12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Sharing the Load    

Sharing the Load

You don’t have to be a genius to work out that the world is poised on the edge of something ‘big’, and that it’s been teeter-tottering for two or three years already...


A couple of years’ back, my husband brought me back a present from his annual Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to Uman:  a magnetic picture of Rav Arush, smiling the most amazing, joyful smile.
When people step into my kitchen, the first thing they notice is that picture. It lights up the whole room.
Last Shabbat, Rav Arush was in my village for a family simcha. He was asked to say a few words after morning prayers – and I had a complete shock. He got up to speak at the front of the synagogue, and I couldn’t believe how much he’d aged in the last few months.
Rav Arush is one of the leaders of the generation; his teachings have changed the lives of many thousands of people (including yours truly) and his Torah teachings and insights underline just how deep and pure his holy wisdom is.
But for all that, he’s still relatively quite a young man – in his late fifties.
He’s a relatively young man, with an awful lot of emuna and a deep, unshakeable conviction that everything Hashem does is good. But on Shabbat, he looked quite tired and worn out.
After his talk, I pondered to myself: ‘What’s going on here? Why has Rav Arush aged twenty years in as many months?’
You don’t have to be a genius to work out that the world is poised on the edge of something ‘big’, and that it’s been teeter-tottering for two or three years already. All it takes is one more ‘financial shock’; one more ‘Deep Water’; one more ‘Japanese Tsunami’ or maybe Iran, and the whole thing could collapse literally in a matter of seconds.
If you’ve been listening to Rav Arush’s recent classes, either via CD or over the internet, or if you’ve been going to any of Rabbi Brody’s lectures, or watching them on the web, you’ll know that we are fast approaching something ‘big’.
I’ve heard recent CDs where Rav Arush – the Minister of Smiles! - broke down into uncontrolled sobs, begging Am Yisrael to make teshuva before the terrible darkness overtakes the world.
I’ve heard CDs where Rav Arush describes how our sages teach that the final redemption will be copy of the first redemption from Jewish exile in Egypt, where four fifths of the Jews who lived there died in the plague of darkness.
But Rav Arush goes on to say that this time round, we want to get everyone on board; we want to get everyone on the plane; we don’t want to leave a single Jew behind, stuck far away from G-d and thoughts of teshuva.
How can we do that? Only by spreading emuna in the world. Only by giving a friend or family member an emuna CD, or dropping in a copy of the Garden of Emuna, or the Garden of Gratitude.
In the meantime, you don’t have to be a genius to work out that the ‘terrible darkness’ is being held off by the prayers and the efforts of our tzadikim, who are waiting and hoping that more of us will wake up, will move, will stop umming and ahhing about doing the right thing.
You know why the world hasn’t crashed already? Because a few holy people are praying their hearts out night and day for G-d to keep it going a little while longer. But when I saw Rav Arush this weekend, I realized that his efforts – and the efforts of those like him, like Rav Mordechai Eliyahu z”l, and now, Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira – are coming at an incredibly high personal price.
And it suddenly struck me, just how big our tzadikim truly are.
And then, it struck me how selfish most of us are continuing to be. We read articles asking us to pray 10 minutes for Am Yisrael; we hear CDs saying the same – but how many of us actually go away and do it?
Just think what a difference it would make if a million people woke up tomorrow and spent 10 minutes a day praying for Moshiach to come the sweet way, and for the world to be redeemed peacefully.
In the meantime, Rav Arush, and those like him, are acting as the make-weight. A few holy people are shouldering the burden of praying for the whole world, while the rest of us continue to waste time gossiping, or waste time watching movies; or waste time with Facebook, or tennis, or golf.
I suddenly realized, I owe it to Rav Arush to do what he asks, and to try to pray more for Am Yisrael. I suddenly realized, it’s simply not fair to place the entire weight of praying for redemption on a few holy people. They do it, even when it’s literally killing them, because they love humanity and the Jewish people so much.
Rav Arush’s teachings have saved my life so many times over; they have changed my life from bad to good; they have given me peace of mind and hope, when I thought it was impossible to find either.
Don’t I owe it to Rav Arush to take a tiny bit of the burden off him, and to do a tiny bit of praying myself?
Don’t you?

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