She’lo sam chelkeinu kahem, v’goraleinu k’chol hamonam

For He has not assigned our portion like theirs, nor our lot like all their multitudes

 Every person and every nation has a portion (cheilek) and a designated objective (tafkid) in the revelation of Hashem’s honor. In general, the other nations’ cheilek is to support and assist klal Yisrael (though today we do not see how they actually support us) in our tafkid. However, we are more privileged to have a more direct service of Hashem through learning and fulfillment of the Torah.

Goral represents the tools that Hashem provides us with, so that we can perform our tafkid. Each of us has a unique tafkid, and each of us is given exactly what we need when we need it, to fulfill that tafkid. [HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Sifsei ChaimMoadim 1]

Today, when we do not have prophets to tell us precisely what our tafkid is, the Vilna Gaon says that our tafkid is to focus on learning, to fulfill the Torah and mitzvos, and to do Hashem’s will to the best of our understanding. HaRav Shlomo Wolbe [Alei Shur] explains that the Gaon is not saying that we don’t have an individual tafkid today, but rather that we do not have n’viim or ruach ha’kodesh to determine what that tafkid is on our own. However, if we learn Torah and perform mitzvos with purity of heart to understand and perform the true will of Hashem, then the Torah will guide us to our tafkid. This requires many years of toil, learning Torah and performing mitzvos properly, coupled with a lot of work to remove our personal desires and biases from clouding our judgment. Our ultimate goal must be to uncover and perform the ratzon of Hashem and not to gratify ourselves personally.

If we are thinking, Why isn’t Hashem giving me that million-dollar deal so I can give all that tz’dakah that I want to give, perhaps that is not yet our tafkid at the present moment. We are required to do our part as mentioned above and learn to trust that Hashem will do His.

Recapping the essence of Aleinu up to this point: We are praising Hashem, Who not only created the Universe but Who is also the Master over all, and Who watches over us with hashgachah pratis. We are also expressing our understanding of how privileged we are to have been chosen collectively as Hashem’s nation, having the honor of serving Hashem more directly than all the other nations of the world. We are similarly privileged on an individual level to serve Hashem more directly than individuals from other nations. These privileges should cause us to feel great joy over our good fortune to have been created as members of klal Yisrael.

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You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.