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Living Inspired

By: Mrs Michal Porat-Zibman

This week's Parshah, Emor, begins with the commandment to "speak to the Kohanim." The first pasuk (verse) states: "God said to Moshe: 'Speak to the Kohanim, and tell them...'." Many commentaries are puzzled by what seems to be unnecessary repitition. "Speak to" and "tell them." Rashi, quoting the Talmud in Yevamot, offers a somewhat cryptic explanation: "Le-hazhir gedolim al ketanim" -- "to warn the

bigger about the smaller".


Rav Elimelech of Lezansk, one of the great Chasidic masters, offers a Chasidic insight into what Rashi could be trying to tell us. Rav Elimelech suggests a number of instances in which we have to be aware of 'the big' the same way we should be aware of 'the small.' For example, he suggests, we must be as careful with what seem to be 'smaller' mitzvot as we are with what we see as 'bigger' mitzvot. We should be as concerned with the many halachic details of, say, tzedaka, as we are about fasting on Yom Kippur. Sometimes we focus more on the 'bigger' issues, the more pressing things, than we do on what seem to be insignificant details of any particular action.


Rav Elimelech also suggests further that there are times in our lives when we have 'great moments,' moments of clarity, moments that enable us to gain insight, moments that truly inspire us. And then, there are many more moments in our lives which are just... regular moments. Our challenge is to enable those truly great moments to impact the regular moments as well. The Ne'ilah that we say on Yom Kippur with so much kavanah, so much emotion, so much energy, should impact and leave an impression on us so that our daily prayers are intensified as well. It's near impossible, but that is the challenge that we have in Avodat Hashem.


This past week has been an intense one, as it is every year. On Yom HaZikaron, we are overwhelmed with a sense of connection to the many families in Israel who sacrificed the most precious of all in order to defend our right to live in this Land. We feel appreciation toward, humbled by, and connected with these families, and we feel that we will never again take it for granted that we are 'Am Chofshi be-Artzeinu,' a free nation in our own Land. The very next day, on Yom Ha-Atzma'ut, we are once again overwhelmed with a sense of hakarat ha-tov, thanks, and appreciation to God for enabling the miracle of the establishment of the State of Israel.


Yet, these days end, time moves on, and slowly, we forget. We forget the sense of hakarat ha-tov towards the families who send their most precious to fight for what we have; we forget the heavy price we pay for this Land; and we forget the hakarat ha-tov to Hashem for the modern-day miracle of living in the State.


So, as we end this week, hopefully still on a 'high' of appreciation and hakarat hatov, let us pray that these moments will carry us throughout the year, so that not a day goes by where we don't have full kavanah when saying 'Modim anachnu lach' -- how thankful we are to You, for the miracles that we live in and with. May we always have a sense of appreciation. May we always feel that connection. May we always be inspired. May these moments that we hopefully experienced and felt this week that are 'Gedolim' truly carry us over through the moments in our lives that are 'Ketanim,' so that we never stop thanking and we never ever stop appreciating. 





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