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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reb Noson on the Blessing of Wealth

There is a beautiful commentary on the blessing of the Kohenim in parashat Naso by Reb Noson. It relates directly to the issue of money, which is appropriate at this time, for Reb Noson explains in LH on Shavuot that this is the key to the receiving of the Torah and the revelation of Hashem’s providence.

There Reb Noson explains that the יברכך is the blessing of money. He says that the Kohen is the man of chesed and that this blessing can only come through chesed. The man of chesed through his blessing is able to reveal the חסד חנם, the free given love that Hashem bestowed to sustain the world before the Torah was given. The Torah reveals the Hashem’s creating the world through the ten sayings at the beginning of בראשית. These ten sayings are found in all things and the enclothe Godliness and chesed. These ten sayings are the source of the power of the Kohenim saying their bracha.

ישמרך is protection from harmful spiritual forces. Work and the earning of money comes from the curse given to Adam. Therefore, there is a negativity that accompanies this activity. I think of this as the ego that believes that he has earned money through its own efforts and is inflated by its success or status. The Torah commands us as one of the ten remembrances each day to remember that Hashem gives us the power to earn a livelihood. This humbleness and acknowledgement protects the bracha we receive. This is also done through the giving of tzedaka.

In the second verse of the blessing the Kohen says that Hashem should shineHis face and give us grace. Reb Noson explains that all grace comes through attachment to Moses, the Tzaddik HaEmet, who had grace in the eyes of Hashem. And as we know from the first Torah or Rabbeinu, grace is the key to all tefilah.

Finally, the Kohen says, May Hashem lift His face and grant you peace. Reb Noson says that this is the purpose of everything. The revelation to the whole world how Hashem’s will is done by the Jewish people. Then the world is complete.

We can also see this that when a Jew follows in the path of the Tzaddik, then he achieves grace and his prayers are answered and he receives blessing, the revelation of Hashem’s chesed. In turn, the Jew gives tzedeka and thus also does an act of chesed. This creates shalom, completeness, as here on the earth below we follow in the way of Hashem and His Tzaddik.

I was also thinking about this in light of Torah ז. Rabbeinu teaches us the relationship of emunah to tefilah to miracles and the land of Israel. He explains that emunah is expressed in tefilah. Tefilah is a request to change the nature of things. In order to change things, we have to seek to go above nature, to request a miracle, so to speak. This is only possible through the connection to the Land of Israel, which is the part of the physical world that reveals Godliness and that which is above nature.

So many of us struggle with the issue of parnosa and here are many of the keys. The main key I think is to recognize that this blessing is an act of Hashem’s chesed. In order to merit such a blessing, it is only reasonable that we are the kind of people that acknowledge and bless Hashem for all the chesed He provides to us in our lives. If not, why would Hashem give us more blessing? It is not that Hashem wants to hold back, God forbid. If we receive a blessing and don’t give proper thanks and praise, then this reveals a lack in our emunah and causes prosecuting angels to speak out against us that we are not worthy. Hashem holds back in order to protect us from that. But the answer is very simple, we need to acknowledge all the good and kindness that Hashem does for us and that creates the proper spiritual vessels within us to receive greater shefa.

All this is dependent upon emunah, because emunah is the power to acknowledge Hashem and His goodness, especially when it is hidden. This gives us the power to pray and the confidence that we can trust in Hashem’s power to change the limits of nature and our worldly condition and thus reveal Hashem’s love and providence, which is the revelation of the Land of Israel.

I wanted to share some of my reflections about this but there is a lot more in Reb Noson’s commentary and said more clearly so take a look. Shavua tov, chodesh tov and Chag Sameach!

1 comment:

The villager said...

On the same subject, I suggest to read through the story of the spider and the fly. Notice that only those that are wise and rich can climb the mountain! We are supposed to climb the mountain so we can read the petek which is on top! Who is wise? One who knows the petek by heart! who is rich? Someone who has printed and "sold" many peteks! Are there exceptions? I do not believe there are, time will tell.
The family made a living from watering trees but this son couldn't stand, he is the one that defeated all the MFSS.