On Sunday, July 15, Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein shared an inspiring shiur on the value of one second in this world. He began by quoting from a mishnah in Pirkei Avos that teaches that one moment of doing t’shuvah and good deeds in this world is better than the Next World. Also, one second of spiritual bliss in the Next World is worth more than everything else in this world. This appears contradictory.
Rabbi Wallerstein then went on to clarify this. “A person needs to feel needed in this world. If someone is depressed, I push him or her to do chesed, especially with special-needs children. This helps them feel needed. When you help people, it makes them smile and takes them out of their pain, and that is Olam HaZeh.” The mishnah is teaching that a moment in this world of g’milas chasadim is worth more than the Next World.”
He explained that the world we live in is based on time. You can’t go backwards. Hashem created t’shuvah when He created the world. T’shuvah enables a person to go backwards in time. We can’t do t’shuvah in the Next World and only t’shuvah can knock out sins. “T’shuvah is a not-normal present from Hashem that allows us to go back in time in a world of time.” He taught that when a person does t’shuvah because he loves Hashem, then Hashem takes away the sin and turns it into a mitzvah. Hashem lets you go beyond time and change everything.
Rav Nachman of Breslov taught that we know there is nothing extra in this world, not even a blade of grass. Everything has its own special mal’ach. Jealousy takes you out of this world. If you want to be someone else, then you want to be a duplicate; and since Hashem has nothing extra in this world, you are taking yourself out of the world.
Rabbi Wallerstein imparted that when you wake up in the morning, that means Hashem needs you in this world that day because if you were extra, you would not wake up. Hashem is telling you: I need you. You have to look in the mirror and figure out that you are not extra. So, before you go to sleep at night, think about what you did today for Hashem. He added that Modeh Ani should be a shirah. “You need me today? Wow what a compliment. The King of Kings needs me!” We should be dancing when we come to davening. “It’s the biggest compliment!”
He explained that there is a misunderstanding that people think Hashem took his anger out on wood and not people when the Temple was destroyed. Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus taught: “G-d forbid. Hashem didn’t lose control. He saw klal Yisrael were sinning because they just assumed they would bring a korban and then they would be forgiven. They were going deep into sins and using the Temple as their out. Hashem said that instead of letting klal Yisrael fall into an abyss of tum’ah, I will break the Temple. It was not a question of anger; rather, it was an act of love for His children.
He went on to teach that it is not correct to serve Hashem because you want a reward or because you want to avoid punishment. “Our job is to teach everyone to serve Hashem from love. It’s a different relationship.”
Hashem loves us so much that, if one’s life is in danger, we break Shabbos or other mitzvos in His Torah to save that life. Rabbi Wallerstein taught that “teva (nature) is the fingerprint of Hashem.”
Rabbi Wallerstein shared that he traveled to the Amazon Jungle with a minyan and, in the rain forest, he observed first-hand a pasuk we recite in Ashrei: that Hashem opens His hand and provides every living thing with its food.
This shiur can be viewed on TorahAnytime.com.
By Susie Garber