Sunday, December 21, 2008

1,000 Hits and a bit of Torah

Well, when I checked before going to sleep Motzei Shabbos, I was up to 993 hits- but officially by this morning- I hit over 1,000.
Thanks to all my visitors who keep coming- I love seeing where everyone comes from, and the insightful comments and ideas all who do come bring to this blog. I hope to continue seeing visitors!

Here's a short (well, maybe not so short) Dvar Torah on the number 1,000. (Helped by Torah.org)

In Shir HaShirim, (7:14) it states:
הַדּוּדָאִים נָתְנוּ-רֵיחַ, וְעַל-פְּתָחֵינוּ כָּל-מְגָדִים--חֲדָשִׁים, גַּם-יְשָׁנִים; דּוֹדִי, צָפַנְתִּי לָךְ.
"The mandrakes have yielded fragrance, and upon our doorsteps are all precious fruits. Both new and old I have stored away for you, my beloved."
The Midrash states that the mandrakes (Dudaim) refer to Reuven, when he rescued Yosef (the fragrance), and the precious fruits upon our doorsteps refer to the Chanukah lights.

The obvious question- is what is the connection between Reuven and the Chanukah lights?

Another Midrash tells us the well known idea that if Reuven would have known that his deed in saving Yosef would be written in a line from the Torah- he would have carried him home immediately, with Yosef on his shoulders. The same concept applies to Aharon- if he would have known that the Torah would have written about him how he greeted Moshe with happiness in his heart, he would have come to greet Moshe with outward trappings of dancing and drums. And, again, the Midrash brings Boaz, that if Boaz would have known the Torah would have written that he gave Rus grain, Boaz would have fed her fattened calves.

Each of these three would have done something different- would have lived up to a higher ideal- if they would have known what the Torah would have said about them. Yet each of these three did a very noble and good act- why does the Midrash minimize their actions?

Possibly, each of these acts were so far reaching, so all encompassing- that it was impossible for their perpetrators to realize the major implications of their seemingly small act. The repercussions for these acts were so large, that at the time- it was impossible for Reuven, Aharon, or Boaz to recognize these acts' true importance.

When Yosef was sold- it set the stage for the Jews' eventual descent to Mitzrayim- and becoming the Jewish nation.
When Aharon greeted Moshe- he did not know that he would eventually be rewarded with the High Priesthood because of it.
And when Boaz fed Rus, he did not know he was starting the wheels in motion for the Davidic dynasty, from which Mashiach comes.

These seemingly small and inconsequential acts had huge repercussions- unknown to their perpetrators. And so the Midrash remarks that had they known, they would have done far more. Had they recognize the importance of a seemingly trivial, yet noble act- they would have lived up to an even higher ideal.

In our own lives- many times small and inconsequential things may occur- and we cannot see the far lasting repercussions of them. Therefore, we should recognize that what seems small may not be, and we should try to live up to the highest ideal that we have in all that we do. All our actions, words, and decisions should be treated with the seriousness reserved for something significant- even if they seem trivial.

We light the Chanukah menorah for 8 nights, symbolizing the fact that although there was only enough oil to last for 1 day, it burned for 7 nights longer in the Beis HaMikdash. However, 2,000 years have passed since the destruction of the Temple- and we've missed over 700,000 times of lighting the Menorah. What is the significance of 7 nights out of a total of 700,000 missed?

The answer is that despite the missed opportunities- we have the privilege to light the Menorah remembering those 7 nights. Those were not insignificant, or trivial, even when compared to 700,000 missed. They have significance. One simple Mitzvah has such major significance- and that is the lesson that Chanukah and Reuven teach us.

“For one Jew to say once Baruch Hu u-varuch Shemo- "Blessed is He and blessed is His name",” R’ Elya Lopian would relate in the name of the Alter of Kelm, “it was worth it for the Almighty to created the entire universe in all its greatness for six thousand years. One Amen,” he would continue, “is worth 1,000 times as much as Baruch Hu u-varuch Shemo! And one Amen ye-hei Sh’mei Rabbah is worth 1,000 amens!” (See, 1,000 comes into this somewhere :-)

All Mitzvos have significance, all our actions have significance. No matter how trivial they seem at the time. A little oil goes a long way.

6 comments:

tembow said...

Thanks and congrats on reaching 1000! This was a great post to wake up to!

nmf #7 said...

Thanks Tembow! A Freilichen Chanukah to you!

tembow said...

Freilichen Chanukah to you too! Enjoy being there in the Holy Land and don't eat too many sufganiyot! (they're way too good) LOL
can't wait to come in just TWENTY days!!

The Babysitter said...

Congrats on getting 1,000 hits, perhaps even 2,000 by now, considering how much you post! ;-)

I used the word "Dudaim" in my barren woman post/assignment, and my teacher asked what it meant, and I didn't know. I had just copied the word from the artscroll English translation. Do you know what it means?

"All Mitzvos have significance, all our actions have significance. No matter how trivial they seem at the time. A little oil goes a long way."

very true!

and great 1,000 connection, I was actually just thinking about the whole amen thing. Cause in shul when they say kadish I always make sure to listen to answer back, cause I remember hearing how powerful it was.

nmf #7 said...

Babysitter- thanks for your comment!
I don't have 2,000 yet, because I chose to only count hits if they show up again after an hr- unique visitors.

Dudaim are the subject of debate among many Rishonim. Some translate it as jasmine, some as mandrake, and some translate it as other red flowers which we don't know about. Red would be the color though- there is a meforash that discusses the color of the stone on the Choshen as relating to the shevet, and Reuven's ruby/garnet is due to the red dudaim.
If you check Artscroll- they give you the translation of the word in English as 'dudaim' but state that the commentators mention jasmine, mandrake, violets, or baskets of figs.

Yesterday- I went to a small apartment with a Yeshiva next door. When they were davening Mincha, my friends and I all answered Amen to Kadish and Kedusha- it was a very moving moment. You are very correct- it is a powerful thing!

The Babysitter said...

NMF#7: your welcome!

yea it would take a while to get 2,000 then, I was sorta joking.

yea, I saw the word mandrake in Rashi I think, and I didn't know what that meant either. Makes sense for it to be a flower, and interesting about the color.

yea, it feels good to do something important/powerful spiritually