With Rav Avigdor Miller ztz”l
The Third Witness
Part I. Joining In
THE SUPERFLUOUS WITNESS
In Parshas Shoftim we learn one of the cardinal principles of procedure in a Jewish courtroom; it’s something that anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the Torah knows. And that is the halacha that in a beis din, it’s two witnesses that establish the truth. לֹא יָקוּם עֵד אֶחָד בְּאִישׁ לְכָל עָוֹן וּלְכָל חַטָּאת … עַל פִּי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים …יָקוּם דָּבָר — A single witness shall not stand up to testify against a man for any iniquity or for any error, regarding any sin that he may commit…it’s by the testimony of two witnesses that the matter should be confirmed (Shoftim 19:15).
Now the mishnah asks a kasha on this possuk. Because I left out some words when I quoted it to you; what the possuk actually says is, עַל פִּי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אוֹ עַל פִּי שְׁלֹשָׁה עֵדִים יָקוּם דָּבָר — by the testimony of two witnesses or by the testimony of three witnesses it shall be established (ibid.) And those extra words sound superfluous to our ears — not only superfluous, but they seem to be misleading.
If you learned even a little bit of gemara so you know that תְּרֵי כְּמֵאָה, — two is like a hundred. If two witnesses testify to something, then that something has been established. There’s no need for a third — even if another ninety eight would have joined, it would make no difference. It’s two that does it.
And so the mishnah (Makkos 5b) asks: What’s the purpose of these extra words “or by the testimony of three witnesses”? Space in the Torah is precious real estate — there must be something important there.
NO MONKEY BUSINESS
And Chazal tells us that Hakodosh Boruch Hu is teaching us a valuable lesson here — that the third witness is actually just as important as the first two witnesses. It’s true, you didn’t need him to “establish the matter”; the first two were already on the way to the beis din, and they were just fine without you. But you tagged along anyhow; you joined them at the last second, and once you join in with the first two fellows, you’re already one of them.
And it’s no monkey business, that decision to join in. Because suppose all three witnesses were found to be false witnesses, they were found to be zomemim. Zomemim means that two other witnesses came and said, “How can you say you saw this crime being done? You three witnesses were with us in a different place at that time! You’re testifying that you saw Reuven commit murder in Brooklyn, but at that same time you were with us in Eretz Yisroel.”
So the Torah says, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר זָמַם – you have to do to the three witnesses what they wanted to do to the person they falsely accused. They were trying to kill Reuven, who is an innocent man, so they are put to death in retribution. The beis din must put them to death because they wanted to put this innocent man to death.
FALLING IN WITH THE WRONG GROUP
So the question is asked: The first two, yes, they came to put a man to death, so they deserve to be put to death. But the third man speaks up; he says, “What do you want from me? The first two were the ones whose testimony was going to kill Reuven; my testimony was worthless. I was superfluous.” And he’s right — He didn’t accomplish anything! “Why punish me? I just said, ‘Me too. I also saw it.’ But if I would have kept quiet the same thing would have happened. The testimony of the first two would have put Reuven to death. So why are you punishing me? I should be put to death just for tagging along?!”
So the mishnah says, ein hachi nami, it’s true he didn’t do much; but in the eyes of Hakodosh Boruch Hu he did it all. That’s why the Torah says “by the word of two witnesses or by the word of three”; because the third one is blamed also. הֲנִטְפַּל לְעוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵרָה — if someone joins those who do aveiros, even though he’s just following along — no matter, because he joined in to an evil attempt, so he’s given full responsibility as if he was among the first two. He’s considered just as important as the first two and he’s punished together with them.
We’re learning an important principle now! If somebody chimes in for something wrong — even though the wrong thing would have been done without him — just for the chiming in, for identifying with those who are doing an aveirah, he is held guilty.
THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE POSSUK
But tonight we won’t speak about aveiros; I don’t want to make any enemies with Rosh Hashana around the corner, so we’ll talk about a happier topic, the subject of doing mitzvos. Because along comes Rabbi Akiva and he says like this: אִם כֵּן עָנַשׁ הַכָּתוּב לְנִטְפָּל לְעוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵרָה כְּעוֹבְרֵי עֲבֵרָה — If this is how the Torah punishes someone who is merely an accomplice, he just joined the sinners, and now he is subject to the full penalty imposed on the first two, עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה יְשַׁלֵּם שְׂכַר לְנִטְפָּל לְעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה כְּעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה – so all the more so if you join people doing a mitzvah, even though they don’t need you, you’ll be rewarded just like the ones who initiated the mitzvah — the ones actually carrying it out.
They don’t need you! Let’s say, they’re carrying a heavy load for a mitzvah. You’re walking down the street and you see a group of fellow Jews doing a mitzvah — they’re carrying a couch, let’s say, to an almanah with a house full of little children. Somebody donated a couch for this poor woman and they’re bringing it up to her apartment. They don’t need your help — they’re not struggling.
But you come along and you put your shoulder underneath it. Your shoulder is not necessary; they’re carrying it anyhow. But you show that you want to join with them, you sympathize with them. Just that — your wanting to help out and going out of your way to assist them, that’s called נִטְפָּל לְעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה – you’re joining them and you get reward together with them. It’s considered as if you went to the store to pay for the couch and carried it up to this almanah’s living room.
It’s remarkable! It’s a tremendous idea you’re hearing now — that merely joining in makes you a full partner. Even though we don’t need you, if you’ll join in — if you’ll just take hold of the end and go through the motions as if you’re participating in order to demonstrate that you’re with these good people — that’s a very great achievement for you.
And it’s such an important principle that Hakodosh Boruch Hu didn’t wait for Parshas Shoftim to teach us this lesson; it was taught to us way back in the beginning of the history of the world.
NOACH IN PARSHAS SHOFTIM
We’re going to talk now about an episode that took place in the span of a minute, maybe two — yet it caused a tremendous change in the course of the history of nations. Everyone remembers what happened with Noach and his children when they finally exited the teivah. But now we’ll explain it in a way you may not have heard before:
After being saved from the mabul, Noach understood that it was appropriate to give thanksgiving to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. We are accustomed to the idea that אֵין אוֹמְרִים שִׁירָה אֶלָּא עַל הַיַּיִן — when you say praise to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, you do it by means of drinking wine. We drink a little bit to give some fuel to the gratitude; so that you’ll open your heart and open your mouth a little wider and sing to Hashem.
That’s why we make kiddush over a cup of wine. At a wedding, under the chuppah, we drink wine. At all important occasions, at a bris too, you make a borei pri hagofen. In order to thank Hakodosh Boruch Hu, we utilize wine. And so Noach drank wine as a means of igniting his gratitude to Hashem.
It could very well be that he didn’t sit down by himself; maybe he had his family with him. But there’s no question that Noach was the most enthusiastic of all and therefore he imbibed a bigger measure, more than was necessary to be yotzei the mitzvah. And so, he fell asleep because of his wine.
THE THREE SONS MAKE THEIR MARK
Now, the exact circumstances of what happened next are not told to us, but here’s what’s related. Noach lied down under his blanket to sleep but because he had been inebriated, so maybe he thrashed around a little bit and he became uncovered. All this was orchestrated by Hashem to test the future of Mankind — to guide the course of the world that was being created again after the Mabul.
Now, Noach had three sons, Sheim, Cham and Yefes. One of his sons, Cham, was a kind of man who was curious to see things. He was always looking where he wasn’t supposed to look. And so he opened up the bedroom door and saw his father uncovered. Now that was a big mistake. He shouldn’t have done it; it was none of his business.
But he was Cham; he had a different nature. Cham means a man of a fiery disposition. He was a man of passions, of impulses, and the first impulse he had was to tell his brothers what he saw. Now, that was a mistake too. Why tell them? You’re spreading news of your father’s embarrassment – that was another mistake.
But that was Cham, and what he did changed the course of his descendants forever. It’s not our subject for tonight, but what’s happening in the world today with Cham’s great grandchildren was in a very big way determined by what Cham did that day.
MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
By the way, that’s a chiddush of the Torah. You have to mind your own business. If you want to look, look for the things that are important for you to know. When people walk in the streets and look in other people’s windows, in other people’s business, Hakodosh Boruch Hu is not satisfied with them. It’s none of your business what’s doing in that man’s life.
You want to look at something? So look at the wonders of the world that Hakodosh Boruch Hu shows you. Look at leaves, look at grass, there are miracles on all sides that show the hand of Hashem; there’s plenty to see in the world without resorting to being a Cham.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Cham, but that’s another subject altogether. I said before that I want to speak about mitzvos, so we’ll leave Cham on the side for now and we’ll study one of the valuable lessons we learn from his two brothers.
