(Based on Sichas Shabbos Parshas Behar 5725)
At the very end of this week’s Parsha, we see the laws of non-Jews owning Jewish slaves. Megillat Esther (7:4) compares Am Yisrael in galut (exile) to the case which we see in our Parsha of a Jew being sold into slavery to a non-Jew.
When one is sold into slavery, specifically a Yid to a non-Jewish owner, one feels morally and contractually obligated to his/her master. Thus, one may reason that certain Torah laws can be transgressed in order to fulfill one’s obligations to one’s master. The Torah itself identifies this Jew as a “slave”, thus requiring the Jew to serve his/her master properly.
This leads to our question: “How can I possibly keep all the mitzvot when I have to live in a pre-dominantly non-Jewish world?” We, Am Yisrael, are such a small percentage of the world. We are “slaves” (so to speak) to the world at large.
However, just as a Jewish slave is obligated to keep all the mitzvot, so too, we are obligated to keep all the mitzvot. Yet, do not think for one second that Hakadosh Boruch Hu is not helping us along the way. HaShem has given us all the tools and all the strength we need to fulfill His ratzon (will) in this world! The last two pesukim (verses) of our Parsha explicitly state that we must keep the Torah and mitzvot to the utmost extent even while in slavery; HaShem would not require us to do something if He did not think that we could do it!
Mishpacha and Chaverim, 24-48 hours ago, we were celebrating Lag B’omer. Rebbe Shimon gave us a gift so invaluable, we must never forget how to use it or when to use it.
When? All the time. How? That’s up to you.
Rebbe Shimon gave us the ability to see! Yes, to see! No, not to see what’s right in front of you externally, but to see the deeper internal meaning, the spirituality behind what’s right in front of you! See, we look around this beautiful world sometimes and see it for something that it’s not – not beautiful. When A Jew is sold as a slave to a non-Jew, when we live in this mundane, predominantly non-Jewish world, we have to open our eyes, our heart, our mind, our neshama and see a little bit.
The “Jewish slave” understands and truly sees that every test put before him to violate G-d’s Torah and ways is another way of HaShem saying, “My Kinder, I know you can do it! I see the beauty and gevurah (strength) in you! Now it’s time that you see it in yourself as well!”
The fires ignited in Meron, Lawrence, Kiryas Yoel, Yerushalayim, Teaneck and so on – they’re all a way to allow us to see that holy flame which is within us all! Just like Rebbe Shimon, we can look at this world with fiery eyes, truthful eyes, and in every situation we are in we can finally say, “Thank You HaShem! I See You!”
Understand: to see is to realize that what looks “ugly,” is truly “gorgeous”.
Mishpacha and Chaverim, from this moment on, no matter where you come from, what sect you associate with, what your minhagim are, we must SEE each other like Rebbe Shimon saw the world! Every single thing in our lives, no matter how hard to believe, is truly from Him.
May we ignite the Shabbat candles with all our brethren in Eretz Yisroel this Shabbat!
– Johnny Newman for Sparks of Judaism
(Mishpacha and Chaverim section based off of R’ Weinberger’s/Aish Kodesh Lag B’omer Hilula – “Where Would We Be Without Rebbe Shimon…” – http://www.yutorah.org/
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