The Rav spoke tonight about learning to enjoy this world and to thank Hashem for everything. But in view of the fact that there have been great tragedies in the world, how can we really do that? Shouldn’t the mere knowledge of the great Holocaust that our nation experienced in Europe sober us?
That’s not a sincere attitude. It’s just an excuse to be lazy; It’s not sincere at all.
I’ll tell you a story. Years ago, I was speaking to a group about the importance of spending their spare time in learning. If you have any spare time at all, you should be learning always. So this gentleman said, “What about doing chesed for other people? There are needy people, people who need your help; how can you sit and learn?” So I said to him, “When you’re playing cards, do you ask yourself that question?” When a man is playing cards does he say, “What am I doing here? I have to be helping people.” No, never. Only when it comes to learning Torah, then you discover that you have to help people.
Here’s a man who tells me, “Why are there so many Yeshiva men? They should be out on the streets doing kindness, not sitting on the benches in the beis midrash.” So I said to him, “Look outside, look out the window on Ocean Parkway. You see men sitting on the benches playing chess. All day long sitting and doing nothing. Now, did you ever tell them that they shouldn’t be sitting on benches on Ocean Parkway, that they should be out on the streets doing chesed? No, it never even crossed your mind. It’s only when you see the yeshiva man sitting and learning, that’s when you remember all the kindness that must be done.” So it’s not the sitting on the benches that is bothering you; it’s the the sitting on the benches in the beis midrash. Don’t fool yourself. You must recognize your motivations.
And so too, you must recognize the motivation of this question. So when you’re enjoying this world – and all of you are enjoying the benefits of this world – don’t use the Holocaust or any other tragedy as an excuse to be lazy. It’s not the Holocaust that is preventing you from thanking Hashem for all the kindness that He bestows upon you. Because you have no worries about the Holocaust when it comes to all the good times that you make sure to fill your life with. So don’t use the tragedies that you hear about, as an excuse to have a lazy mind and not focus on thanking Hashem. You just keep thanking Hashem, and don’t worry about the Holocausts just then.
TAPE # 641