From today's Hakhel email: This is about running to do mitzvot and how we should run as if being chased, so that we will not be chased by problems or other things that we would rather not chase us!
Special Note One: Chazal (Brachos 6B) teach that one should run to Shul (at least when he is in close range), citing the pasuk (Hoshea 6:3): "VeNaidah Nirdefa Loda'as Es Hashem--let us know, let us be chased to know Hashem...:" There is a great lesson here. The Navi does not merely tell us to run ('narutza') to know Hashem--but to put that extra effort, that extra gas into the Mitzvah--as if you were not only running-- but 'nirdefa'--as if being chased. It is that little bit of extra effort that makes one among the first to be in Shul, or among the first to be at the Shiur, or among the first to help. It is more, though, than a 'numbers' game of being among the first or earliest--it is the quality of the Mitzvah that is being performed--a Mitzvah with an especial zeal, a real striving, a Mitzvah of added desire, respect and longing. Even if one has difficulty physically running at the 'being chased' level, or even running at all, one can demonstrate his alacrity and eagerness with his timeliness, zest and enthusiasm. It is said in the name of the Chofetz Chaim that as part of one's lot in life he may have to be subjected to 'redifos'--to being chased. Instead, the Chofetz Chaim suggests, of being chased, c'v', by tzaros, or by monetary matters, or by the Yetzer Hora, one may attempt to replace the redifos with chasings by and of Mitzvos and Ma'asim Tovim. At the end of your day, an important question that you can ask yourself is--what chased me today? If you need to fix it the next day--may we suggest beginning with the way you get out of bed and/or the readiness in which you prepare for and begin your morning Tefillos. If a commoner quickens his pace when he nears the bar or restaurant--what should we do when we draw near to Shul or the place where we will be helping someone?!
Additional Note: Although one moves quickly as he draws near to the Shul or the place where he will daven, the Mishna Berurah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, Introduction to Chapter 46) writes that before actually entering the Shul, one should pause and wait a little in order to feel and appreciate the fearsomeness, the awe and the majesty of the place, and of the moment.
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