Recently, people were asking me, “When is the next ‘Let’s Be Real’ Kuntres coming out discussing the situation in the world?” At first I responded, “At this point, who isn’t real? Why do you need a kuntres?” But after multiple requests, I realized that like everything in life, inspiration wears off and messages are often forgotten. So here we are, back for some more inspiration.
Our goal with this Kuntres, entitled “The Last Battle”, is to take whatever we say to heart and then implement it into action. We need to take all the inspiration to battle, so we don’t fall. If we do fall, chas v’shalom, we will rise like a lion and triumph over the yetzer hara so when Moshiach comes, we won’t be embarrassed. On the contrary, we will feel accomplished that we have won the battle.
At this point, there is much confusion in the world, and people are looking for inspiration and guidance. Obviously, it’s important to connect yourself to a Rebbe or a Gadol for hadracha in these turbulent times. At the same time, inspiration can benefit everyone, especially during these times.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this Kuntres is not to arouse fear or anxiety, rather it is to create an awareness in order that we focus on the task that is required of us at the current time.
Note: It is recommended to read the entire Kuntres, but if one doesn’t have time or patience to go through the entire kuntres, one should at least read part 5 through 7.
For more inspiration call 848-777- GROW
Please do not read during davening.
באתי בשורות קצרות אלו לחזק ולעודד את ידידי הנכבד והמפואר הר״ר פינחס הלוי שליט״א שהוא ידוע לי כתלמיד חכם ובעל יראת שמים ועובד ה’ שעמל בכח רב להוציא דבר יקר, קונטרס מלא יראת שמים ומלא דברי מוסר המעורר לבבות של בני האדם לבא ולחשוב חשבונו של עולם ולהתעורר ממקרי הזמן המתרגשים ובאים בעולם ולהתגבר על הנסיונות המתחדשות בכל יום, וחזקה על חבר שאינו מוציא מתחת ידו דבר שאינו מתוקן, ואברך אותו שבכל יום אשר יפנה יצליח ומובטחני שכל המעיין בדבריו היוצאים מן הלב יתעורר לחזק עצמו להתקרב לאבינו שבשמים.
ועל זה באתי על החתם היום
שלמה רפאל לאווי
The Last Battle
Just a mere few weeks ago, the headlines in all the papers were screaming “Israel at war”. Hamas infiltrated Eretz Yisrael, and committed horrific acts of terror. Rockets were flying, and many people ran for the shelters. There was a deafening silence from at least fourteen hundred dead, many injured, and many hostages.
Following the attack, the Israeli government responded with tremendous force as they bombed Gaza mercilessly, non-stop. Following that, a hospital in Gaza blew up and they blamed it on Israel. As usual, Israel is being condemned by the entire Muslim world, especially Iran, who is promising revenge.
America and other countries have sent warships and war is brewing. Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and many others are threatening Israel that they will suffer the consequences. Apparently Israeli leaders (the Zionists) are not afraid of anyone [including Hashem, as they believe in their own might]. They obviously have not learned their lesson from the horrifying incident.
As this Kuntres is being written, the army has entered Gaza and the Middle East is in upheaval, like never before. Rockets are flying and bombs are being dropped all over the place. Hezbollah and Israel are fighting heavily. China has sent ships already. Russia has gotten involved, and Iran is getting ready to attack.
This is all a loud Shofar coming from our Father in heaven. Eretz Yisrael is in a עת צרה and everyone in the world is in a עת צרה. Baruch Hashem, Klal Yisroel is not standing idly by. They heard the call of the Shofar and Klal Yisroel got together as one to daven to Hashem. More than just a regular davening, they are pouring out their hearts to their Father in heaven, beseeching Him for mercy.
However, as we will explain, davening for mercy is only part of the tefilla. Furthermore, we need to know, is this enough that we daven a few perakim a day? Maybe we should be saying more. Is there something more that we can do during these difficult times as well? B’ezras Hashem, we will explore this together and we will get chizuk and grow together so we walk away from this Shofar with the proper התעוררות.
After the horrific incident on Shemini Atzeres, a few people contacted me with an innocent question. With “wild animals” on the loose, perhaps it is time to arm ourselves? Obviously, many people would say, “Of course not. We need to have Bitachon.”
However, it is not so simple at all. The danger is quite intense and there is a concept of השתדלות. We are commanded ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם. Many people are unaware of the extent of the danger we are facing–whether because they are not informed or they are in denial. Indeed, the attitude of denial is dangerous because these people will not be motivated to daven for a Yeshua, and it’s vital that we daven before the צרה is right in front of us r”l.
Someone with the proper Emuna and Bitachon has a new set of laws, and perhaps he is exempt from השתדלות as he relies totally on Hashem. Obviously, everyone should consult with daas Torah for these decisions. However, I will say this.
Someone who purchases arms with the attitude of “never again” should know that this is total kefira, as this is the result of being influenced by the secular world, and the Zionists who believe in כחי ועוצם ידי. Such a person should examine what just happened in Eretz Yisroel, as the concept of ועוצם ידי כחי has just collapsed.
But even if one gets permission from his Rav, I would like to say the following. If you analyze the story of Purim, you may ask the following question. We know that there was a gezeira to wipe out all the Yidden r”l. Why were the Yidden so frightened that they fasted for three days and nights? As the expression goes א איד גיט זיך אן עצה“.“ Perhaps they could go hide in caves, or dress up like non-Jews, with the appropriate changes to their passports.
We know that when the Nazis, yimach shemam, tried exterminating all the Yidden, they attempted various plans and failed. So why did the Yidden think that Haman would be successful?
I believe the answer is that when Haman (and Achashveirosh, his puppet) made the decree to annihilate all the Yidden, the Yidden felt overwhelming feelings of unity among themselves. At that point, they came to the recognition that they are one big family. How? By the fact that Haman wanted to kill every last Yid, this reminded them of their tremendous achdus.
Therefore, they realized that even if perhaps one’s individual family would survive the decree, but everyone was concerned about the rest of their family– Klal Yisroel. Many of them would definitely be killed r”l. Therefore, the pervasive feeling was that it was not a solution to run away while the rest of the family was being destroyed. Feeling cornered, they fasted and cried out to Hashem, and the rest is history.
However, it goes even deeper than that. When the sealed decree went out to annihilate all the Jews, they came to the recognition that such a decree was coming straight from Hashem. They understood that Hashem was blowing a great Shofar calling out to them שובו בנים שובבים. So instead of running away from their problem, they went to the root of their problem and they did a full Teshuva, which brought about their salvation as we know it.
Rabbosai! Chazal tell us that at the end of times if we don’t do Teshuva, Hashem will send a מלך קשה כהמן. Currently, we are standing at a time when the Arabs want to kill every single Yid r”l. The head of Hamas [who qualifies as a Haman] has called on the Arab world to kill all Yidden r”l, and we are seeing great achdus emerging once again.
We must not ignore the call. We must not say, “They can never do such a thing. We have police. We have the army and other securities which are all full of emptiness. We cannot trust anyone at all with these millions of loose פרא אדם.” Will all this happen? We hope and pray that not, but can we take any chances? Absolutely not.
The question one may ask is, “Okay, I am getting scared now, but what should I do? Should I quickly arm myself?” As we said earlier that is a decision for daas Torah. Essentially, at this time we need to focus [key word] on a few things. Obviously, there is so much to do, but time is running out and we need to stay focused otherwise we won’t acquire anything.
Before we start, we need to realize that the wars that are being fought on this world are wars in Shomayim, as well. Furthermore, yes, we are all in a tremendous battle with the Yetzer Hara who is fighting for his life. With Hashem’s help, we will discuss some concepts that are crucial to work on during these awesome days.
- תורה עבודה וגמילת חסדים – Obviously, I won’t be מאריך on these subjects, as each one needs an entire kuntres dedicated to it. However, I will leave a few pointers on each of them so we will try to be mechazek ourselves in these vital areas.
