Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two Teachings from the CHAFETZ CHAIM

The CHAFETZ CHAIM, Rabbi Israel Me'ir HaCohen Kagan (1838 - 1933). 


I really love those teachings from the CHAFETZ CHAIM. His most famous writings are the MISHNA BERURA and, of course, SHEMIRAT HA'LASHON. When you read the latter, you always feel depressed after a few pages. How can anyone fulfill all those requirements in order not to express any kind of Lashon HaRah ? As a matter of fact, I never finished reading the book, as I got too upset. Instead I keep on learning Lashon HaRah while sitting at a women's table in Mea Shearim and listening to all the backyard gossip.:-)

Anyway, here are two great teachings from the Chafetz Chaim:

1) There was once a shopkeeper who, all his life, has never found the time to study Torah. He had been too busy with his shop all the time but now he needed a change. While the store was still full of customers who wanted to be served, the shopkeeper sat down to study. His wife had to serve all the customers and when she got fed up, she came over to complain:

"Don't you see that we have customers ? Just work and you can study Torah later on in the evening !"

The shopkeeper responded:
"What would you do when the Angel of Death was walking through the door ? Would you also tell him to hang on until you finish serving all the customers ?

After saying this, the shopkeeper continued studying.

Many times in life we work and act as if all our daily matters are the most important things on earth but, at the same time, we forget the true importance of life.

2) G – d invests much more time caring about the Rich. He provides them with money, property, expensive food and clothes. In other words, G - d looks after them much more than after the Poor. However, the Rich hardly give Him anything in return. When someone has a great life and nothing is really missing, he doesn't think too much about G - d. A poor person, on the other hand, is thanking G - d for any tiny gift he receives.

What G - d does is testing all of us. The Poor as well as the Rich. He provides so much money for the rich in order to see what they are going to do with their money. Are they remaining good and honest people or are they becoming vulnerable to corruption and crime. The poor person is getting tested as well and also he has to show how he is going to lead his life.


  1. If the Great Maker IS the One who provides these things then GM wants us (most humans) to die and suffer. For example, you said he is testing them as he gives them money. What about people who HAVE no money and yet are completely evil.

    "Good" things happen to bad people all the time.

    Another example is this, Pirkei Avot, "What is the right path a man should choose? Whatever is honorable to himself, and honorable in the eyes of others." (2:1)

    In otherwords, if I think it is honorable to kill myself via seppuku, then I suppose you're supposed to see it that way also?


  2. B"H

    To give you a simple explanation:

    Every human being in this world has his task. This is why he was created and this is his person in life. Although we don't always know what our exact purpose in life is. Many times we never find out.

    However, there are people who have a different goal than others and in order to accomplish the goal they may be provided with money. Others with another goal may only reach their when they are poor.

    It is very hard to find out G - d's intentions but I don't think that everyone poor has to suffer. There are many people who have less money but are happier than any rich person. Wealth is not everything in this world.

    On the other hand, people with money have the obligation of helping the poor. This alone is a Mitzvah and this is how the rich are able to do good.

    The path people choose can be either good or bad. The perfect choice would be the good path but there are enough people choosing the opposite. Nevertheless, this has nothing to do with anyone choosing to commit suicide.