Description: Chapter 11
Chapter 11 – 01
The Chafetz Chaim in this perek discusses how to deal with one overarching problem, which is a challenge in all areas of Avodas Hashem, and in reality, in all areas of life itself. That problem is laziness, atzlus. Laziness comes in all shapes and forms, and sometimes we recognize it as laziness, and other times we make up many justifications why we aren’t doing something – although the true reason is simple atzlus.
The Chafetz Chaim has a very long footnote where he explains a beautiful medrash, and this is one part of Ahavas Chesed which stuck with me since I’ve been in Yeshivah.
The Medrash says,
ועתה ישראל מה ה' אלוקיך שואל מעמך כי אם ליראה אותו – אין 'ועתה' אלא תשובה
The pasuk says, ‘And now, Klal Yisrael, what does Hashem ask from you? Just to fear Him… and Chazal say, ‘And now’ always means teshuvah. What does this mean? Why specifically in the word ‘vi’atah’ is a hint to teshuvah?
The answer is, that this is one of the chief ploys of the Yetzer Horah. When you have thoughts of doing a mitzvah, learning, davening, maybe adding some learning time, seeking out a chesed, making a phone call to someone in need, the Yetzer Horah immediately tells you, ‘Today you are very busy. There’s so much going on! There’s no way you have time for this. Tomorrow your schedule will clear up a little, the kids won’t be so crazy, your emails won’t have piled up, housework will be under control, etc. etc. That’s when you will do it!’ Of course, ‘tomorrow,’ never comes, because the Yetzer Horah tells you this every day! He doesn’t get bored or tired of telling you the same rhetoric over and over again, if it works! If not, he is supremely creative, and will find another way to convince you that today is simply not the auspicious time to start doing this mitzvah. Tomorrow! That’s the day!
The pasuk in Mishlei says: אל תאמר לרעך לך ושוב ומחר אתן ויש אתך – don’t tell your friend go now, and come back tomorrow and then I’ll give you, and in reality, you have the money today. This pasuk is simply referring to when you owe money, don’t push off the debtor by saying you’ll pay tomorrow if you have the money today. But it is hinting at the Yetzer Tov, our only true friend - who wants you to fulfill your obligations today, and you tell him, go now and come back tomorrow! Then I’ll have time, when in reality you have time today.
The Chafetz Chaim says he heard in the name of ‘Gaon Echad,’ that a person should think three things, 1] I have only one day to live, 2] I only have this perek of Mishnayos or this daf of Gemarah to learn (whatever you are in the middle of,) and 3] I am the only Jew around, who has been commanded by Hashem to do this mitzvah, and the world depends on me!
If we would think that we have only one day left to accomplish – we most certainly would not push off things to tomorrow! We will continue on this point tomorrow iy”H.