Thursday, May 18, 2017

Parshas Behar Bechukosai - Life Isn't A Competition

Shaaloooom sweeetest friends!!!!!!!

A huuuuuugeeeee mazel toooov to my beloved friends Rav and Mrs. Yosef Wilcox on the birth of their daughter Gila Chaya!!! May she grow up to be sweet and holy like her parents and be a light unto the whole world. 

A huuuuuugeeeee mazel tov to my beloved friends R' Moshe and Elana Eisman on the birth of Tehilla Rivka!! So much tefilla was behind the birth of this holy baby which will DEFINITELY be the root of much success in life. May she be a happy, healthy tzadekes and see Moshiach before her first birthday!!!

A huuuuugeeee mazel toooov to my beloved friends HaRav and Mrs. Binyamin Staiman on the birth of their son!! His number in the family is - qua Maharal - above nature [poo poo - bli ayin hara]!!! May he be sweet, lovable beautiful and holy like all of his very special siblings and give his wonderful parents much nachas!!!

This weeks dvar Torah is dedicated to the zchus of my beloved friends R' and Mrs. Chaim Shenkman in honor of the upsherin of their unbelievably sweet son. May he give them limitless nachas together with all of his siblings and may the Shenkman home continue being a mini-Beis Hamikdash.

"If it's not whether you win or lose - then why do they keep score?"

Vince Lombardi 

The pasuk in Parshas Behar says וחי אחיך עמך. 

There is a famous gemara in Bava Metzia that asks what to do if two people are in the desert and one of them has a little bit of water but not enough for both of them to survive until they return to civilization. Ben Ptura says מוטב שישתו שניהם וימיתו ואל יראה אחד במיתת חבירו- They should split the water and die and one shouldn't see his friend die. 

Rebbe Akiva argued that we have a pasuk וחי אחיך עמך - You brother shall live WITH you. But if you can't live together then your life takes precedence and the person who has the water should drink it all himself, despite the fact that his friend will die.

We must understand Ben Ptura's opinion. What benefit will EITHER OF THEM HAVE if they both die. How can we tell both of them to die?? What are we gaining? Rebbe Akiva's opinion seems to make more sense - At least save yourself. The friend is going to die ANYWAY!! 

There are numerous explanations offered for Ben Ptura. I would like to suggest one [that may or may not be written somewhere]. Ben Ptura had mercy. If he tells the person to take the water and drink it all himself - how will he be able to live with himself afterwards?? How can someone live knowing that he is only alive at the expense of his friend?? What type of life is that? If he would have given his friend all of the water then his friend would still be alive. So how can he take it for himself??? So Ben Ptura says "Split it" and hope that with the few extra hours of life it gives you someone will rescue you in the meantime. But it would be cruel punishment to require the owner of the water to drink it, because for the rest of his life he would be tortured by guilt. 

Comes Rebbe Akive - the Rabbi who said that ואהבת לרעך כמוך is a כלל גדול בתורה [as noted by the אור הכתוב], and says that despite your love for your friend, we have a PASUK that tells you that you can't love your friend MORE than yourself and therefore you must take the water for yourself. Don't feel guilty!! You didn't take your friend's life but were just following the Divine law. Only Hashem, who gives life, has the right to take it and you are following His orders.   

All of sports is predicated on the notion of being successful at the expense of others. It doesn't matter how many points you scored as long as you scored more than the other team. There can only be a winner if there is a loser. This carries over into many other areas of life which are governed by competition. People's live are guided and fueled by the desire to "beat the competition". In business, at play and even, at times, in learning and Avodas Hashem. 

Hashem doesn't want us to compete. Ben Ptura teaches that it SHOULD be unbearable to live if you only have a gift or success at someone else's expense. The Messianic vision delineated by the Rambam [and actualized by the Lubavitcher Rebbe he should redeem us soon. And if not him -  Rav Shach. If not him  - whomever by golly - BUT LET HIM COME!!!] tells of a world where there is no תחרות - competition. We don't want to "beat" anybody else. We want EVERYBODY to succeed!!

Bimheira bi-yameinu!!!!

A sweeeeeet, delicious shabbos beloved friends!

Me 