At the beginning of this week's parsha we read about the mitzvah of vidui ma'asros. After one finishes taking off the proper tithes, he must proclaim that he has fulfilled the mitzvos associated with the produce. "I removed the holy produce from the house, and I gave to the Levi, the convert, the orphan and the widow; in compliance with all the mitzvos that You commanded me" (Devarim 26, 13). Rashi explains that this pasuk is referring to the various tithes that must be taken. One declares that he has taken tithes according to Hashem's commandment i.e. he has followed the proper order. I first removed the bikurim, then the terumah, then the ma'aser rishon and then the ma'aser sheni. Once again we see the emphasis that the Torah places on doing things with a seder.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
191 - Ki Savo
As mentioned last week, the first step in living a life with seder is making an outline of how we want our day to look. The next step is much harder - we must keep to the schedule! There will be times that we must cut a conversation short or give up an enjoyable pastime in order to maintain our schedule. Moreover, we might have to overcome feelings of lethargy, or push off less important endeavors to a later date lest our sedarim unravel. The rule with regard to seder is that he who is stubborn will succeed. If we let every excuse get in the way of the times we have designated, how much will we end up accomplishing?
Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur vol. II pg. 320) writes, we should bear in mind that success in our avodas Hashem is dependent on maintaining seder. The Alter of Kelm compares seder to the clasp on a pearl necklace. There is no question that it is the pearls which are of primary importance, but without the clasp the pearls would scatter leaving us with a mere string. So too, every human is a strand of pearls; he is composed of numerous qualities, strengths, talents and intellectual capabilities. However, if he lacks seder in his life, then all his traits will "scatter" and he will merely be left with unfulfilled potential.
We should spend a few moments at the end of each day to assess how the day went. Did we keep to our schedule or do we need to make a stronger effort tomorrow? For years, Rav Yeruchom Levovitz, the famed Mashigiach of Mir, recorded what he did with every minute of his day. We aren't on such a level just yet, but a general perusal of how the day was spent is in everyone's ballpark.