Torah – Torah is our source of life. Without Torah we do not have any existence of life. We connect to Hashem through the Torah. Furthermore, Torah is our weapon to fight the Yetzer Hara in general, as Chazal tell us. Moreover, Torah is our weapon to fight our physical enemies, which at this time, includes Yishmael and other nations as well. Chazal tell us that it’s in the zechus of Torah that we will be redeemed from this Galus.
Therefore, it should go without saying that at a time like this when the Yetzer Hara is so strong, while our enemies are showing hatred and are threatening to kill us and Moshiach is at our door, we need to strengthen ourselves in Torah, like never before. This includes learning ברציפות with a geshmak and with much concentration. The Derech Hashem and others say that when we learn, we must be cognizant that we are learning Toras Hashem.
One more point: The Chasam Sofer says a tremendous chiddush. He says that on Rosh Hashana there is a גזרה how many wars there will be on the world during that year. However, if we have מלחמתה של תורה then this can subtract from the physical wars that are going on in the world. Perhaps this is included in what Chazal meant when they said that Moshiach will come in the zechus of Torah. Because wars are vital for Moshiach and Torah can take their place, as we are explaining.
Tefilla – Tefilla is also a way to connect to Hashem in a very deep way. Tefilla represents our relationship with Hashem. It’s through Tefilla that the Geula started in Mitzrayim, and Tefilla will start the Geula process before Moshiach. It seems that we have arrived at that time, b’ezras Hashem. Our main weapon against our enemies is through Tefilla, as Yaakov Avinu said בחרבי ובקשתי and the Targum says בצלותי ובבעותי. That’s what Yitzchok Avinu teaches us that הקול קול יעקב. This is our power.
A few points of chizuk in Tefilla: Before starting to daven, one should remind oneself a few times, “I am going to be ״עומד לפני המלך. One can have this in mind when saying the word אתה, as well. Rav Schwab in his sefer on Tefilla explains that all the different tefillos that we say up until Shemona Esrei get us closer and closer to the קודש הקדשים which represents עומד לפני המלך.
When we start davening the first bracha of Shemona Esrei, we need to say all the words with kavana. Obviously, the Yetzer Hara will get in the way and we need to fight like a soldier. A soldier is one hundred percent focused on his mission. We should also be focused when we do any mitzva, especially tefilla, and especially the first bracha.
It’s brought down in the Rishonim that if one has difficulty concentrating throughout the Shemona Esrei, one should at least have kavana at the end of each Bracha. That is something that we can keep in mind when we have challenges with our tefilla. Preparation is always beneficial.
Another thing is to put a great amount of energy, concentration, and yearning when we get up to the brachos that discuss Moshiach. By paying attention to what we are saying, we will notice how often we daven for the Geula.
One last point: At this time many people are storming the heavens with tefillos for אחינו בית ישראל who are at the battlefront and those who are being held hostage. Yes, we should continue to daven for their safety. However, as the Chasam Sofer and the Pele Yoetz say, we must not forget the objective here–to daven for the Geula.
Let’s be honest. Whenever something happens to us, it’s a message for us to do teshuva. But when the entire world is churning with wars, death, destruction, hostages, hurricanes, earthquakes, sickness, the loss of our gedolim r”l and much more, we need to ask ourselves a simple question. Did Hashem do all of this just in order that we should do a teshuva–whether it’s to correct our shaitels, lashon hara or to control our access with the internet? Certainly not. Obviously, it’s all part of the message. Chazal tell us that when we see all of the above, it means it’s time to anticipate Moshiach.
This past Chol Hamoed Rav Avraham Schorr shlit”a said: “Do you know why we were zoche for the rain to stop the first night of Sukkos after seven days of heavy rain? It was because Yidden cried out to Hashem that they want to be mekayem the mitzva of sukka.” Rav Schorr then cried out and said, “Rabbosai, if we would cry out for the Geula, oy would we get answered.” He then said that imagine that people would hear r”l there are active shooters on the streets and they are killing people. How would we react? We would cry out “Ribbono Shel Olam take us out of America.”
Chessed – אהבת ישראל – At this time we should be extra careful not to hurt peoples’ feelings, only love going forward. One of the greatest pains we cause Hashem is when we give another Yid pain and we can’t get along. Indeed, the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed from שנאת חנם. On the other hand, the Rambam teaches us that the greatest form of chessed is when you give chizuk to another Yid. Let’s get to work.
We see that Yishmael’s strength comes from his chessed and his achdus. We need to fight him with our chessed and achdus that we show, especially in a time like this when Yishmael is causing us tzaar, and threatening us.
2. Teshuva – I would like to bring what Reb Moshe Sorotzkin keeps reiterating these days. Many people have finally awakened to realize that Moshiach is at the door. However, some people are missing the boat. They walk around saying that Moshiach is coming, but they don’t anything about it. We need to get ready to greet Moshiach.
As we know, there are four basic steps to teshuva that one should be doing on a daily basis. They are: ווידוי, חרטה , עזיבת החטא, קבלה על העתיד. This also needs time, and we need to take off time from our daily schedule to achieve it. One recommended way to this is to use the יסוד התשובה from Rabbeinu Yonah [Some people prefer using their own words – whatever works].
However, there is a kind of teshuva that takes us to the next level, to living on another plane. It is just like during the עשרת ימי תשובה when we live our lives differently. We try to better our relationships both with Hashem and our fellow Yid [as brought down in Shulchan Aruch]. Our davening, our learning, and our Mitzvos are done with more intensity and love. We are more focused and mindful on our avodas Hashem in general.
I remember hearing after the Gulf War when there was a huge wave of teshuva swept Eretz Yisroel that one of the Gedolim said that it seemed as if the non-religious took advantage of it. At this time, let us ensure that we take advantage of the התעוררות for Teshuva.
3. Emuna and Bitachon – We need to internalize that אין עוד מלבדו. We are puppets in the hands of Hashem. No one can lift a finger to us if Hashem does not allow it. We need to internalize this concept over and over again until we feel it in our bones. We need to learn about it. There are Seforim, books and hotlines that will help you master this fundamental concept. However, like everything else, we need to take time from our busy schedules to work on this.
Practical Idea: Write a list of pesukim of Emuna and Bitachon on a card and carry it with you, and refer to it when you feel stressed or anxious.
4. Kabbalos and Haschalos – When Moshiach comes, all our שאיפות will come to fruition. Rav Chatzkel Levenstein zt”l says that during עקבתא דמשיחא we should be making התחלות – beginnings, whether beginning new limudim or learning mussar.
I would like to add another concept: We should be making קבלות to finish Shas and other limudim, and then get started. We should make קבלות to work on our middos, and get started. Rabbeinu Yona states in a few places that once one makes a sincere kabbala to do something, it’s considered as if it is was already done. This is mind boggling, if you think about it. Let’s get started. What are we waiting for?
5. Brachos – At this time our Brachos should be made with more kavana and joy.
Recently there was a young man, Yossi who was niftar r”l due to “the machla” that he had for a few years. Not long before his passing, he underwent surgery to remove his stomach r”l. At the shiva his brother related how after they removed his stomach, he was not allowed to drink by mouth for eight weeks. He was fed his fluids through IV only. We can only imagine the yissurim that he endured during those eight weeks was beyond words. Finally the day arrived that the doctor allowed him to drink a little bit of water.
At that point my friend took out his phone and showed me the heart wrenching video of his brother when he got that cup of water. Yossi took the cup of water, closed his eyes and made a slow, heartfelt bracha, saying each word carefully and with lots of feeling. Then he took a sip of water. There was a look of delight on his face as he exclaimed,“Ah, water”.
After I saw this video, it changed my approach to making brachos for a while and I hope it keeps up, but there is a lot to learn from this episode. Firstly, although he was dying for that drink, he still made the bracha slowly, as if the Bracha was more meaningful than the drink, which is true. We need to internalize that. In fact, there is an approach that the reason why Hashem created food was so that we can praise Him through brachos.
Secondly, I noticed that he closed his eyes when he made the bracha. This is one of the keys to a meaningful brachos. When we make a bracha we are connecting to Hashem and not to the food. We can look at the food before the bracha to get an appreciation, but not during the bracha.
The third lesson is that we need to learn to enjoy even something as simple as a cup of water. How do we recapture this lesson on a daily basis? One idea is [as we will go more into it later more at length] to remind ourselves constantly that EVERYTHING IS A GIFT FROM HASHEM. Even a cup of water.
Moreover, we need to have kavana with everything we do. Many times we may take a drink or eat something and we are not aware of the fact that we ate something. So next time when you eat or drink look at the food and take a moment to appreciate–that you have food and drink and that you can eat and drink. Remember, Yossi’s cup of water.
At this point, some of you may be wondering why I am getting carried away. What is so special about the time we are currently in? Let me explain. I would like to draw a correlation between the past month of Elul, the ימים נוראים, the Yom Tov Sukkos, and our situation. I think it’s fascinating.
We know that when Elul arrives there is a tremendous fear that descends on the world [at least it is supposed to be like that, as it used to be]. It’s ushered in with the blast of the Shofar calling us to wake up from our slumber. Similarly, three and a half years ago we heard a loud call of a Shofar which they call COVID [Corona virus]. This brought lots of fear to the world.
Every day in Elul we blow the Shofar and say לדוד ה’ אורי to remind us to wake up as the big day is approaching. Similarly, in the past three and a half years we had constant blasts of the Shofar that kept happening. Whether it was Surfside, Meron, the bleachers in Stolin, BLM, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, inflation, or the wars that kept getting worse and worse. The death toll in Russia and Ukraine is staggering.
After Elul, Rosh Hashanah arrives, and on this day we don’t blow the Shofar just once, rather we blow one hundred sounds. It’s a day of a tremendous awakening. It’s a day that we crown Hashem as our king and we are being judged if we will be zoche to a new lease on life.
Similarly, this שמיני עצרת was like the Shofar of Rosh Hashana. Whether it was the cries of all the victims who died על קידוש השם , or the cries of the babies who were killed in such a horrible way, mingled with the cries of the hostages who were tortured r”l. The revolution of the many people doing the mitzvos of tzitzis and tefillin was similar to the קבלת עול מלכות שמים of Rosh Hashana.
Now I believe that we are standing in the days that are like the עשרת ימי תשובה. During the עשרת ימי תשובה when our life is hanging on a balance, we need to do Teshuva constantly, and this is the essence of the current days. This is the חובת השעה.
I heard of a teacher who came into class this year during the עשרת ימי תשובה and walked around the class with this question, “Did you do Teshuva today? Did you do Teshuva today?” The students turned red with shame and they shook their heads no. The teacher said that we see that many times in life we arrive at our destination, “but we can miss the boat”.
Similarly, we are standing in a similar time like עשרת ימי תשובה where our life seems to be hanging r”l. We don’t know what the future will bring, and we are hoping for the best, but we cannot forget to do Teshuva. We need to do both types of Teshuva, as we mentioned. First, the basic Teshuva, as we explained. Also, we must do Teshuva and try to better our relationships with Hashem and his fellow Yid.
As we explained, currently, our life is hanging in the balance, as the world is in much upheaval–the Arabs want to kill all Yidden on this planet r”l. Therefore, we should be doing Teshuva and we are looking forward to a Yom Kippur when Hashem will sprinkle מים טהורים on us similar to the day of Yom Kippur. When Moshiach comes, Hashem will heal our hearts similar to Yom Kippur.
As we know, before Yom Kippur we need to rectify our sins before, whether between ourselves and Hashem or man to man, as is brought in Shulchan Aruch. So, too, at this time, we need to mend our relationships, both with Hashem and with our fellow Yid.
After this, we will anticipate the סוכת דוד הנופלת to return to our midst, and we will we have זמן שמחתינו like never before, as Dovid Hamelech tells us אז ימלא שחוק פינו. There will be much singing and dancing like during the days of Sukkos, but that will be on a regular day as well. This is why the Yamim Tovim will become בטל at the time of Moshiach, because every day will be a Yom Tov. At that time the non- Jews will be included and they will bring Korbanos similar to Sukkos, when we bring the פרי החג.
We conclude with שמיני עצרת which is a Yom Tov when only Klal Yisroel spends the Yom Tov together with Hashem. This represents the time of תחיית המתים, when only Klal Yisroel will be with Hashem. May we all be zoche to be there.
ענוה and שבירת המדות – Are you are wondering why I singled out ענוה if we are discussing שבירת המדות? For two reasons: Firstly, the Seforim [ [אגרת הרמבן teach us that ענוה is the catalyst that can bring us all the other wonderful Middos. So as time is running out, we need to grab ענוה because this will bring us to the others. [For your convenience, the אגרת הרמב”ן is included at the end of the Kuntres.]
Secondly, there are many pesukim that show that ענוה is the way to acquire Eretz Yisroel. Furthermore, there are Meforshim that explain that the reason why Noach was saved from the mabul was as it says in the passuk, ונח מצא חן בעיני ה’. They explain that the cause of this חן was his humility, his ענוה.
We see that although Noach could have been dragged into the mabul together with everyone else r”l, but his ענוה saved him. So too ענוה can save a person from חבלי משיח, as well.
When COVID hit the world a few years ago, Rav Chaim Kannievsky zt”l was asked what our Avoda was. Rav Chaim gave guidance and one of the things he said was to work on was anava – humility.
Let me tell you a chiddush [that’s not really a chiddush when you think about it]. We need to realize that it’s the truth. Most of us that live in America have been influenced by the Americans–some more and some less. One prevalent American attitude is that the world revolves around me–my car, my house, my family, my Shul, my seat, and the list goes on.
A friend of mine that went somewhere for Shabbos and sat in an empty seat in shul. As davening began, a man walked up to him and told him, “What a chutzpa! You took my seat.” My friend turned red with shame and quickly made an escape.
This is an extreme example as most people wouldn’t do that. However, many of us live with the attitude that this is mine and that’s mine. As if it rightfully belongs to me. As the saying goes, עס קומט מיר.
Furthermore, our daily schedules are full of what do “I” need to do this time and at that time. All our time is spent with what we/I have to do. The bottom line is that many of us live for ourselves and the world at large revolves around us. Obviously, as Yidden we have our obligations to Hashem and to others, but life is pretty much all about ourselves.
However, we need to recognize that this is a totally false way of life. Hashem is the center of the universe and we revolve around Him. We don’t deserve anything and everything is pure chessed Hashem. In essence, everything belongs to Hashem, our Father. Graciously, He shares it with us, His children. We take it for granted like most children who take their parents for granted (which is another whole discussion).
Time is also a gift from Hashem, and we need to use our time wisely. In America there is a concept of “killing time”. The Baalei mussar say that not only is this terribly wrong, but what we are doing is killing ourselves in the process. We are killing chunks of our life, and it’s not ours to kill, as we explained.
If we live like this, it makes waiting for the Geula much more difficult, if you think about it. What Moshiach means to us is uprooting myself from the place I grew up. It means changing my way of life and living a higher life infused with Kedusha. Some people’s imagination take them on a wild journey what it will be like when Moshiach comes, and they don’t feel ready.
The truth is that the שם משמואל explains that in a sense, this was the נסיון of Avraham Avinu of לך לך. Hashem wanted him to change His whole lifestyle and place he was used to. So how did Avraham pass this test? It says in the passuk ‘וילך אברם כאשר דבר ה. He went with הכנעה, with joy because this is what Hashem wanted from him. He understood that everything is from Hashem and he doesn’t have a say.
Similarly, if we work on ענוה to be like our forefather Avraham, and we recognize that we don’t have anything and that the world revolves around Hashem, this will change our life drastically. Our day will get a new outlook, as we explained. Furthermore, it will be much easier to be מצפה לישועה. If Hashem wants to bring the Geula, we are ready to go.
– שמירת שבת Shabbos is the core essence of a Yid. Shabbos is the time we connect to Hashem with so much depth. It’s a big discussion and it’s not within the scope of this Kuntres. However, I will say this. It’s clear from Chazal that Shabbos serves as a protection from חבלי משיח, as we say in the Zemiros מעין עולם הבא יום שבת מנוחה כל המתענגים בה יזכו לרוב שמחה מחבלי משיח יוצלו לרווחה.
Keeping Shabbos with all its halachos and up keeping its kedusha is not simple at all. For starters, we need to learn the many halachos, and B”H we were blessed with many Seforim, books, and Shiurim that one can listen when they are traveling. So let’s get started.
However, there is another part which we just mentioned and that’s the Kedusha of Shabbos. That is to treat Shabbos with Kedusha and to make sure that it has no connection to the week. This includes our conversations, our Seudos and the reading material.
Some Tzaddikim would only speak Lashon Hakodesh on Shabbos, while others wouldn’t speak devarim beteilim at all on Shabbos–only divrei Torah. These are lofty madreigos, but we need to sanctify Shabbos as much as we can.
Tosfes Shabbos is also very important. Many people don’t realize the significance. Some people may think that it was given to make it convenient for our schedule. The simple idea is that with adding on to Shabbos we are showing our love for Shabbos. We are showing Hashem that we want to connect with Him, which is the essence of Shabbos.
There is a true story that happened in Lakewood many years ago [you can do your research]. There was one Shabbos that the entire Lakewood decided to add on Tosfes Shabbos, because of a tzara. That Shabbos, Hatzolah of Lakewood reported that there was not one call the entire Shabbos. Unlike the previous Shabbosim ,where they have had multiple emergency calls.
As we stand today in a time that the entire word is rocked with wars and uncertainty, and we seem to be at the brink of מלחמת גוג ומגוג, what can be better than being mechazek ourselves in all these areas of Shabbos Kodesh. Especially the three Seudos which Chazal say will serve as protection from חבלי משיח. Let’s get involved.
שמירת עינים והלשון – I won’t elaborate on these as many seforim and speakers have already elaborated on their importance. Therefore I will not go into detail, but I will say this.
We know that these areas are very difficult and challenging and the Yetzer Hara does not leave us alone. However, we need to realize that we are almost there B’ezras Hashem. Just a few more steps and we will be there. We need to stay strong and fight with all our might.
As mentioned, we are in middle of a great battle and we are the soldiers who are fighting. A soldier needs many different כחות הנפש to fight. One of the most important traits a soldier needs is Mesiras Nefesh.
מסירת נפש – One thing that will be lacking when Moshiach comes is Mesiras Nefesh. It’s in the dark Galus that we find ourselves in that we can be moser nefesh for the mitzvos. When we are moser nefesh, we are showing that we are soldiers.
Mesiras Nefesh is a very powerful way to show Hashem how much we love Him. There are many, many stories of Mesiras Nefesh involving our grandparents and their peers during the War to keep the mitzvos under the nose of the Nazi beasts. Many of them are so moving that we can just sit and cry. The love that they showed was legendary.
We don’t have their nisyonos, but we have our own nisyonos, especially in the areas of שמירת עינים והלשון. Recently there was a huge Asifa in Lakewood regarding our war with the Internet. It was a lengthy Asifa, but the bottom line was that we need Mesiras Nefesh. Both for men and women it’s a great battle, and we need to give it all we got, like our grandparents who were moser nefesh over the years to be shomer Torah U’mitzvos.
We need to realize that we are in middle of a fierce battle with the ס”מ and he is targeting our weak points, which are truly the source of our strength. We need to fight with all our might like a soldier at the front to guard our eyes and our mouths (both what comes in and what comes out).
I would like to point out something very interesting. You may have not noticed as you need to be in tune with this. In the past few months almost every time that it rained it was either Friday or Shabbos and sometimes both. To me it’s pretty clear why it was like that. Hashem ברוב טובו wants to give us opportunities for mesiras nefesh. During the week, we are usually indoors and then we do go out we go into the car. On Fridays we are going around shopping, and on Shabbos we cannot go by car. This gives us opportunities for מסירת נפש.
Shabbos Parshas Noach on Shabbos many houses lost power. On Erev Shabbos Parshas Lech lecha many houses lost power an hour and a half before Shabbos. Interestingly, the weather was eighty five degrees in middle of Fall, and it was on Shabbos.
This year starting right before Yom Kippur on Friday night it rained for seven days, making our preparations for Sukkos extremely difficult. Whether it was shopping for Sukkos or building the Sukkos, it was extremely difficult.
One can ask the following question: When Moshiach comes it will still rain, so we will still need Mesiras Nefesh. The answer is simple. Imagine you were told that if you would walk a few blocks you will receive ten million dollars, would you feel any discomfort in the rain? Absolutely not. At that time we will realize that Torah and tefila are the most precious things in this world, so going through the rain won’t be a challenge.
Furthermore, at that time we will realize fully the blessing of rain and we will dance in the rain. The seforim explain that one of the main differences between now and when Moshiach comes is that we will feel it in our bones. This will bring much dancing.
צפית לישועה – We are reaching the climax now. This topic is very broad and we will not cover a fraction. However, like almost everything there is a starting point from which one can keep growing. Therefore, I will try to give important understanding that will get us started in this tremendous fundamental concept.
This concept is so vital that it is one of the first questions they ask a person after he leaves this world. The question is why is this so vital, that it would seem that it’s part of the core essence of a Yid. Let’s explore.
I heard a drasha on צפית לישועה from Rav Uri Deutsch shlita and I came out with the following understanding. Chazal teach us that in Mitzrayim by the plague of choshech there were two groups of Yidden. There were those who wanted to leave and there were those who did not want to leave. The ones who wanted to leave were able to leave, but the ones who did not were not zoche to leave and they died at that time. How do we understand this?
The answer is that Hashem took the Yidden out of Mitzrayim to make them the עם סגולה. He raised them to tremendous heights in Kedusha when they left Mitzrayim, on that night of Pesach and Kriyas Yam Suf. Then He raised us to tremendous heights by giving us the Torah and Mitzvos. All this Hashem granted us from above.
However, in order to receive the light of Kedusha one must be a vessel to receive it. That is if one yearns to leave the tuma that he is wallowing in, and he wants to be elevated to Kedusha, that makes him a vessel to receive all the gifts from Hashem. However, there were רשעים who were content with their situation, and they didn’t yearn to leave, therefore, they weren’t the vessel to receive the Kedusha.
Unfortunately, a person can get used to his surroundings. I used to visit a sick person who couldn’t take care of himself, but he refused to go to a nursing home. Due to his condition, he wouldn’t throw out the food and the apartment emitted odors beyond your imagination. I remember walking in the first time. I thought my end was here and I made a getaway. However, I forced myself to come back and after a while I actually got used to it. This is the power of רגילות.
Furthermore, if one would be raised in a sewer system, the child would get used to the smells and it wouldn’t bother him too much. He doesn’t really know better, and this is the smell he grew up with.
Rabbosai! We grew up in a filthy sewer system. It smells and wreaks. The air is so polluted and contaminated with tuma, it’s mind boggling. This is all over the world, but especially in our society, the דור המבול. There are those people who stay in the תיבה of the Batei Midrash and they feel safe and pure.
However, they also need to go places from which they get affected. Furthermore, they also need to think of their brothers, the people who need to go on a daily basis to terrible contaminated places r”l. We need to review this over and over that we are in a sewer.
They say that the Kotzker Rebbe at the end of his life put himself into quarantine. Once when someone was a bit hot, he opened the window. The Kotzker told him to shut the window immediately. He added these words עס שטינקט אין דרויסען”” – It stinks outside. This is more than enough of a reason to want to leave Galus.
The truth is that one of the main definitions of a Yid is a person who wants to grow, a person who wants to come closer to Hashem. Therefore, one of the first questions they ask a person in בית דין של מעלה is צפית לישועה ? In a general sense the question is, “Were you a person who wanted to leave the tuma behind to start growing properly, or were you complacent with your current situation r”l. This is the essence of a Yid.
Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l would often say that not being מצפה לישעה comes from a lack of שאיפות. Rav Uri Deutsch shlita explains that ימות המשיח is a time that all our שאיפות will come to fruition. A Yid should feel that he doesn’t want to do aveiros because he understands that he is rebelling against Hashem and he is making a Churban. However, we live in a time that the Yetzer Hara is on the loose and it’s so difficult, but this is not what he wants r”l
Learning Torah and retaining one’s learning may be difficult for many. We want to be able to retain our learning. Getting a connection to Torah and mitzvos is very difficult when our hearts are like a rock. At the same time, we yearn that our hearts should become soft once again.
In general, the הסתר פנים in Galus is very difficult as the tzaros intensify. Many people feel numb and distant from Hashem, and we cry out נפשי חולת אהבתך. We are nebach sick and we need to be healed. So we daven אנא קל נא רפא נא לא בהראות לה נועם זיוך. This, my friends, is called שאיפות.
A bachur once came to the Slonimer Rebbe zt”l and he cried out, “I have so many שאיפות. I want to learn so much. I want to work on my Middos. I try this and I try that but I don’t end up accumulating too much. He concluded that he thinks that when he dies it will say on his מצבה the following “פה נטמן בעל שאיפות.” The Rebbe retorted, “If I would see such a מצבה, I would run over and say Tehillim by such a מצבה”. This is the essence of a Yid, as we explained.
In order to receive the אור חדש that’s descending בע״ה בקרוב we need to be a כלי קיבול to be מקבל the tremendous אור. How? Firstly, by doing the basic teshuva. The Chafetz Chaim says in a few places that we don’t need the highest level of teshuva to be zoche to Geula. The reason can be because the idea is to be a כלי קיבול to be worthy of Geula (when the time comes).
We can compare this to the כפרה of Yom Kippur. That even according to the חכמים that hold that one needs teshuva to get the כפרה, they agree that Yom Kippur is what brings כפרה. They just hold that one needs teshuva to be a כלי קיבול to get the וזרקתי עליכם מים טהורים.
Rav Meilich Biederman brings the story with Elisha and the oil (Haftara Vayeira). A woman was told to bring as many כלים as possible as a נס was about to occur. He brings those that are מדייק that she was supposed to being even broken כלים. If that’s the case why couldn’t Elisha make a נס to bring her oil with the כלים. He says that we see from here that sometimes in order to get the אור we need to be a vessel, even a broken vessel.
Likewise, in our times we need to make ourselves a vessel to be zoche to the light of Moshiach. How? By doing teshuva and working on צפית לישועה. Perhaps the mashal to a broken vessel in our discussion is someone that at this time has no feelings for Geula, but he wants very much to have the רצון. He knows that this is what Hashem wants and therefore he wants it as well [as was discussed in the past].
הבדלה בין ישראל לעמים – Rav Nassan Vachfoigel z”l would often say over that the way to be zoche to be part of the Geula Shelaima is by being different from the אומות העולם. Chazal tell us that Klal Yisroel was zoche to the Geula in the zechus that they separated themselves שלא שינו את מלבושם את לשונם ואת שמם.
Every Yid needs to make a חשבון הנפש. Where am I holding in this area? Do I think like them? Do I talk like them r”l. Do I dress like them? We know that the media has infiltrated our minds and hearts. We need to eradicate and eliminate their culture and idealism from our hearts and minds.
How? For starters we need to disconnect from them. Whether it’s with a smart phone or any form of internet, and newspapers [even Jewish if they are inspired from the media]. Secondly we need to turn to daas Torah and to connect ourselves to the Torah and our Tzaddikim. This will purify our hearts and minds.
Preparing for Moshiach – Additionally, there is another discussion which is obviously related, and crucial, as well. The truth is that just like a person is on this world preparing for עולם הבא, which is the tachlis, as the מסילת ישרים says שהאדם לא נברא אלא להתענג על ה’.
In a similar vein, many Meforshim (the Malbim and others) say that the tachlis of the past five thousand seven hundred eighty four years is for ימות המשיח, at which time Hashem’s glory will fill the world and Hashem will once again reside His Shechina amongst His children.
Some people have the attitude that now that we see Moshiach on the horizon and our tzaros will come to an end, we can relax as we say joyously Moshiach is coming. We should realize that this is a great error for a few reasons.
If we look in the Maharal, the Chofetz Chaim (and others as well), we will see that they say that once Moshiach comes it’s not simple that we can change if we weren’t trying to change in Galus. Many years ago, Rav Mattisyahu Salomon shlita emotionally quoted this on Hoshana Raba.
If I understand correctly, one big difference between Olam Haba and Yemos Hamoshiach is that although one may get rewarded in Olam Haba for their שאיפות, not necessarily will that help them grow in Olam Haba. In Yemos Hamoshiach, on the other hand, all our שאיפות will materialize and we will live up to our dreams, and beyond our dreams.
This in turn will help us get a much greater chelek in Olam Haba. I believe that this is what the Rambam meant when he said לא נתאוו חכמים וכו’ אלא כדי שיקנו חיי עולם הבא. As we explained, Moshiach will help us acquire a greater chelek in Olam Haba, which is the purpose that we came to this world.
Having said that, at a time like this when all the סימנים are blaring in front of our eyes, can we sit around idly and say, “Moshiach is coming”? No! We need to run as fast as we can and חאפ אריין״”. We need to prepare for Moshiach! As mentioned, we have been preparing since בריאת העולם , and we should have been preparing all our life. However, soon we will get specific what we can do to be properly prepared B’ezras Hashem.
This is another reason why we cannot be complacent when we see all the simanim in the world. Listen to this mashal: Imagine a soldier gets separated from his unit in the enemy territory r”l. To his horror, he realizes that the enemy knows that he is alone and they are looking for him. What gives him some comfort is that he also knows that his unit knows that he is missing and they will come back to save him.
Suddenly, he sees the enemy approaching from all sides and they start shooting at him. All the years of training pay off as he returns fire and he dodges the bullets coming his way. At this point he is fighting for his life. Although he realizes that he’s outnumbered, he doesn’t care, as he is fighting for his life. He also is energized with the thoughts that his comrades are looking for him.
At that moment, he sees the flag of his battalion and he can make out his comrades in the distance. At first he starts rejoicing and starts waving to his friends as bullets are whizzing at him. Then he thinks to himself, “Am I out of my mind? If I don’t give it all I got by the time my comrades come it will be too late” – now is not the time to become complacent.
However, when seeing his comrades coming to save him, gave the soldier an extra boost to fight with all his might, and with much joy and relief he was reunited with his unit.
The nimshal is clear. We are in a great battle with the the ס״מ (the Yetzer Hara). He has unleashed his entire arsenal against us on all fronts and we are outnumbered — whether with שמירת עינים or other areas. However, we fight with Mesiras Nefesh as we are fighting for Hashem and the Torah. We are fighting for our life as well.
The chizuk we can get is that this war is almost over, and the yeshua is around the corner. We don’t know when it will happen, but we know that salvation is near. “There is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.”
Now, as Hashem is showing us the סימני משיח, we can get an extra boost to fight with all our strength and resources not to fall to the Yetzer Hara. Now is not the time to be complacent.
Rav Shloime Pollak said on Hoshana Raba that the Arizal teaches us that we are all גלגולים of previous generations. We don’t know how many times we have come to this world. We may be אויסגעריבען און צוקלאפט from all the tzaros that we experienced over the past two thousand years. How can we chas v’shalom miss the opportunity to greet Moshiach. We need to cry out to Hashem that we should be zoche to witness the glory of Hashem.
I want to make one final point on getting active at this time and not complacent. I will bring this out with a story that happened many years ago.
Many years ago, there was a child who lived in Bnei Brak who had a disease in his eyes r”l which was leading him to blindness. The father brought him to doctors, but they all said they don’t have a cure. However, they all pointed to a doctor in America (Texas) that invented a surgery that could cure this ailment.
The father made the inquiries and he found out that the surgery was going to cost a half a million dollars and he would have to wait six months for the procedure. This was a risk because who knows if by then it would be too late. With little other choice, they signed up and the father started fundraising.
A few weeks later, this eye doctor who wasn’t religious went on vacation to Eretz Yisroel. He went touring the country and was very impressed, but the highlight of his trip was when he came to Ponovezh Yeshiva. He was so impressed with all the different gemachim that were available–from an air conditioner Gemach to a pacifier Gemach, Eretz Yisroel had them all.
He was so amazed that he decided that he wanted to do a tremendous chessed. He remembered that there was a young child who needed a surgery and they didn’t have money. He decided that he would operate on him in Eretz Yisroel free of charge. Furthermore, he was going to let the Israeli doctors watch him so they would learn how to do it.
With a little research he found out where the child lived and he headed over. He knocked on the door and they asked, “Who’s is there?” The doctor responded that it’s the eye doctor from America. Now it was in the afternoon but the father was in bed sleeping. The son burst in and said that the eye doctor from Eretz America is here.
The man looked at his son and laughed. He said, “Either you are pulling a prank, or someone else is, but I need to go to sleep and please stop with the shenanigans. It’s not possible that he is here, and he went back to sleep. With no choice the child went to the door and told the doctor that his father said it’s a prank and his father had gone to sleep.” The doctor sent the child to get his father once again, and the same scene repeated.
The doctor was offended. He went back to his group. He did not operate on the child in Eretz Yisroel and the doctors did not learn how to do the surgery [and who knows if this would have led the doctor to Yiddishkeit as well], and he returned back to Texas.
The child did undergo the surgery five months later, and baruch Hashem his eyesight was restored, but he had to pay for it dearly. First, he had to wait five months full of anxiety. Second, he had to fly all the way to America to get the surgery. Third, he had to pay the full five hundred thousand dollars. [Through a back-handed way the father found out what really happened, and I wasn’t there to see the father’s reaction, but I would assume that he fainted].
There is much to learn from this story, but I would like to say that we can use this story as a mashal to our current situation. We will start by saying that we don’t really know but perhaps Moshiach is coming today [whenever you are reading this]. It can be that we have accumulated enough zechusim and we are literally crossing the finish line. הלואי.
However, perhaps we can say the following. We are living in a time now that Moshiach is knocking on the door. He is ringing the bell and we hear it. Unfortunately, many of us may be lying in bed sleeping and we don’t feel like going to the door. We may be thinking to ourselves, “What? After two thousand years of Galus, Moshiach is going to come to us now?” It sounds too far fetched r”l. So instead of running to the door to usher him in, we turn over and go back to sleep.
However, we need to know that Moshiach is going to come either way. But the difference is that if we usher him in, then he will come now with great joy and without too much pain. But r”l if we don’t usher him in and we just move on in life – back to sleep, and we laugh it off, then Moshiach will definitely come in the near future. But perhaps we will have to pay for it with more pain r”l.
The Chofetz Chaim in this week’s Parsha, וירא brings the story of ותצחק שרה בקרבה. He says that if the Torah is bringing this story it’s for a reason. He explains that before Moshiach comes there will be a group of people who will laugh [perhaps inwardly] that after all these years that Moshiach hasn’t come even to generations greater than ours. It seems so far-fetched. [It’s worthwhile to look up the Chofetz Chaim inside].
Another point that we need to take into account is if you look in the Seforim regarding Moshiach you will see that there are different levels in the Geula based on how we end up getting the Geula. One example is as follows. The Chasam Sofer brings a contradiction in Chazal who will build the Bais Hamikdash. Some places it sounds like we will build it. On the other hand Rashi and the Gemara seem to say that it will descend from Shomayim.
The Chasam Sofer resolves it by saying that if we beg for the Geula then it will come from Shomayim. Otherwise we will have to build it ourselves. Rav Moshe Sorotzkin explains that a Bais Hamikdash that descends from Shomayim has much more Kedusha than if it’s built by man.
We know that there was a big difference between the first Bais Hamikdash and the second. The reason given is because the first Bais Hamikdash was built by Shlomo Hamelech and the Jewish people, but the second was built by the Persians. In a similar vein, there is a difference if it’s built in Shomayim or by us.
Many people think that the subject of Moshiach is a one liner, and it’s a song as well. “We want Moshiach now”. Rabbosai, if we don’t understand the basics, we can be missing out tremendously chas v’shalom.
Recently, I gave a ride to a bachur approximately eighteen years old. I spoke to the bachur and realized that this bachur is a masmid and an upstanding person. After a few minutes I asked the bachur, “So, are we getting ready for the Geula?” I noticed that he stiffened up and he started stammering with the regular questions and excuses.
I hear this question too many times, and it’s our ignorance. “There were so many times that we saw simanim and nothing happened. He went from one thing to the next. I asked him to listen to me for a little bit, and I cleared up his head in five minutes.
Rabbosai, I am talking about a serious bachur who davens three times a day וירושלים עירך and כי לישועתך קוינו כל היום and it’s one of the first questions they ask a person after one hundred and twenty, because it’s part and parcel of being a Yid. So how can it be that a choshuve bachur is struggling in this area? Very simple. They are uneducated in this area. Rabbeim and Rabbonim should step up to the plate especially in this crucial time and give them the knowledge and the tools to await Moshiach every day.
I understand that Rabbeim may be concerned that if they start talking about Moshiach bachurim may start tumulting and it may disturb their learning. One should consult with daas Torah, but I believe that it depends how you present it. If you say that our learning is what’s going to bring the Geula [as brought down in Ohr Hachaim and others], then it can bring a chizuk to Torah. However, ignoring the topic is not simple at all.
Rabbosai! The entire world is churning with the conflict in Eretz Yisroel. There are many maamarei Chazal that document that this will happen. The stage is set! The question is how we are going to react to all of this.
Let’s get ready. The Vilna Gaon teaches us that if we are zoche then we can get the Geula with not much pain. We have gone through two thousand years of pain and we were יוצא already. The pain that we are experiencing now I believe is a wake up and a shake up from Hashem to daven for the Geula and to get ready with teshuva.
Prepare a briefcase with your family to greet Moshiach. You can put in a nice tie or a nice piece of clothing, a piece of jewelry. You can put in Chiddushei Torah or a sefer on טומאה וטהרה (which we will need soon). Use your imagination. The bottom line is we need to show Hashem that we are ready to leave.
Let me conclude with a מאמר from the Sefer רסיסי לילה. We say in davening every day תקע בשופר גדול לחירותינו. He asks, “What does this שופר גדול represent?” He answers we know that the שופר represents wailing and crying at the same time it is a form of tefilla, as the Brisker Rav explains.
Therefore this שופר גדול will represent all the tefillos and cries of pain that Klal Yisroel cried for two thousand years including the six million. This Shofar will also include the fourteen hundred recent Kedoshim and the cries of the hostages that were brutally tortured in Gaza.
At the same time, the שופר is also a form of tefilla, as the Brisker Rav explains. So the שופר גדול will also represent the millions of tefillos that Klal Yisroel has been storming שמים for these past few weeks for אחינו כל בית ישרא-ל הנתונים בצרה ובשבי-ה. We must not ease up for a second as the matzav is getting more serious. We should be davening for the Geula throughout the day with Tehillim or at a wedding—at the chuppa or when we sing ישיש עליך אלקיך.
אמן יהא שמיה רבא בכל כחו – We need to storm Shomayim with יהא שמיה רבא with all our strength for the situation and for the Geula. Baruch Hashem, I did notice an improvement in this area, but we need everyone on board. Rabbonim and Rabbeim should constantly remind their congregants and talmidim.
הלכתא למשיחא – It’s appropriate for one to start learning the halachos that will be relevant to the days that are coming. This includes the halachos of טומאה וטהרה which will apply to everyone.