SHEIM PICKS UP THE BLANKET
What does the Torah tell us that Sheim and Yefes did when Cham came to them and opened his big mouth? וַיִּקַּח שֵׁם וָיֶפֶת אֶת הַשִּׂמְלָה – Sheim and Yefes took hold of a blanket and they went in to cover up their father (Bereishis 9:23). Now, וַיִּקַּח is written in the singular and that’s the wrong word – it should say וַיִקְּחוּ – plural, they took. וַיִּקַּח means he took it. What’s that about? “And he took; who took it? Sheim — va’Yefes, and Yefes.” It’s a puzzle.
And the answer is that Sheim didn’t need his brother. How much does a blanket weigh already? It’s not a couch after all! Va’yikach Sheim, and Sheim picked up the blanket — that’s the way to read the possuk.Sheim picked it up by himself and was walking with a blanket to cover up his father.
And what happened next? Va’Yefes! Yefes saw Sheim doing the mitzvah and he said, “Me too. I want to hold on too,” and he grabbed it. He grabbed on to the end of the blanket. That’s why it says וַיִּקַּח, singular; because Sheim is the one who took took it; he carried it. Only that Yefes saw what was going on and he grabbed the corner — he joined in to do a good thing.
What happened at that moment was an earth-shattering event; what Sheim and Yefes did at that moment changed the fate of their descendants forever. The generosity of the soul of Sheim came forth at that moment and that’s why he was zocheh forever and ever. Later, when Noach discovered what had happened, so he said the following prophecy. וְיִשְׁכֹּן – Where will Hashem dwell? בְּאָהֳלֵי שֵׁם – only in the tents of Sheim.
The Am Yisroel wouldcome forth from Sheim and when they made the Mishkan: וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – Hashem put His residence only in Sheim — nowhere else. The die was cast; nothing will help. וְיִשְׁכֹּן בְּאָהֳלֵי שֵׁם – Forever and ever Hashem dwells among the seed of Sheim, on the Am Yisroel.
THE TAG-ALONG RULES THE WORLD
And what about Yefes who tagged along? About Yefes, Noach foretold the following: יַפְתְּ אֱלֹקִים לְיֶפֶת – “Hashem will give wide dominion to Yefes.” Yaft is from the word paso, פָּתֹה – which means to open up wide, like a pesach. Because Yefes joined in to take part in a good thing, Noach said, “You’ll be blessed with great power.”
From Yefes came Persia who ruled the whole world at one time; Greece too ruled the world at one time. Yefes was Rome and all the nations of Europe that conquered all the continents. If you want to know why the white race has covered the face of the earth; if you want to know why civilization — literature, culture, dominion — has been only in the hands of the Caucasian races, then you don’t have to look any further than this word, Va’Yefes. And Yefes also grabbed onto the blanket.
Now he didn’t do anything; Sheim didn’t need him. But that didn’t matter to Yefes; when he saw something worthwhile being done, he said, “Me too.” And because of that, history was changed.
Of course, if we learn the chumash today the same way we learned it in the cheder or the Beis Yaakov, so it seems to us a trivial incident, a small incident. The whole thing took maybe a minute, but Yefes accomplished a tremendous thing when he said, “Me too.” Oh, yes. He blessed himself and his children for many generations.
JOIN THE CLUB
You know, Mankind is accustomed to measure everything by weight and by size. Unfortunately most people think that good deeds have to come in big sizes. Either colossal-size or jumbo or giant. You know in America, these are the three sizes that anything comes in — colossal, jumbo or giant; they don’t make anything else. When you actually buy it, it fits on a thimble, but that’s a different story.
And therefore, when we see these small opportunities for greatness, we tend to disregard them. However, we should remember at all times the statement in Pirkei Avos אַל תְּהִי מַפְלִיג לְכָל דָּבָר — don’t push away anything. Don’t underestimate these little things because we’re learning now how really important it is — it’s much more important than people think.
When you take hold of the corner of the blanket and say, “Me too!” it’s a demonstration of where you want to be; where your heart is. And because of that demonstration the Torah teaches us that יְשַׁלֵּם שְׂכַר לְנִטְפָּל לְעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה כְּעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה – that as far as Hashem is concerned you’ve done everything!
And so, in as many ways as possible, we should always be looking to take hold of the simlah and say, “Me too!” In all the good things that the Am Yisroel is doing we try to join in, to tag along. And although you’re not going to change the world by your little act, but you’re going to change your world!
