Wednesday, August 13, 2014

438 - Va'eschanan

Rav Wolbe visited a cannon brigade during the Yom Kippur war. He writes (Iggros V'Kesavim II pg. 6) that he was amazed by their living conditions. They live extremely simply without any comforts. They sleep in their clothing and they do not even take off their shoes! The constant tension and the fact that they are so far from home add to the difficulty. 

He thought to himself that if only we would fight the "war of Torah" with the same mindset as those soldiers - living with only the most basic necessities - we would grow to great heights in Torah. The problem is that we think that such an existence is only for soldiers; and we're simply not soldiers. So, we allow ourselves a little more comfort, a little more relaxation and a little more fun. After all we deserve it. The result is that instead of becoming big, we remain very small people spiritually!

Unfortunately, Eretz Yisrael is once again in the midst of a war. Nothing has changed with regard to the living conditions of the soldiers. They sleep in their clothing and they shower every few days with water bottles. Most probably nothing has changed with our mindset either. "Thank goodness we don't have to live under the conditions which the soldiers live," we think to ourselves. 

Although we certainly do not expect people to begin sleeping in their clothing with their head resting on sandbags, there are definitely aspects of a soldier's lifestyle that we can incorporate into our avodas Hashem. Not everything has to be exactly perfect before sitting down to learn or embarking on a mitzvah. Grab the opportunity whenever it presents itself. Additionally, before entering the battlefield, the soldiers must give in their cell phones. Before we enter the Torah battlefield i.e. the Beis Medrash, we should also give in, or at least turn off, our cell phones. 

Summer is a time for relaxation for many. Nevertheless, let us not forget that at all times we are soldiers in Hashem's army. Our conscientiousness with our avodas Hashem has the ability to bring the soldiers fighting in Gaza home safely (and keep them home!) and restore peace to those living in Eretz Yisrael!

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