Some more Hakhel notes about Achdut, avoiding strife, sharing/teaching Torah, giving the benefit of the doubt, etc.
Special Note Two: As we continue with reflection upon how a Torah Jew leads his everyday life, we received the following comment from a reader relating to how lay people should view the Rabbinic discussion on the anisakis worm found in some commonly used fish: “Two comments regarding the fish issue: Firstly, it is common to have contemporaries differ on many Halachic issues. For example, is a tea bag allowed on Shabbos in a kli shlishi? Some authorities say that it is permitted, and others, say that it is prohibited M’Doraisa. This should not be and is not a cause of feud. Secondly, it is common throughout Chazal that contemporaries have a difference of opinion on what a senior godol actually said or says. For instance, in the Gemora there are differences of opinions as to what a particular Tanna or Amora actually said. Sometimes situations are clear, and sometimes they are not. Each side may be certain of its viewpoint, but no unanimous opinion may exist. Unfortunately, sometimes the facts cannot be determined to everyone’s satisfaction, for whatever reason, whether or not we understand it and whether or not we are frustrated by it. This, however, should not lead to any sort of animosity or tension. For example, on any given P’sak of the previous Gadol Hador, R’ Moshe Feinsten Z’tl, all may understand it in the same way, and yet on other of his Psakim some may differ on understanding what the Godol’s intent was (or is, when he was alive). Let a person ask his own Rav what he should do. Remember it’s almost Elul, let's Dun Lkaf Zchus so that Hashem can reciprocate to us!”
Special Note Three: At yesterday’s Hakhel Shiur, Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, Shlita, brought a tremendous thought from the Radomsker Rebbe, Z’tl. The Pasuk in Shir HaShirim teaches “Hasheme’ini Es Koleich Ki Koleich Areiv--I want to hear your voice, for your voice is Areiv.” The Rebbe taught that Hashem will listen to our voice in prayer--when we have Arvis--a sense of unity, responsibility, and feeling for each other. Rabbi Shapiro said that every evening before going to bed, a person should ask himself: “I davened Shacharis, Mincha and Ma’ariv--but, did I daven Arvis?”
In a very similar vein, he taught that Yaakov Avinu told Yosef to go investigate “Shlom Achecha, V’ Es Shlom Hatzon.” Why did Yaakov Avinu mention both of these as separate entities and investigations--what was he emphasizing? He was telling his descendants forever thereafter that unlike sheep whose main concern is to ensure that they have grass for themselves wherever they go, we are to look out for the welfare of our brethren--which is a wholly different approach to life. If we truly appreciate the infinite gift that we possess as Torah Jews, then it should be in our nature to help those around us spiritually as well. This is the “Shlom Achecha that Yaakov Avinu bequeathed to us. In a beautiful interpretation of Rebbe Yochanan’s teaching in Maseches Avos (last week’s Perek 2:9--and our lesson for the week). “Im Lamadita Torah Harbeh Al Tachazik Tova LeAtzemicha--if you have learned much Torah, do not hold the goodness to yourself,”--“Ki Lechach Notsarta-- for it is for this reason--sharing that goodness with others--that you were created!” For further information, see http://www.kiruv.com/. As Rabbi Shapiro suggested, if a person would spread his goodness to even only one other person, couple or family, he will have accomplished a great and eternal purpose in life!
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