Can the Rav give us some specific advice to work on in order to be zoicheh badin, to merit a good judgement next week?
What advice can I give you as hachanah for Rosh Hashanah? I was speaking about this for the last hour – you have to learn what’s important in the eyes of Hashem. That’s the hachanah for Rosh Hashanah; to know what Hashem cares about.
And what is it that Hashem is looking for? ואל זה אביט אל עני ונכה רוח וחרד על דברי – “It is to this that I look,” Hashem says. “To the one who is chareid for My word” (Yeshaiah 66:2). “Chareid” means Orthodox – a chareidi. If you’re a frum Jew, that’s what’s important in the eyes of Hashem. It’s not just agav urcha that you’re frum. You have to learn that this is what is important. It’s not enough to say it; you have say it so many times that you begin to believe it. The frum Jew is the most important thing in the eyes of Hashem!
The Nobel Prize is not important. Suppose they would offer you the Nobel Prize, it means nothing when compared to being a frum Jew. The Vice-President is not important. If they offered you to be Vice-President, it’s nothing. It would make you crazy for nothing. Look what happened to Senator Lieberman. All of a sudden, Lieberman says that intermarriage is permissible. Can you imagine such a thing? He wants to be Vice-President and all of a sudden intermarriage is mutar. The idea of being Vice-President can turn anybody’s head. And yet, actually it’s nothing at all. You’re being chosen for what the world makes out to be important – but it means nothing to Hashem.
But, boruch Hashem, Hakodosh Boruch Hu says to us, “I have chosen you for something really important. I have made you My beloved ones.” בנים אתם להשם אלוקיכם – “You are My children,” says Hashem. And knowing that – knowing that serving Hashem is the important thing in this world – that’s the first step in preparing for Rosh Hashanah. That’s the hachanah for Rosh Hashanah. And that should be enough for you to decide that from now on you’re going to do the will of Hashem; you’re going to do the ratzon Hashem according to what He told us in His Torah.
Of course, in order to know that, you’ll have to listen. People today don’t know what Torah is. I’m speaking about the frummeh. They don’t know what the Torah is saying. You have to listen to what the Torah is teaching us and you have to know all the details. You have to learn the details as much as you can.
You can’t do teshuva if you don’t know which direction to turn. If a person wants to travel someplace, he has to have some details in order to set out. Let’s say he leaves New York but he doesn’t know which direction to go – north or south. It’s not enough to just get into your car and start driving out of the city. Where are you going ?! לא ידע ללכת אל עיר – He doesn’t know to which town he has to go to; he doesn’t know how to start to do teshuva. You have to know how to do teshuva. It’s not an easy task. You have to learn what Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants from you. It’s not enough to just rely on what you remember from your rebbi in the cheder. It’s not enough to hear a drasha on Shabbos Shuva. You have to learn the details of developing a Torah mind.
If you listen to Hakodosh Boruch Hu’s words you’ll succeed. And you’ll find them in the Mesillas Yesharim. Mesillas Yesharim is an excellent guidebook. Chovos Halevavos is an excellent guidebook as well. Shaarei Teshuva is a wonderful guidebook. You have to learn the seforim. And now is an excellent time to begin. Don’t say, “Someday I’ll do it.” Do it right now. Do it right now because that’s what Hashem wants from you.
TAPE # E-247 (September 2000)