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Rav Mattisyahu: Why Are We Asking For Life?

September 21, 2010 | Comments 0

rav mattisyahu salomonDuring the Aseres Yemei T’shuva, we are constantly asking Hashem for life – chayim. Zochrainu L’Chaim, Bisefer Chaim, U’chsov L’Chaim… Many years ago I heard a shmuz from Rav Mattisyahu Salomon who told how a kollel yungerman approached him and asked, “Why are we so occupied with asking Hashem for Life? Why do we need life so much?”

Rav Mattisyahu response to the tormented and troubled soul was classic and right on target. He said, “You need life because you need to fulfill your destiny. There is no escaping your destiny.” He then pointed out the powerful words of the Mishna Brurah in Hilchos Yom Kippur on the reason why we lain Yonah by Mincha on Yom Kippur afternoon. He says because we learn from Yonah that there really is no escaping what you were put on this world to accomplish. Yonah thought he could run away from Hashem and his command to reprimand the people of Ninveh. But he learned a powerful lesson – that as far as he could run he still could not avoid fulfilling his mission. Even if one is to say, “It’s too hard to become good – why go through the bother?” he should know that he is just delaying the inevitable, and he will come back to this world again so that he accomplishes what he is put here to do.

Life is really just about getting a chance to fulfill what you – and only you – are put down on this world for. It’s a few days after Yom Kippur, and the effects are starting to wear off, as they tend to do every year. What were we put here to accomplish? Is it to sit and learn in kollel your whole life? If yes, so continue on your mission. If not, then its time to make sure you are on the way to do what you are on this world for. We all davened for life – not so that we can sit back and relax and have everything fall into place on its own, but so that we should have the opportunity to fulfill ourselves and our mission.

It could be your mission is to become a Rav, Maggid Shiur, Rosh Yeshiva, mechaber seforim, or even just a super talmid chochom with no official position. So then lets make sure we are actively working on getting to that point. And it could also be that your mission is not to be one of these, but to be a honest working man who spends much time learning (which is no easy task). If that is the case, please let’s get going in that direction. Because if you continue drifting along aimlessly, one day you may be asking the question of “Why do we need life?”

Filed Under: InspirationRabbinical AdviceSelf Improvement

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