The Chofetz Chaim would encourage everyone and especially Kohanim to learn the halachos of Kodshim. Baruch Hashem, there has been a break through with this. A large group of Kohanim just reached out to Rav Shlomo Alan shlita to have shiurim in this area. [We now have shiurim on טומאה טהרה וקדשים on the hotline 848-777-GROW.]
עלינו ועל כן נקוה -The משנה ברורה (סימן קלב ח) says the following awesome words, ויש לומר עלינו באימה וביראה כי כל השמים שומעים והקב״ה עומד עם פמליא וכו ואומרים אשרי העם שככה לו
If you read these uplifting powerful words, how can we just rattle off these words so quickly? We should sing these words with great joy and say every word with great concentration and full of yearning.
I would recommend that in every city there should be Tehillim around the clock every two hours saying the entire sefer with י”ג מידות. We need to make waves of tefilla and teshuva in the world. But even more important is to continuously cry out for the Geula for the sake of the Shechina.
If we do this then before we know it we will hear a loud Shofar that will only get louder and we will hear the great בשורה from Eliyahu Hanavi that Moshiach is FINALLY on his way. Instead of ותצחק שרה בקרבה it will be replaced with the laughter of אז ימלא שחוק פינו. We conclude with a Tefilla that Hashem opens up our eyes and hearts to see the סימנים of Moshiach, and more importantly to respond to the סימנים and cry out to Hashem PLEASE TAKE US HOME!
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁתְּקַבֵּל בְּרָצוֹן אֶת תְּפִלּוֹת עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהִתְפַּלְּלוּ אֵלֶיךָ בְּכָל הַדּוֹרוֹת, בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁהוּא בָּעוֹלָם, וּבִפְרָט בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל הַקְּדוֹשָׁה. וּבִזְכוּת תְּפִלּוֹת אֵלּוּ תַּטֶּה אֶת הַכַּף, לִגְאֹל אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גְּאֻלָּה שְׁלֵמָה בְּחֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים וְנִסִּים וְנִפְלָאוֹת. וּתְשַׁעְבֵּד תַּחְתֶּיךָ אֶת הַדָּם שֶׁהוּא מַלְכוּת אֶדֹם וְאֶת הַחֵלֶב שֶׁהוּא מַלְכוּת יִשְׁמָעֵאל, בִּזְכוּת כָּל הַצַּדִּיקִים הָאֲמִתִּיִּים שֶׁהָיוּ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וּבִזְכוּת כָּל הַצַּדִּיקִים הָאֲמִתִּיִּים שֶׁנִּמְצָאִים עִמָּנוּ הַיּוֹם, וּבִזְכוּת הַתִּקְוָה שֶׁאָנוּ מְקַוִּים לִרְאוֹת אֶת גְּאֻלָּתְךָ הַשְּׁלֵמָה, וּבִזְכוּת רַחֲמֶיךָ וַחֲסָדֶיךָ, אָנָּא ה’ שְׁלַח לָנוּ מִיָּד אֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא עֲבְדֶךָ, וּתְגַלֶה אֶת מֶלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ וְתַמְלִיךְ אוֹתוֹ עַל עַם יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ. אָנָּא יְיָ, אַל תְּשִׁיבֵינוּ רֵיקָם מִלְּפָנֶיךָ כִּי בְּךָ אָנוּ בּוֹטְחִים, עַנֵנוּ וְאַל תְּאַחֵר, לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּיתִי יְיָ. יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי פִי וְהֶגְיוֹן לִבִּי לְפָנֶיךָ יְיָ צוּרִי וְגוֹאַלִי:
ְׁמַע בְּנִי מוּסַר אָבִיךָ, וְאַל תִּטֹּשׁ תּוֹרַת אִמֶּךָ: תִּתְנַהֵג תָּמִיד לְדַבֵּר כָּל דְּבָרֶיךָ בְּנַחַת, לְכָל אָדָם וּבְכָל עֵת, וּבָזֶה תִּנָּצֵל מִן הַכַּעַס, שֶׁהִיא מִדָּה רָעָה לְהַחֲטִיא בְנֵי אָדָם. וְכֵן אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, “כָּל הַכּוֹעֵס כָּל מִינֵי גֵּיהִנָּם שׁוֹלְטִין בּוֹ”, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר: הָסֵר כַּעַס מִלִּבֶּךָ, וְהַעֲבֵר רָעָה מִבְּשָׂרֶךָ, וְאֵין רָעָה אֶלָּא גֵהִנָּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: “וְגַם רָשָׁע לְיוֹם רָעָה”.
וְכַאֲשֶׁר תִּנָּצֵל מִן הַכַּעַס, תַּעֲלֶה עַל לִבְּךָ מִדַּת הָעֲנָוָה שֶׁהִיא מִדָּה טוֹבָה מִכָּל הַמִּדּוֹת טוֹבוֹת, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר: עֵקֶב עֲנָוָה יִרְאַת ה’. וּבַעֲבוּר הָעֲנָוָה, תַּעֲלֶה עַל לִבְּךָ מִדַּת הַיִרְאָה, כִּי תִתֵּן אֶל לִבְּךָ תָּמִיד: מֵאַיִן בָּאתָ, וּלְאַן אַתָּה הוֹלֵךְ, וְשֶׁאַתָּה רִמָּה וְתוֹלֵעָה בְּחַיֶיךָ, וְאַף כִּי בְּמוֹתֶךָ, וְלִפְנֵי מִי אַתָּה עָתִיד לִתֵּן דִּין וְחֶשְׁבּוֹן, לִפְנֵי מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר: הִנֵּה הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לֹא יְכַלְכְּלוּךָ, אַף כִּי לִבּוֹת בְּנֵי אָדָם, וְנֶאֱמַר: הֲלֹא אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲנִי מָלֵא נְאֻם ה’. וְכַאֲשֶׁר תַּחֲשׁוֹב אֶת כָּל אֵלֶּה, תִּירָא מִבּוֹרַאֲךָ וְתִשָּׁמֵר מִן הַחֵטְא, וּבְמִדּוֹת הָאֵלֶּה תִּהְיֶה שָׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקֶךָ.
וְכַאֲשֶׁר תִּתְנַהֵג בְּמִדַּת הָעֲנָוָה לְהִתְבּוֹשֵׁשׁ מִכָּל אָדָם וּלְהִתְפַּחֵד מִמֶּנּוּ [-מהשם יתברך] וּמִן הַחֵטְא, אָז תִּשְׁרֶה עָלֶיךָ רוּחַ הַשְּׁכִינָה, וְזִיו כְּבוֹדָהּ, וְחַיֵּי עוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְעַתָּה בְּנִי דַע וּרְאֵה, כִּי הַמִּתְגָּאֶה בְלִבּוֹ עַל הַבְּרִיוֹת, מוֹרֵד הוּא בְּמַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם, כִּי מִתְפָּאֵר הוּא בִּלְבוּשׁ מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר השם מָלָךְ גֵּאוּת לָבֵשׁ וגו’. וּבַמֶּה יִתְגָּאֶה לֵב הָאָדָם? אִם בְּעֹשֶׁר, ה’ מוֹרִישׁ וּמַעֲשִׁיר, וְאִם בְּכָבוֹד, הֲלֹא לֵאלֹהִים הוּא, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר: וְהָעֹשֶׁר וְהַכָּבוֹד מִלְּפָנֶיךָ, וְאֵיךְ מִתְפָּאֵר בִּכְבוֹד קוֹנוֹ?! וְאִם מִתְפָּאֵר בְּחָכְמָה – “מֵסִיר שָׂפָה לְנֶאֱמָנִים, וְטַעַם זְקֵנִים יִקָּח”: נִמְצָא הַכֹּל שָׁוֶה לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, כִּי בְאַפּוֹ מַשְׁפִּיל גֵּאִים, וּבִרְצוֹנוֹ מַגְבִּיהַּ שְׁפָלִים, לָכֵן הַשְׁפִּיל עַצְמְךָ וִינַשַּׂאֲךָ הַמָּקוֹם.
