Friday, 5 August 2011

Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness 45

This weeks Words of Prayer, Words of Kindness is prepared
L'Ilui Nishmas (For an elevation of the soul) of  
Nathan Gershon ben Nathan a"h, my late father whose Yahrzeit will be on 7th Av.

There is a wonderful story told of Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev. Rabbi Levi Yitzhak was known as an advocate for the Jewish people, always finding reasons to highlight to Hashem how precious His children are and why He should have mercy on us. In this particular story, the day prior to Pesach, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak sent his attendant out in search of a pint of beer.

The attendant knocked on the doors of the freshly cleaned homes and stated his request. Try as he might, he struggled with this task. Each time he made his request the reply was: "What? Beer!! Beer is Chametz! Tonight is Pesach and I have already cleaned my home. G-d forbid we should posses a drop of Chametz at this hour!" The attendant returned back to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak empty handed.

But, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak seemed rather pleased. He sent the attendant out once again, this time to fetch a bit of tobacco from any of the Jews in the village. Government officials had recently forbidden possession of tobacco and threatened to imprison anyone found with it. To enforce their edict, they would make surprise searches among the villagers.

Nevertheless, the attendant had little difficulty obtaining this forbidden item. He handed Rabbi Levi Yitzhak the package, but instead of smoking tobacco, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak waved the package towards heaven. Lifting his eyes and with a beaming look of pride on his face, he exclaimed, "G-d, see how precious Your commandments are to Your children! The government posts soldiers to enforce its rules and regulations, yet see how easily I was able to procure this tobacco. Almost four thousand years ago, You commanded the Jewish people to rid their homes of Chametz. Today, not a drop could be found! Your people keep Your commandments sincerely without any pressure or force!"

An interesting story is brought in the book "The Secret of Jewish Femininity" by Tehilla Abramov. The story is about a paediatrician who had been raised in a secular home and later began to observe a Torah lifestyle. One day he shared with a close friend that he was religious for two years prior to believing in G-d.

His friend was amazed and asked how it could be possible to keep Torah laws without believing in G-d.

The paediatrician gives an interesting reply: "I looked at families with Torah homes, and I saw their lifestyle. I was impressed with the women and felt they were more in touch with themselves than my contemporaries. Marriage wasn't a burden to them, but an expression of who they were. I became convinced that the excellent communication between husbands and wives and parents and children was a result of their Jewish practice. I wanted a home where these values could be realized. I wasn't going to allow my belief or lack of it to stand in the way."

May we remember what it is to be a Jew and strengthen our commitment to follow Hashem's path and laws. May our commitment to Torah be as in the first story that we will ensure if Hashem decreed something to be permitted or forbidden we follow because Hashem said so and hence it is precious to us. And when things become difficult in our lives and challenges hit, may we remember the second story and not permit our belief or lack of it to stand in the way of continuing to strive for the right path and to imbue our homes in Torah, mitzvos, love, respect, Shalom Bayis, humility, patience and all the good qualities that go into making a Jewish home so special and a light to all.

The names for this week are to be found on the Tehillim page of our website.

Shabbat Shalom to everyone. To those scheduled to fast on Tisha B'Av, may we merit Moshiach before that so we will enjoy a celebration rather than another fast. If you do need to fast, may it be an easy and meaningful fast.


1 comment:

Polly Williams said...

This is a very inspiring story and shows the power of prayer. I hope that more women will partake in the reciting of tehillims. Even if you just say a small part daily it can be a powerful action.


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