Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
Thursday September 28, 2023, Tishrei 13, 5784
Worry and Betachon
The Arba Minim and Klal Yisrael
The Esrog is like the heart, Hadasim the eyes, Aravos the mouth
and the Lulav the spine.
Succah and Eretz Yisrael
The Promise of V’heivesisi
The Language of Emunah.
The highest level of faith is having trust in H. If a person has the utmost trust in H, then why worry ? One could say it is human nature to worry. Perhaps we could say if a person worries, then he/she will be mispallel to H with greater kavana. There is an expression, “You will cross the bridge when you come to it.” Whatever a person prays for we hope will be fulfilled, but he/she should be satisfied with whatever H provides. Many men way before Yom Kippur worry about getting the nicest Arba Minim they could possibly purchase. Why worry? Have Betachon H will provide the best Arba Minim he could possibly purchase. Of course one has to do his hishtadis making sure he is getting his Arba Minim from those he is comfortable with. Once a purchase is made, he should look forward to making the brachos and walking around the Bima reciting the Hoshanah. One should not look at other Esrogim the other mispallim have with envy for that could Heaven Forbid lead to certain aveiros. Often, a congregant will bring his Esrog to the Rav for his approval or for a shailah. There once was a congregant who brought his Esrog to his Rav for his approval. The Rav gave his approval with one mistake, he pointed out a few dots in the lower half of his Esrog which was strictly kosher. The congregant was very upset that the seller who was quite learned would sell him such an Esrog. This man brought his disappointment to the seller. The following year the Rav did not make the same mistake and the congregant was very pleased with his response.
There are many explanations about the Arba Minim and what they represent. When we hold them together we should be with a good heart, eyes that only see good, the mouth that only speaks appropriate words and the spine referring to a person with outstanding midos tovos. We hold them together representing the good attributes a person should have. We should have achdus, make a Kiddush H, Shalom Al Yisrael and to remember Chaveirim Kol Yisrael.
There is a connection with Eretz Yisrael of Esrogim that come from Israel. There are also connections between the succah and Eretz Yisrael even though Succos originates with the Benei Yisrael in the Midbar.
From The Mystery and the Majesty Elul, Yamim Noraim Succos.by Rabbi Daniel Glattstein. Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd.
Promise of V’heiveisi Page 315 “The succos in which Benei Yisrael lived during their sojourn in the Midbar were microcosms of Eretz Yisrael; as we have seen, dwelling in the succos is considered as if they were living in Eretz Yisrael. Thus, the succos themselves are the fulfillment of the promise of V’heiveisi! Bringing Benei Yisrael into their succos was equivalent to bringing them into Eretz Yisrael, as H had promised.”
“Succos Corresponds to Yaakov Avinu Page 316 “The Tur teaches that the Yom Tov of Succos corresponds to Yaakov Avinu. The Belzer Rebbe explains the depth of this analogy. When Yaakov left Eretz Yisrael and passed the makom HaMikdash, the future site of the Beis Hamikdash, H moved the makom to Yaakov’s location. This incident is an example of the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael being situated somewhere other than its actual space. This is exactly what takes place in the succah :The kedusha of Eretz Yisrael joins us wherever we build our succah.”
From 102 Stories That Changed People’s Lives by Rabbi Tzvi Nakar Volume 2, Tzfutza Publications. The Language of Emunah Pages 314-316 “We were sitting on a bus to Yerushalayim with our restless eight-year-old son, impatient to get to our destination. We had a doctor’s appointment at four and had left our house in Beitar at two thirty to ensure we’d get there on time. We’d been confident that by three thirty we’d be sitting in the clinic, waiting patiently to see the doctor…but the traffic was terrible. The bus was only inching forward every few minutes and barely making any progress.
When it was close to four, we decided to get off on Yirmiyahu Street and take a taxi from there to the clinic. I told the driver that I didn’t have any cash on me, but, “When we get to the doctor’s office, I’ll borrow money from the secretary and pay you.”
He agreed and we got into the cab. But the taxi driver didn’t have any better luck than the bus, and the cab crept down the street as the clock kept ticking. Soon it was 4:05, then 4:10, then 4:15…
My son started to cry. He was very stressed about the doctor’s visit and wanted it to be over with already and now it seemed like we’d miss the appointment altogether. We’d been told that the doctor was leaving at four-thirty, and I was sure we’d have to make another appointment.
Our son was very upset and pushed his feet against the front seat in frustration. My wife tried to calm him, murmuring comforting words to him in Yiddish. She had learned the language of emunah when she was very young, and that’s the language she now spoke to her child.
“I’m sure you know Who orchestrated this traffic jam. Who is really the One Who makes all our plans. I’m sure that whatever Hakadosh Boruch Hu does is the very best thing for us, that everything is for good. Even if we’re late, it will be okay because it’s from H and everything that happens, happens for a reason.”
She continued in this vein until our son calmed down. He even smiled and added his own words of emunah, how good it is that we are H’s children and He always worries about us and arranges everything for us.
We arrived at the clinic at four thirty. The cab ride cost seventy shekels, and the doctor had already left.
Just before we got out of the cab to borrow the money from the secretary, the driver turned around to address us. To our shock. He started speaking in Yiddish. It sounded strange coming from his lips because his outer appearance indicated that he wasn’t religious at all. His voice caught and his eyes were bright with tears as he said, “I’m forty-four years old. I was born in a home where they spoke Yiddish. At the age of nine I abandoned it all, thinking life would be better in the outside world. But the truth is, I have no life. I live a superficial life, and it gives me little joy. But your words pierced my heart. What faith! What simplicity! Everything is so clear to you that the mother can calm her child with words of truth. How wonderful!”
Now we understand. First, we had to believe that everything is orchestrated for a reason, and now we understand that we hadn’t taken this taxi for nothing. That the bus hadn’t gotten stuck in traffic for no reason.
We exchanged phone numbers with the driver. When we returned home in Beitar, we didn’t let ourselves get distressed about the missed appointment. We were too excited about the Kiddush H we had merited to make.
An hour later the phone rang.
“Hello, this is Eli.”
“The taxi driver. I have to tell you what I did after I dropped you off.”
I drove to the Zichron Moshe Shul. The words your wife said to your son kept repeating themselves in my mind. Suddenly I was struck with a fierce longing for the Ribono shel Olam, and I had to do something about it.
“I haven’t opened a siddur for thirty-five years. Today was the first time, and I cried like a baby. Your wife’s words did something for me that nothing else in the world has done.”
Eli called back a week later.
“Starting from last Wednesday I started davening in shul three times a day. I also went to the sefarim store to buy a sefer on bitachon and emunah. He gave me Sha’ar HaBitachon from Chovos HaLevavos, and it has brought me back to my ‘Tatte in Heaven.”
“The Secret To A Good Life”
“When a person speaks the language of faith, all the bad thoughts leave him and he brings good and blessings to the world.”
Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank