What is the Reason:Stringencies, Boring Guests, Rosh Chodesh, Manna, and Tears
I heard that Chumrot – Stringencies – are tools of the Evil Inclination. Can you explain? RG It is not the Chumrah that is dangerous, but our response to Chumrot that can damage our spiritual life. The Maggid of Mezeritch is quoted as saying: “The Yetzer Harah will convince someone who has broken a Chumrah that he has committed a terrible sin. The guilt will sadden the person, and the Evil Inclination has no weapon more powerful than sadness.” Since the time of Adam and Chava, when the former did not tell his wife, with disastrous consequences, that his instruction to “not even touch the tree” – a Chumrah – was just that, an added protective stringency, we have learned to always be careful in presenting law as law and Chumrah, as a stringency.
Is there an obligation to allow a boring guest to speak at will? Must we all sit and listen to a guest’s silly Divrei Torah? DR
Thanks for the rebuke. The answer to both your questions is an unqualified “Yes!” The Chesed L”Avraham (8:15) rules: “People must be very careful to listen to the stories and words of Torah of a guest. The host should not contradict his guest, as this will distress the guest. Even if the guest is long-winded, the host should listen with patience, as this is a fundamental Chesed.” Please note: Halacha always encourages us to use our reason.
Is it true that we have a “Neshama Yeseira” – Increased Spiritual Capacity – on Rosh Chodesh? MN
Although there is a great debate about this question, because this Friday and Shabbat are Rosh Chodesh Iyar, I offer the words of the Vilna Gaon from his commentary on the Tikkunei Zohar #21 (57a): We are granted a Neshama Yeseira on every day that we recite the Mussaf – Additional Prayer – which indicates the additional spiritual capacity.
Is there more meaning to the Lechem Mishna, Two Loaves of Challah, which reminds us of the double portion of Manna that fell before Shabbat, than just the extra portion? AS
The Ahavas Shalom (Bereshis) taught that when the Midrash and Zohar say that God blessed the Shabbat with the Manna, they mean that those who merit can actually experience the Manna when they eat their Shabbat meals.
If the “Gates of Tears” are never shut, why are they necessary? SS
Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk taught that the gates are for those who cry without knowing why they are crying!