("Let's table the discussion" is a new Adath Israel Shul initiative where a story or thought is presented in order to stimulate exciting and constructive discussion around our Shabbos table or among friends and children.)
My friend Rabbi Yechiel Morris, Rav of Young Israel of Southfield tells the story of 3 Chassidic Rebbes who were together at a Rebbes convention. Two of the Rebbes were more senior than their colleague. They had served their flocks well and were revered for the knowledge of Torah and Chassidus. However, it was the third Rebbe whom people were running toward for Berachos. Apparently, it was he who had the reputation for having his Berachos answered positively.
The two senior Rebbes were talking; “We are older, we are wiser and we have a better relationship with the Ribbono Shel Olam,” one began. “So why does it seem like it is our younger colleague who has the Siyata D’Shimaya (help of heaven) with his Berachos?”
At that moment, the third younger Rebbe requested permission of his colleagues to speak: “My revered teachers, you are correct. You ARE older, wiser and more holy Rebbes than I. Not only do we know it, not only does Hashem know it but the people know it as well. When they come to you for a Beracha, they assume, that their work in the matter is done. After all, they went to the Tzaddik and Hashem should answer the Tzaddik because of his holiness. However, when my Chassidim come to me, they see a blemished, young, inexperienced Rebbe and worry that my Tefillos and Berachos need not only Siyata D’Shimasya (assistance from Hashem ) but also a little Siyata D’ara (assistance from the petitioner). Therefore, they help out – aside from coming to me, they strengthen their own personal observance of Mitzvos. They study Torah harder and they increase their own intensity of Prayer.”
“ It is these factors – not my Berachos – that are helping them out,” said the younger Rebbe.
Rashi tells us that at the conclusion of the building of the Mishkan, Moshe blessed the people. The blessing was one where he asked Hashem to have the Shechina rest in the handiwork of the people. The Chida asks why Moshe had to offer the blessing, after all, didn’t Hashem already promise that if they built the Mishkan he would dwell there?
The Chida answers that Hashem’s promise was dependent on making the Mishkan purely for the sake of Hashem (V’asu LEE Mikdash) and there were a few people who worked in the project with other intentions in mind. Thus, Moshe offered a Beracha of redirection – that the handiwork be refocused toward the Shechina – wholly and purely.
In life too, we often undertake special projects and support causes that are sometimes undertaken with ulterior motives. Left to their own devices, these side intentions would lead to dismal failure of the central goal – the expansion of the glory of Hashem and his Torah. Berachos and Tefillos from Tzaddikim help, but the key ingredient to success of projects in life is the focus of those involved L’shem Shomayim – for the sake of something greater.
How often do WE take the time out to refocus and retool our visions in order to focus on Kavod Shomayim?
What steps can we take personally, to try to see to it that Hashem answers the Berachos that are offered on our behalves?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and community.