עַל כֵּן אֲפָרֵשׁ לְךָ אֵיךְ תִּתְנַהֵג בְּמִדַּת הָעֲנָוָה לָלֶכֶת בָּהּ תָּמִיד: כָּל דְּבָרֶיךָ יִהְיוּ בְּנַחַת, וְרֹאשְׁךָ כָּפוּף, וְעֵינֶיךָ יַבִּיטוּ לְמַטָּה לָאָרֶץ וְלִבְּךָ לְמַעְלָה, וְאַל תַּבִּיט בִּפְנֵי אָדָם בְּדַבֶּרְךָ עִמּוֹ, וְכָל אָדָם יִהְיֶה גָּדוֹל מִמְּךָ בְּעֵינֶיךָ, וְאִם חָכָם אוֹ עָשִׁיר הוּא – עָלֶיךָ לְכַבְּדוֹ, וְאִם רָשׁ הוּא, וְאַתָּה עָשִׁיר אוֹ חָכָם מִמֶּנּוּ – חֲשֹׁב בְּלִבְּךָ כִּי אַתָּה חַיָּב מִמֶּנּוּ וְהוּא זַכַּאי מִמְּךָ, שֶׁאִם הוּא חוֹטֵא הוּא שׁוֹגֵג וְאַתָּה מֵזִיד.
בְּכָל דְּבָרֶיךָ וּמַעֲשֶׂיךָ וּמַחְשְׁבוֹתֶיךָ וּבְכָל עֵת, חֲשֹׁב בְּלִבְּךָ כְּאִלּוּ אַתָּה עוֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וּשְׁכִינָתוֹ עָלֶיךָ, כִּי כְּבוֹדוֹ מָלֵא הָעוֹלָם. וּדְבָרֶיךָ יִהְיוּ בְּאֵימָה וּבְיִרְאָה כְּעֶבֶד לִפְנֵי רַבּוֹ, וְתִתְבַּיֵּשׁ מִכָּל אָדָם, וְאִם יִקְרָאֲךָ אִישׁ, אַל תַּעֲנֵהוּ בְקוֹל רָם, רַק בְּנַחַת כְּעוֹמֵד לִפְנֵי רַבּוֹ.
וֶהֱוֵי זָהִיר לִקְרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה תָּמִיד אֲשֶׁר תּוּכַל לְקַיְּמָהּ. וְכַאֲשֶׁר תָּקוּם מִן הַסֵּפֶר, תְּחַפֵּשׂ בַּאֲשֶׁר לָמַדְּתָּ אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר תּוּכַל לְקַיְּמוֹ, וּתְפַשְׁפֵּשׁ בְּמַעֲשֶׂיךָ בַּבֹּקֶר וּבָעֶרֶב, וּבָזֶה יִהְיוּ כָּל יָמֶיךָ בִּתְשׁוּבָה. וְהָסֵר כָּל דִבְרֵי הָעוֹלָם מִלִּבְּךָ בְּעֵת הַתְּפִלָּה, וְהָכֵן לִבְּךָ לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְטַהֵר רַעְיוֹנֶיךָ, וַחֲשֹׁב הַדִּבּוּר קֹדֶם שֶׁתּוֹצִיאֶנּוּ מִפִּיךָ, וְכֵן תַּעֲשֶׂה כָּל יְמֵי חַיֵּי הֶבְלְךָ בְּכָל דָּבָר וְדָבָר וְלֹא תֶחֱטָא, וּבָזֶה יִהְיוּ דְּבָרֶיךָ וּמַעֲשֶׂיךָ וּמַחְשְׁבוֹתֶיךָ יְשָׁרִים, וּתְפִלָּתְךָ תִהְיֶה זַכָּה וּבָרָה וּנְקִיָּה וּמְכֻוֶּנֶת וּמְקֻבֶּלֶת לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר: תָּכִין לִבָּם תַּקְשִׁיב אָזְנֶךָ.
תִּקְרָא הָאִגֶּרֶת הַזֹּאת פַּעַם אַחַת בַּשָּׁבוּעַ וְלֹא תִפְחוֹת, לְקַיְּמָהּ וְלָלֶכֶת בָּהּ תָּמִיד אַחַר הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ, לְמַעַן תַּצְלִיחַ בְּכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ וְתִזְכֶּה לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא הַצָּפוּן לַצַּדִּיקִים, וּבְכָל יוֹם שֶׁתִּקְרָאֶנָּה יַעֲנוּךָ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם כַּאֲשֶׁר יַעֲלֶה עַל לִבְּךָ לִשְׁאוֹל עַד עוֹלָם אָמֵן סֶלָה.
יסוד התשובה מרבינו יונה
אָנָּא הַשֵּׁם חָטָאתִי עָוִיתִי פָּשַׁעְתִּי כָּזֹאת וְכָזֹאת עָשִׂיתִי מִיּוֹם הֱיוֹתִי עַל הָאֲדָמָה עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. וְעַתָּה נְשָׂאֲנִי לִבִּי וְנָדְבָה אוֹתִי רוּחִי לָשׁוּב אֵלֶיךָ בֶּאֱמֶת וּבְלֵב טוֹב וְשָׁלֵם, בְּכָל לִבִּי וְנַפְשִׁי וּמְאֹדִי, וְלִהְיוֹת מוֹדֶה וְעוֹזֵב לְהַשְׁלִיךְ מֵעָלַי כָּל פְּשָׁעַי וְלַעֲשׂוֹת לִי לֵב חָדָשׁ וְרוּחַ חֲדָשָׁה וְלִהְיוֹת זָרִיז וְזָהִיר בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ. וְאַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי הַפּוֹתֵחַ יָד בִּתְשׁוּבָה וּמְסַיֵּעַ לַבָּאִים לִטַּהֵר, פְּתַח יָדְךָ וְקַבְּלֵנִי בִּתְשׁוּבָה שְׁלֵמָה לְפָנֶיךָ, וְסַיְּעֵנִי לְהִתְחַזֵּק בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ, וְעָזְרֵנִי נֶגֶד הַשָּׂטָן הַנִּלְחָם בִּי בְּתַחְבּוּלָה ומְבַקֵּשׁ נַפְשִׁי לַהֲמִיתֵנִי לְבִלְתִּי יִמְשׁוֹל בִּי. וְהַרְחִיקֵהוּ מֵרְמַ”ח אֵיבָרִים שֶׁבִּי, וְתַשְׁלִיכֵהוּ בִּמְצוּלוֹת יָם, וְתִגְעַר בּוֹ לְבִלְתִּי יַעֲמֹד עַל יְמִינִי לְשִׂטְנִי. וְעָשִׂיתָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר אֵלֵךְ בְּחֻקֶּיךָ, וַהֲסִירוֹתָ לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִקִּרְבִּי, וְנָתַתָּ לִי לֵב בָּשָׂר. אָנָּא יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי, שְׁמַע אֶל תְּפִלַּת עַבְדְּךָ וְאֶל תַּחֲנוּנָיו, וְקַבֵּל תְּשׁוּבָתִי, וְאַל יְעַכֵּב שׁוּם חֵטְא וְעָוֹן אֶת תְּפִלָּתִי וּתְשׁוּבָתִי. וְיִהְיֶה לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶךָ מְלִיצֵי ישֶׁר לְהָלִיץ בַּעֲדִי לְהִכָּנֵס תְּפִלָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ. וְאִם בַּחֲטָאַי הָרַב וְעָצוּם אֵין לִי מֵלִיץ ישֶׁר, חֲתֹר לִי אַתָּה מִתַּחַת כִּסֵא כְבוֹדֶךָ וְקַבֵּל תְּשׁוּבָתִי וְלֹא אָשׁוּב רֵיקָם מִלְּפָנֶיךָ כִּי אַתָּה שׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִלָּה:
ותמיד ירגיל בתפלה זו: