practical
This week I will spend a minute every night before I go to sleep reflecting on the fact that Hashem made me a certain way and that He wants ME. Hakodosh Boruch Hu made me unique and I alone can bring a unique happiness to Hashem that no one else can. As long as I’m dedicated to Hashem Echad, I’m the most important person in His eyes.