Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday's Thoughts on Teshuva - The Rabbi Frand Teshuva Derasha 5778 - Part II

The following is a continuation of my summary of some of the thoughts said by Rabbi Frand in his teshuva derasha recorded at a Just One Life event in Brooklyn on Tuesday. (The first part can be found here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2017/09/thursdays-thoughts-on-teshuva-rabbi.html). Same rules as usual apply. I have attempted to summarize many of the thoughts to the best of my abilities. Any inconsistencies are the results of my transcription and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand next asked --how does one's making sacrifices in the name of someone else's trouble, cause mercy from Hashem? And, how can we become more empathetic?

R' Frand answered the first question by stating that if the person knows that you are suffering with him and feel for him, then he knows that he is not alone. Because the worst thing for a person is to think that he is abandoned. When Hashem gave the Satan permission to bring troubles to Job, He told him that you can't kill him. So how did he make sure that the troubles did not kill Job? By making sure that he had three friends who were there for Job to consult and commiserate with.

R' Frand related that he had met two women suffering from the same disease and with the same troubles. One was upbeat because she had friends and support from her community, even though it dd not solve her medical or other non-financial issues. And the other woman was despondent, because she felt that no one cared about her troubles.

R' Frand then asked, but if the person does not know that you are effected, how does it help? The people in the concentration camps did not know that the Rebbetzin was not having sugar in her tea! R' Frand answered that it works on a different level. The pasuk in Ha'azinu (Devarim 32:4) states that Hashem's punishment and methods are perfect. The who is suffering receives no more than he should get. But now the balance is being upset. He is supposed to suffer, not the other people. This is why a person goes to a Rebbi, because he really feels for that person and suffers with them. And then Hashem kivayachol says --he's not supposed to be feeling that too.

R' Frand told a story about a friend of his who met the Spinker Rebbi years ago in the mountains. He told the Rebbi that his mother was very sick and he asked the Rebbi to daven for his mother. The following year he wound up back in the mountains and came across the Rebbi. Before he could open his mouth, the Rebbi asked him --how is your mother. This man was not a chassid, and surely the Rebbi saw countless people who asked him to daven for them. This is a tzaddik and Hashem says that is not what I wanted. And when an entire community does this, Hashem says that is not what I wanted.

R' Frand then addressed his second question by analyzing Moshe. At the time that Moshe was named the leader of the Jews he had a very sparse resume. All that we knew about him was that he took action to protect a Jew being beaten by an Egyptian, that he went out and saw the Jews' troubles and that he intervened to save Yisro's daughters when they were under attack. So how did Moshe become this person?

R' Frand quoted R' Chaim Shmuelevitz who explained that Moshe's power was that he saw their troubles. He looked in their faces and saw how they were suffering. R' Frand said that you need to look at what people are enduring and you need to listen to their problems. You may not have advice for them, but its important to be an ear to listen and (my words) a shoulder to cry on.

R' Frand quoted the Alter M'Kelem who explains that one needs the Koach HaTziur - he needs to be able to imagine what the person feels like. To be at a seder where a childless couple sits and listens to other people's children ask the Mah Nishtanah, without children of their own. Once you imagine this you can get involved and be the shoulder or ear for them.

R' Frand then told a story which he termed "incredible" but he knew that it was true because the woman told it to him. Its a story about two men who met by chance and shared a car ride together and resulted in a great friendship. Both men were baalei teshuva and talmidei chachamim, both with the same dreaded disease. One of the men passed away and his wife did not know how she would support the family. She contacted organizations, but the money was not enough...until one day she got a call from the other man who said "consider me your brother, and a brother will always take care of a sister." The man continued - what are your biggest worries? She said that her husband had a personal debt of more than $30,000. He sent her the money. He then asked what else are you worried about? She said that the bank was threatening to repossess their home. He took care of this debt and told his own children that they needed to "tighten their belt." And then he liquidated his pension fund to pay off the entire mortgage. This was not a millionaire. Nor was he a man who she had ever met. He had simply shared a car ride with her husband by chance, but he felt a responsibility.

R' Frand remarked that this man obviously had a big heart. But it was his ability to imagine his wife with the same problem if he had died of cancer which drove him to care for "his sister." But while this might be a bridge too far for most, there is something you can do, just ask. If you know someone has a problem, just ask how you can help. Cancer is not contagious and neither is unemployment. And dont pass on an opportunity to ask just because you dont want to remind them. They are thinking about it all the time anyway, so show you care.

R' Frand told a story about a man who got up from shiva and came back to shul and no one said a word. They did not ask how he was doing, they just continued their conversations.

R' Frand also spoke about R' Meir Zlotowitz ztl. People came afterwards to pay shiva calls, even though they did not know him, just as an appreciation for Art Scroll. A certain person came to pay a shiva call and was crying. He explained that 15 years ago he stopped putting on tefillin because he was angry at Hashem because his grandfather died. But when he would bump into R' Zlotowitz, he would ask how he was doing. Do you want to talk? And this was whenever they bumped into each other. The man said that Sunday morning he started putting on tefillin because of R' Zlotowitz, because he would ask, how are you doing. R' Zlotowitz was a busy man, known worldwide and certainly powerful. Everyone has an Art Scroll sefer. But he was not too busy or powerful or famous to ask a regular guy on the street how he was doing.

R' Frand spoke about the 13 middos which we said every morning of selichos. The gemara relates that Hashem told Moshe not to say the 13 middos, but "yasku" --do the 13 middos. We may not be able to liquidated our accounts to help others, but if we show we care and ask about others, we will be acting like the 13 middos which Hashem says will bring forgiveness and mercy.

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