Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bilvavi Author's Shiur on Holding on to the Chagim Now Online

CLICK HERE to listen to the shiur that Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim gave on Sunday, in Ramat Beit Shemesh, on how to conduct one's self after the Chagim, in order to hold on to their roshem.

Here is a summary of the shiur. Tune in!

Holding onto the Chagim

In our tefillos on Yom Tov, we ask Hashem to enable us to carry with us the blessing of the moadim (holidays). This means that we have achieved something on the mo’ed, and we must carry it with us. What is it that we have achieved, and how do we keep it?

On chol hamo’ed (the intermediate days), we are limited in the work that we can do. We only take care of Yom Tov needs, or attend to urgent matters in order to avoid a financial loss. The simple reason for this is that we are supposed to use our time for Torah study. But it is more than a matter of having more free time. If we are focused less on this world, we have more peace of mind to concentrate on Torah and spiritual matters.

On those days, in many places, most stores are closed, so you cannot buy many things, and there is a feeling of calm in the streets. This detachment from the world is the blessing of the mo’ed, for it gives us the calmness needed for our spiritual growth.
The Ramban writes that the days between Pesach and Shavuos are like chol hamo’ed. To take the blessing with us all year, though, we should treat the entire year like the intermediate days between the mo’adim. We should not be overly involved in this world, but relate to it only as needed for the short term. We should not be so focused on long-term desires.

The holidays are called the three regalim, literally meaning “three legs.” Just as the world stands on the three pillars of Torah, worship of Hashem, and kindness, so should we stand on the three legs of the holidays. They should give us support to survive throughout the year.

In our Yom Tov tefillah, we also mention that we have become distant from our land. Why do those of us who live in the Land of Israel need to say that? The reason is that we are not able to benefit here as we could in the times of the Bais HaMikdash. A Jew used to really sense the Presence of Hashem on the mo’ed, and it is not as easy now. Yet we must try our best, and one can, with effort, achieve some connection to Hashem on the mo’ed, and this is also part of the blessing of the mo’ed.

We must evaluate what we have received from the holidays, so that we can see what we can carry along the rest of the year. Hopefully, we all benefited from Succos and Shmini Atzeres. But certainly, everyone reached some higher level on the Yamim Nora’im (Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur). We were uplifted in some way, but without an effort now, we will be like someone who was on a plane and came back to earth. G-d forbid, we can lose the entire effect of those special days.

In Kelm, the custom was that each tenth day, counting from Yom Kippur, people would spend the day thinking about how to improve and evaluating if they were faithful to their new commitments. We must do this at least for a few minutes regularly. Really, we must spend a few minutes each day to make sure we are living properly, as the Ramchal says in Derech Etz Chaim. But if we don’t spend time at least once a week or every ten days to examine ourselves, there is very little hope that next Rosh HaShanah we will be any better then we are now.

Write down the commitments you made to Hashem on the Yamim Nora’im. Then, you must regularly check what you wrote to see if you are remaining faithful to the commitments. In this way, you can carry the blessings of the holidays and hope to grow this year.
-Dixie Yid

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the third shiur I have listened to from Rav Shwartz. I think he is a very- unbelievable- communicator. Really deep and right on target. I hope that all of Klal Yisrael will rise to higher heights this year.