Part II. Reaping Reward
BUILD A YESHIVA WITH A $5 BILL
So let’s say you’re not able to support a big yeshiva. It costs tremendous money to support a kollel. Imagine they’re coming to you – “Mister so and so, maybe you’ll buy the Beis Hamedrash in your name or your father’s name. It only costs 100,000 dollars. If that’s too much maybe you’ll buy a room in the yeshiva for 70,000 dollars.”
So you look at them? “Me?! I’m not rich, I’m patur! I’m not even interested to think about the whole thing!” Oooooh! Not interested?! That’s a tragedy because נִטְפָּל לְעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה כְּעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה – there will be tremendous reward for the one who joins in; k’osei mitzvah — like the one whqo did the mitzvah. The one who gives five dollars to the yeshiva has joined in with the one who gave the hundred thousand dollars!
By wanting to join in, and by acting on your intentions, even if it’s only a tiny fraction of the mitzvah, you demonstrate where your heart is. That’s one of our most important functions in this world: to develop an appreciation — I say appreciation; I should say a desire — for the important things of this world. That’s what we call creating a Torah mind.
BORROWING FOR GOOD REASON
I always tell the same story. Reb Simcha Zissel, the Alter of Kelm, was a man with very little money. But he had a brother, Reb Leib, who was a businessman. So he once wrote a letter to Reb Leib and asked him to lend him some money. That was a chiddush — Reb Simcha Zissel should borrow money?! What for?
So he said, “I want to give tzedakah but I don’t have any money; and I’m getting accustomed to the idea that I don’t have to take part in this great avodas Hashem of the Am Yisroel. Reb Simcha Zissel was saying, “Me too!” That’s what his letter meant. And so he borrowed a little bit of money so that he could be נִטְפָּל לְעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה.
And that’s why when you get letters in the mail; all types of tzedakah requests — yeshivos, kollelim, cholim — so many organizations — so you shouldn’t just throw them into the trash. You should want to join in! Now, will your dollar, your five dollars, make a difference? Maybe yes, maybe no, but that’s not what we’re talking about now. Whether they need your five dollars is not the question — even if they don’t need you, you need them.
JOINING THE GREAT ROSHEI YESHIVA
When you send in five dollars to Ponovezh Yeshiva so you’re already nitpal to Rav Shach. You’re a part of the Ponovezh Yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel. You send money to Lakewood and you’re joining in with Rav Aron Kotler zichrono l’vracha. Now, Rav Aron Kotler lived very poorly. I once walked into the house of Rav Aron and I saw it was a poor house, a very poor house. And because of that Rav Aron rose up in my eyes very much — I saw that he didn’t take money from the yeshiva and spend it on expensive things. The money was all for feeding the Torah learners and for building a Torah community. And your few dollars means that you’re building the same yeshiva that Rav Aron built — you’re nitpal to that great tzadik.
You know, when you give money to a yeshiva, even a few dollars, so when the boys are sitting and learning gemara by day and by night, so that’s you who’s sitting and learning. That’s how it is when you connect to a good cause — it’s an especial privilege we have and we’re learning now that you get the full zechus. Just like the third eid zomeim gets the full punishment with those whom he joined, your five dollars, or hundred dollars, gives you the privilege of building Lakewood and Ponovezh.
LEARNING IN YOUR SLEEP
Even while you go to sleep — you’re already wearing pajamas and you’re climbing into your bed — if the bochurim are learning late in the beis medrash, so you’re sitting next to those boys and you’re there too. You’re a nitpal l’osei mitzvah!
And even more, when you fall asleep at the end of your days, your money still continues to earn merit for you. You’re still learning in the Mirrer Yeshiva although now you’re in the Yeshiva Shel Ma’aleh. No question about it — your money is earning merit for you. Because it’s not only money — you’ve demonstrated where your heart is.
You know, we think that when a man leaves over money for a yeshiva so it’s just a ceremony: “We got rid of him and now we have his money already. Now we can take him off our mailing list and we can forget all about him.” You maybe forgot about him but Hashem doesn’t forget! This man is attached to the yeshiva now! Absolutely.
DON’T BE A LEITZ!
Now, someone that doesn’t take this lesson to heart is not just giving up opportunities — he is actually making leitzanus of an important Torah attitude.That’s what a leitz is — somebody who doesn’t appreciate the importance of a good thing.
A leitz is the person who doesn’t understand that Torah is important. Here’s a frum Jew, he passes by people who come before davening to learn; but he always comes after the learning. Or after davening people sit and learn, but he goes out right away. He’s a frum Jew, but he’s a leitz. He doesn’t appreciate the vast importance of Torah learning.
The attitude however of a person who is not a leitz is different. He wants to participate — even if it’s only a bit. At least you should show that you’re interested and sit down alongside with them. Even if you can’t learn, you come in and sit alongside as they learn. If a person is not able to learn, but he comes and sits down with those who are learning, even if he doesn’t understand anything, the gemara says that such a person is זוֹכֶה וְיוֹשֵׁב בִּישִׁיבָה שֶׁל מַעֲלָה — He’ll be admitted to the yeshiva shel ma’alah eventually.
Why is that? He didn’t do anything! And the answer is that he did everything! Because he demonstrated, “Me too! I also want to sit and learn.” It’s an important lesson — merely by coming in and sitting down alongside of them, you already are a partner in their idealism and you already have a right to be admitted when the time comes to the yeshiva shel ma’alah.
IT’S MY SEFER TORAH TOO!
I hope you hear that lesson; it’s so important I can’t overemphasize it enough. So let’s say you see a group of Sephardic Jews bringing a sefer Torah into their synagogue. They’re making a hachnasas sefer Torah and they’re dancing on the street and singing their Sephardic songs. Now, you’re an Ashkenazi so you’re thinking, “It’s not my sefer Torah, it’s none of my business.”
But then you remember that one time you were sitting by a lecture from Rabbi Miller and he said that joining in is something too. So you say, “I too! I want to honor the sefer Torah. I also want to bring a new sefer Torah into this shul. And I’m going to join in — at least a little bit — in their happiness!”
You didn’t give any money; you didn’t even know there was such a shul around the corner. But it’s not only the money, it’s the desire to join in that matters. So you follow in with them. You clap a little also with your hands just like they’re clapping their hands. You try to sing along with their niggunim. Whatever little bit you can do, you show that you are identifying with them and the mitzvah they’re doing.
JOIN THE GREATEST PERFECTION
And by means of being nitpal l’osei mitzvah you can achieve the greatest of merit. I’ll give you an example, everyone knows that zechus harabim means benefiting the public and it’s one of greatest things that can be done. I’ll quote to you what the Chovos Halevavos says of this great deed of helping bring the public back to Judaism, back to avodas Hashem.
He says like this: “No matter how perfect you are in all the forms of shleimus, in every kind of perfection, it is as nothing compared to the perfection that comes from causing the multitude to become virtuous.” And he explains that it’s because all of their subsequent good deeds are credited to your account. Zechus harabim pays off very well in the World to Come!
But you think “What can I do already? I’m a simple Jew in Flatbush; I don’t have influence, I don’t have money.” But we’re learning tonight that by looking to join others who are performing good things there’s always something you can do. There are many ways to actually help other Jews to become loyal to Hashem, more observant in Torah. There are ways of doing it.
There’s a man who used to come here; he used to buy subscriptions for a Lubavitcher children’s magazine, Talks and Tales, that used to come out every month. Not for himself — he used to send subscriptions to Jewish families where he felt it would have an influence on them. He was a plain man; not wealthy at all, but he made an impact. And when he didn’t have enough money he would collect money from people here in the shul and buy subscriptions. Many of our people joined in with him. So every month a frum magazine was coming into people’s homes because of them.
THE JEWISH PRESS DOES KIRUV
When the Jewish Press first came out I took money out of my own pocket – I didn’t have any extra money in my pocket – and I made a deal with the editor, who at that time was Rav Simcha Weissman. I made a deal with him and he gave me a reduced price and I ordered twenty-three subscriptions. I paid half the bill out of my own pocket and the other half I got from the Synagogue and we had twenty-three people in the shul who were subscribed to The Jewish Press.
That’s something to do; you could order a subscription to the Jewish Press and and have it mailed to them every week. For a family that knows nothing about Judaism, the Jewish Press is a boon! You can call the Jewish Press and pay them to send their newspaper to other people’s homes. There’s such a thing as subscribing to frum things and sending it to other people. It might have a good effect on them.
You want to buy a different newspaper for them? Okay; there are better things than the Jewish Press. There’s a lot frum literature today. Whatever it is, every week, every month it will come to their door.
JOINING IN THE GREAT PROJECT
I tell people who have family or friends that they want to influence towards a Torah life, that it’s a good idea to send them something like that. The magazine or the frum newspaper comes in — it comes into a home where they never think about Shabbos or kashrus at all. And some homes where they do, but they never speak about Hashem in that home. And here comes into their mailbox a newspaper that’s speaking about Torah ideals, about the Am Yisroel — even kosher restaurants and kosher foods. There’s a little bit Torah there too. It opens up their eyes.
There are ways and means of doing good things, only that you have to have an interest in it. You have to be interested in wanting to join in. Now if you do that, so you’ve joined in to the great project of the Am Yisroel of trying to bring back our lost brothers. Let’s say you can’t afford it? If you desire it, you’ll find ways.
THE LITVESHE SATMERER
So when you hear about good things being done — let’s say you hear the Bobover are making a big yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel, or that the Satmarer are building a big Beis Hamedrash someplace — even though you have no connection with them; you’re not a Bobover or Satmarer, and besides you live far away; you’ll never see the Beis Hamedrash; no matter, you want to be a part of that mitzvah.
But you think, “Ah! It’s a very good thing.” You have to express happiness about it; “I too! I’m also happy!” Think, “Yes, I’m full of simcha that they did it.” Of course, if you can send five dollars, a contribution, even better. Join in whichever way you can; but at least think in your heart, “I am part of it.” And Hakodosh Boruch Hu gives you credit for taking hold of the blanket, for joining in with them.
THE HATLESS BLACK HATTER
If we had to sum up our lecture in one sentence we’d say that we must begin to join in with good people. As much as possible we try to be נִטְפָּל לְעוֹשֵׂי מִצְוָה, to those who are doing good things. And even though we ourselves sometimes might be far away from their perfection, we still identify with good ones as much as we can.
Now that’s a very important lesson. Identify with all the good Jews everywhere they are. Youjoin in with frum Jews, with all people who learn in yeshivos, with all the black hats. You see people with black hats — now, you don’t wear a black hat, you wear a yamulkah, let’s say. But you look at the black hats and you say, “I myself don’t do it, but I admire them. I belong to them. They’re my people! That’s me!”
That’s a very important lesson and it opens up for us a panorama of greatness. Don’t say, “Those black hats.” That means you’re somebody else; you’re not from them. “No! I’m a black hat man, even though I don’t wear one.”
ANA AVDA D’KUDSHA BRICH HU
Now, if you can buy a black hat, even better; that means you grabbed onto the blanket a little bit more. But even if you can’t — for whatever reason you can’t — you still can join the good ones in many ways. And the more you join them and identify with them, the more reward you get together with them.
And by means of joining we have a share together with them. That’s how important it is to take hold of the garment and say, “Me too!” And it’s so easy to do that. Because what did Yefes do after all? He just took hold of a blanket! Just to take hold and say, “I also want!” And so we all say together: אַנָא עַבְדָּא דְּקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא – “I am also a servant of Hakodosh Boruch Hu!” Did you ever sing that song? You say אַנָא, אַנָא, אַנָא – “I too! Ana, me too, ana, me too!
Now, it doesn’t mean that he’s already an eved Hashem. But he’s saying, “I too.” And if you say that, if you want to be an eved Hashem and you join in with all of the great things of the Am Yisroel — by means of action and by means of thought — so you’ll be zocheh to be part of the Am Yisroel forever and ever.
If you’re nitpal to the Am Yisroel, then you are the Am Yisroel. And membership in the Klal Yisroel entitles you to the most eternal of all rewards. כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לָהֶם חֵלֶק לְעוֹלָם הַבָּא. It doesn’t say there kol hatzadikim; itsays kol Yisroel! If you’re part of us, then you’re forever. And those people who neglect that, it’s only because they’re blind to the great truths of the Torah; to the eternal glory of joining in with our people. You don’t see it now but the Mesillas Yesharim says that the time will come when תִּבָּחֵן תּוֹלַדְתּוֹ בְּבֵרוּר וַדַּאי — In the World to Come the results are going to be clarified and demonstrated beyond any doubt. We should always keep in mind that by showing that we’re part of the Am Yisroel — that by saying, “I belong!” — we’re gaining a ticket to Olam Haba, k’pshuto. And why is that? Because we are nitpal to that great nation; we join in the avodas Hashem of kol Yisroel and are thereby zoicheh toכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לָהֶם חֵלֶק לְעוֹלָם הַבָּא.