What is the reason for the illness called cancer?
What’s the reason for any illness? And so we’ll turn to Rashi. Rashi asks: What’s the reason for all illness? And he says, להכניע את הלב – it’s to make a person’s mind humbled. What does that mean? להכניע את הלב – The purpose of illness is to make a man humbled so that he should cry out to Hashem. The purpose is to cry out to Hashem.
Now pay attention, it says, ענו להשם בתודה – Cry out to Hashem in thanksgiving. You have a choice. You have to cry out to Hashem one way or another; so ענו להשם – Cry out to Hashem, בתודה – in thanksgiving.
An ani is a person who cries out from affliction. So you have a choice. You can cry out in thanksgiving, in happiness – when you’re well, when you’re young and everything is alright. And then there’s chalilah another way – when he has cancer, chalilah.
So cry out to Hashem now while you have the happiness option. Maybe you’ll never need anything else. Maybe you’ll be healthy up until your last minute!
But whatever it is, the purpose of everything in the world is to make you aware of Hashem. And that’s called hachna’ah. When people forget about Hashem, so He reminds them. Like when you went out of Mitzrayim, it states ויבא עמלק. So Chazal ask, why did Amalek come just then? Is that a time for Amalek to come?
The answer is, they’re walking out of Mitzrayim and they saw a mapalah of Pharaoh’s army, and so they’re all thinking, “I’m so happy.” They were loaded down with money, kesef v’zahav, all the wealth of Mitzrayim. So for a while they begin to forget – that’s how people are when things are going very well. They start enjoying their things and forget about who gave it to them. They forget about Hashem for a moment — they didn’t entirely forget, but they were mesiach da’as for a little bit. ויבא עמלק – Oh! Now they cried out to Hashem again for help. And Hashem said, “It’s good you’re reminding yourself about Me.”
“Amalek is only to remind you about Me,” says Hashem. All the troubles of this world have only one purpose – to remind you of Hashem. But if you wish to be reminded of Hashem because of the good things, then ענו להשם בתודה. Think, “What does ani mean after all?” It’s a person who cries out from poverty. But instead of being an ani, someonewhocries out in poverty, so choose the other way: ענו להשם בתודה – Cry out to Hashem in thanksgiving.
Thank him for what? “I’m not a multimillionaire,” you say. Oh yes you are. If you’re healthy, you’re wealthy. You have a good heart? You’re not running to specialists every Monday and Thursday? Everything is alright more or less? Then, boruch Hashem, you’re a millionaire. You’re a multimillionaire! And therefore you should sing to Hashem in thanksgiving. ענו – Cry out!
And that’s what the matzos says – lechem oni. So the gemara says, לחם שעונים עליו דברים הרבה – it’s a lechem on which you speak. Matzos is for the purpose of talking.
So in Mitzrayim when they ate matzos and they suffered, they cried out to Hashem for His help – that was one way of calling out. And then when they went out of Mitzrayim carrying matzah they cried out again, this time in happiness.
TAPE # E-5