On Chanukah we hear all the time about the mesiras nefesh of the Chashmonaim. Which mitzvah could someone take upon himself nowadays to do with mesiras nefesh?
Well, it’s a good idea to accept all of them but if you’re looking for one then look in the chumash: ואהבת את השם אלקיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך. The mitzvah of loving Hashem! That mitzvah is one of the most neglected of all mitzvos.
And if you want to start on it right away without any delay, so get busy right now thinking of all the things that happened to other people. There are so many things that happened to other people that didn’t happen to you.
Love Hashem that you never had an eye operation. That’s enough of a reason to love Him. You never had an eye operation?! An eye operation – you have to go with a bandage on your eyes for weeks and weeks. You can say, “Boruch Hashem! I love You Hashem that I never had an eye operation.”
Some people never had a bone broken – you have to love Hashem for that. שומר כל עצמותיו – He guarded all of your bones, אחת מהנה לא נשברה – not one was never broken (Tehillim 34:21). Did you ever think about that? You never had a broken bone in your life?! Yes, there are some people who never broke a bone. And they have to love Hashem for that.
So get busy right now; don’t waste any more time. Now, this mitzvah actually requires mesiras nefesh; it requires everything you have – you have to love Hashem בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך. But if you’re not going to do that, at least a little bit you should love Him. And it’s not too difficult. On a small scale, it’s certainly possible. And of course, if you keep on practicing you’ll become more and more of an expert.
And so, if you’re interested in mesiras nefesh, if you wish to accept one mitzvah to do בכל נפשך, with mesiras nefesh, that’s it. And make up your mind that when you’re 119 years and 11 months and 29 days old – you have one more day left to live, so you’ll think, “My time is up already? Is this fair? I planned on living another thousand years! I have to go away from this world already?! I never promised to go away from this world. I never signed up in the Chevrah Shtarbers. So why should I have to leave the world?” At that moment think, “Hashem, I love you anyhow. Even though You’re taking me now, I love You anyhow!”
Now keep this in mind, rabbosai. At your last moment think this thought: “You’re taking my life away, Hashem – I love You anyhow.” The gemara says that בכל נפשך means אפילו בשעה שנוטל את נפשך – Even when He’s taking away your life you have to love Him anyhow. Say, “I love You anyhow!” Oh, it’s a very great zechus if you’ll think that way. You’re lucky you came tonight just to hear that – to get ready for your last moment.
Pray to Hashem that you shouldn’t be in a coma in the last moment; that you should have full awareness. And in your last moments. just before you breathe your last breath, you should say, “I love You, Hashem.”
Of course, you shouldn’t wait. Don’t wait; don’t wait! Practice it beforehand. It’s not so easy when a man’s about to die, to love Hashem. So while you’re healthy – you’re walking in the street and breathing the air and you’re full of food and your blood is coursing through you’re veins, that’s when you can learn to love Hashem. When you practice up that way, so in your last minute it’s easier.
And in that last minute, you’ll acquire a זכות גדולה עד לשמים, a tremendous merit! And that’s called dying with mesiras nefesh, with a love of Hashem.
TAPE # E-5