Description: Chapter 5 - 01
Chapter 5 – 01
Chazal say, that the zchus of chesed can help us even after the zchus of our Avos, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov can’t help us anymore. This is learned from the pasuk:
כי ההרים ימושו והגבעות תמוטינה וחסדי מאתך לא ימוש כו' אמר מרחמך ה'
Hashem says, if you see that the zchus of Avos and Imahos isn’t helping anymore, find chesed to do! Haharim refers to the Avos, Gevaos refers to the Imahos, what is there for us to do? Hashem’s kindness is forever.
The Chafetz Chaim explains, that Avraham Avinu with his tremendous chesed, and the Avos who followed in his path, brought Hashem’s kindness down on this world, on all of His creations. Until the Avos, the Shechinah resided in the seventh heaven, and Avraham brought the Shechinah down one level, and Yitzchak brought the Shechinah down to the fifth level, and Yaakov to the fourth, and so on, each one of them causing Hashem to connect with the world in a greater and greater level, bringing greater kindness to all creations. By Mattan Torah the Shechinah came down to this world.
However, all actions and deeds of humans are limited and have a gvul. Therefore, the pasuk advises us that when we see that their zchus isn’t helping us anymore, we should adopt the practice of kindness ourselves and this way once again bring Hashem’s presence down to this world in kindness. That is what the pasuk means, that even though the accomplishment of the Avos and Imahos, which was to bring Hashem’s kindness down to this world, may fade, Hashem’s kindness never fades, meaning we can keep it here! We can continue and hold on to what the Avos and Imahos began, through emulating their ways, Hashem’s ways of kindness, and thereby bringing the Shechinah down to this world.
The Chafetz Chayim continues in a footnote, that in these days, meaning the time he was living through, the first world war, and all the years in between which led to the second world war and the rise of communism, there is a great middas hadin. The only way to protect ourselves from this middas hadin, is to connect ourselves to chessed as much as possible. The pasuk we say every day when putting on tefillin:
וארשתיך לי לעולם, וארשתיך לי בצדק ובמשפט ובחסד ורחמים
I will betroth you to me forever, I will betroth you through righteousness, justice, kindness, and mercy. This means Hashem says, if Klal Yisrael, who they themselves are in such great need of kindness, yet they practice kindness between themselves, I Hashem, who am full of mercy and kindness should certainly act with them with kindness and mercy!
Chazal say in Eliyahu Rabbah, that when Klal Yisrael were in Mitzrayim, suffering through all those centuries of oppression, they made a pact between themselves – a bris. They made a covenant that they will do gemilas chesed with one another – practice kindness! They made a pact they won’t the bris of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov in their hearts, and they will serve Hashem alone, and they will continue to speak Lashon Hakodesh and not adopt the Egyptian tongue.
What does this mean, that they made a pact, a covenant to do chesed?
They saw that Pharaoh was getting crueler and meaner, and nothing seemed to help, they were at his mercy and being made to suffer. They therefore came together and made a pact to do kindness, so that Hashem’s middah of kindness would be strengthened, would be brought down to this world, and would spread throughout Klal Yisrael, hoping that this would be the zechus for their geulah. In truth, it was the reason they merited being redeemed, as Chazal say on the pasuk נחית בחסדך עם זו גאלת, you led with kindness the nation you redeemed, nachisah bi’chasdechah, this refers to gemilas chesed, nehaltah be’uzechah, this refers to Torah. They had Torah as well in Mitzrayim as the medrash relates that they had a yeshiva where they taught the lessons handed over from the Avos, and the mitzvos they were commanded.