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What is the Reason: More Assorted Topics Continued Print E-mail

Questions“The Teshuva of placing your hat on your feet,” “The man who returned as a bull,” “Singing like an instrument,” “The true greatness of the Chafetz Chaim,” and “Memory & Imagination.”


The Teshuva of Placing Your Hat on Your Feet

Rav Eliyahu Lapian told three stories of people who held onto their foolishness until the day of their death: Two sisters hated each other. One became mortally ill and asked for her sister: “I want to take revenge before I die,” she said from her deathbed, and she bit her sister.

One man divided all his property between his children, but could not decide what to do with a single sheep. He was groaning and moaning as he struggled to decide to which child to give the sheep, and he died with this on his mind!

There was a man called, “Grouchy Nachman,” who would yell at children who played outside his home, making noise. As he lay dying, the children wanted to see if he would still rise up to yell at them from his window, so they gathered right outside and made a ruckus. His final words were, “Shut up!”

One man asked his children to place his hat on his feet to fool the angel of death. He based this on the verse, “She joyfully awaits the last day (Proverbs 31).” He smiled and said, “She makes jokes on the final day of her life!” He realized how insignificant were most of the things that occupied his mind and bothered him while he was alive, and did complete Teshuva in his final moments.

The Man who Returned as a Bull

A bull was prepared for a bull fight in Castille. The night before the bullfight, a deceased man appeared to his son in a dream, and said, “Know, my son, that I have been reincarnated many times in different forms since my death because of my many sins. I have now been reincarnated as the bull that will be used in tomorrow’s bullfight, and will suffer terribly. Therefore, my son, ransom me so that I can escape through that certain path. Do not hesitate to spend as much as you need. Purchase me, slaughter the bull, and feed its meat to the poor and scholars. I have been given permission by Heaven to make this request of you, so that my soul my finally rise up and attach to God.” (Sefer Chareidim, Chapter 33)

Singing Like an Instrument

“As the musician played, the Hand of God came upon him(II Kings 3:15),” vihaya kimnagen haMinagen, when the singer sings as an instrument, without any thought of himself other than to express the music, then, “the Hand of God came upon him.” (The Kotzker)

The True Greatness of the Chafetz Chaim

I said that the true greatness of the Chafetz Chaim was not that he never spoke Lishon Harah, but that his commitment to Halacha was such, that there was no difference to him between eating bacon and speaking Lishon Harah. The Chazon Ish explained how the Chafetz Chaim achieved this level of commitment:

The Chafetz Chaim sent three of his students, including Rav Elchonon Waserman ztvk”l, to form a Beit Din to forcibly remove a Dybbuk from a suffering man. They convened the “Court,” and said, “Yisrael Meir ben Aryeh Ze’ev orders you to leave, and he will study Mishna in your merit to raise your soul!” The Dybbuk heard the Chafetz Chaim’s name, and said, “They tremble before his name even in Heaven!” The three rabbis asked why, expecting to hear about his care with his speech and his righteousness, but the Dybbuk responded, “Because he studies Torah Lishma, with pure love!”

Memory & Imagination

A child has a better memory because he also has freer reign in his imagination. As he matures and acquires wisdom, he uses less imagination, and therefore has a weaker memory. When he ages and is all wisdom, he begins to forget. (Nofet Tzufim #69)

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