Friday, December 9, 2011

Arugas Habosem: Follow and Accept Hashem's Particular Path for You

Rav Moshe Weinberger gave over a piece from the Arugas Habosem (on parshas Chayei Sara) from Hungary to illustrate the universality of the teaching from Rav Kook's Oros Hatorah that I translated here a couple of weeks ago, that each person's path in learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and in life generally is unique and that there is not only one way (*within* Torah) to serve Hashem. It also connects to the fascinating debate in the comments on the piece from the Lubavitcher Rebbe that has been going on for the last couple of days. Here is my summary of the Arugas Habosem with some of Rav Weinberger's explanations interspersed:
The pasuk in Tehillim (101:6) says "My eyes are on the faithful of the earth." Why "of the earth?" Why not "of spirit" and why not the "righteous," "pious," etc. of the earth? 
He quotes the gemara in Chulin 60a that Hashem created everything and everyone with its advance consent. The earth, prior to its creation, could have complained, "Why can't I be created, like the heavens and their hosts (angels, sefiros, etc.), to be a spiritual creation with a revealed way of serving G-d!? Why are my hosts bugs, animals, and trees!?" Instead, since the earth was in fact created, it must be that the earth responded that if being the lowly physical earth is Hashem's will for it, then it wants that too. That's why the earth is called "eretz," from the word "rotzeh," "wanting," because the earth only wanted to do Hashem's will, and not what it would have wanted for itself.
Hashem has a different plan for each person in their Avodas Hashem. Some are meant to focus on Torah, some on tefila, and some on chesed. Others are meant to go out to work and fulfill the mitzvos related to work, which are many, both in the area of between man and G-d and between man and his fellow man. And *there is no difference between whether one's service in this way or in that way.*

From this we learn that no one should complain, "Why wasn't I created with a sharper head for learning? Why do my natural inclinations or circumstances lead me to a more physical path and not a more spiritual path?" Rather, Hashem wants us to be like the earth, which faithfully accepted the "less spiritual" role Hashem had in mind for it. 
Similarly we see that Eliezer Eved Avraham served Avraham faithfully for so many years, was his partner in teaching Torah, and always longed to connect to Avraham and the Jewish people by having his daughter marry Yitzchak. Nevertheless, when Avraham broke the world-crushing news that Eliezer's daughter could not marry Yitzchak, and that he himself had to be the one to find a different wife for Yitzchak, he did not drag his feet, complain, or quit. Avraham told him to swear in the name of "the G-d of the heavens and the G-d of the earth" to remind him that Hashem is no less the G-d of the "lowly" earth than he is of the heavens. Just as the earth joyfully accepted that its role in Hashem's master plan was not to serve Hashem in an openly ruchnius'dikeh way, so too Eliezer should accept that his role was not to be connected to the Jewish people, but rather was to serve Hashem in the world of "arur," not "baruch."

We could save so much aggravation and stress if we do not feel or teach or children that there is only *one* true mesorah/derech of serving G-d. If this teaching of the tzadikim, which one recognizes as being the natural, true approach, were plastered all over Bnei Brak and Lakewood, we would have a people who know that they should serve Hashem with a ratzon in the particular way that their nature and circumstances dictate, instead of thinking that they have to be like someone else or go only in one particular way.
IY"H, we should live with this torah of the Arugas Habosem and accept our unique role in the service of Hashem with love and enthusiasm.


YY said...

Beautiful -- thanks! Rav Moshe Erez Doron, an Israeli Breslover rabbi who has authored many books (some translated into English), also emphasizes this individuality in serving Hashem.

Yosh said...

I am incredibly thankful to Hashem that he sent me to a yeshiva that (in the tradition of pre-War Slobodka) not only embraces this idea, but has an entire vaad designed to help you recognize your unique strengths and derech. It always baffles me why this is not a more widely embraced concept. It's clearly Emmes.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Wow, what yeshiva is that?