Thursday, January 15, 2009

159 - Shemos

The very first time that Hashem spoke to Moshe, He revealed Himself in a burning bush. Rashi (Shemos 3, 2) explains that Hashem specifically chose to reveal Himself in a bush as opposed to a more impressive tree, because He too "feels anguish" when the Jewish People suffer. Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) comments that even when Hashem, so to speak, hides His presence from the Jewish People and allows them to suffer, nevertheless, he feels their every pain.

The Gemara in Brachos (3a) tells us that every time the Bnei Yisroel answer, "Amen. Yehei shmei raba" Hashem exclaims, "Woe unto my children for I have destroyed their Bais Hamikdosh and exiled them among the nations. Moreover, Hashem does not merely feel the suffering of the entire Jewish nation as a whole; He also feels the aches and pains of every individual. The Mishna in Sanhedrin (6, 5) states, when a person has a headache or a pain in his arm, Hashem says, "My head is heavy, My arm is heavy."

One of the basic ideas behind creation is that Hashem created this world with the desire to be connected to His creations. Being nosei be'ol - sharing people's burden - might be the most common way that Hashem connects to those living in this world. It is for this reason that being nosei be'ol is such a fundamental attribute. Because we are commanded to emulate all of Hashem's attributes, and His primary attribute is one of nesia be'ol, we must make every effort to acquire this trait. Since this is the ultimate manner of emulating Hashem, it is the most difficult middah to master.

The very first story that the Torah tells us about Moshe revolves around his nesia be'ol bechaveiro. Moshe leaves his palatial surroundings to see how his enslaved brethren are faring. Rashi tells us that he, "placed his eyes and heart [toward them] to feel their pain." He saw what was happening and then internalized it in his heart. He didn't merely say, "It must be so hard for you." He felt their pain as if it were his own. Moshe Rabbeinu, the quintessential embodiment of Hashem's attributes, personified this trait of nosei be'ol.

One can and should be nosei be'ol with every Jew in need. Whether rich or poor, healthy or ill, when one is suffering he needs someone with whom he can share his burden. As the war in Israel continues, it behooves us to take a few minutes to internalize what our brothers are feeling. Picture yourself driving toward the store and suddenly hearing an air raid siren go off.

You must jump out of your car and run for shelter within 60 seconds. You see there is no place within reach so you lie down on the sidewalk and cover your head with your hands - and pray with all your might that nothing happens. Likewise, visualize your child, close friend, or family member engaged in hand to hand combat in one of the most treacherous places in the world. He doesn't know what the next turn will bring. Let us emulate our Creator and truly empathize with them; and thereby bring ourselves and the entire world closer to perfection.

No comments: