Searching For Simplicity: Na'aman II
From an unedited transcript of a shiur: We have a story of, at least, Naaman, definitely the king of Aram, Naaman’s wife, they send out raiding parties and this world power with all its raiding parties captures only one girl. So, they have work for Mrs. Naaman. And this girl, we continue in verse 3, she said to her mistress, ‘my master’s prayers should be directed to the prophet who is in Samaria, which is the capital of the 10 tribes, then the prophet will heal Naaman from his tzoraas.’
So she is saying a very simple thing, she is a simple girl. She sees someone with tzoraas, she doesn’t want him to suffer. And this girl has been taken captive, I’m assuming she is not happy being a captive, she is working as a maidservant for Naaman’s wife, I’m assuming she is not happy about being a maidservant. But she sees someone suffering and she says well why don’t you just go and ask the prophet for help, he will heal you? So here is this simple girl, she sees it very clearly because on the most basic level it makes sense, it’s very logical. you have a Navi, you go to the Navi.
She doesn’t begin to consider, well, is Naaman a good person or is he a bad person, will Hashem want to heal Naaman, will he not? She sees things on a very basic level which is another very important message of teshuva. And the best example of this is from another story in tanach. and this is the way it is explained by Rav Chaim Shmulevitz who was the mashgiach, the spiritual mentor of the students in the Mir yeshiva in yerushalayim. The medrash says that when the brothers took Yaakov Avinu’s body to Chevron to bury it, they were about to enter the caves and Eisav shows up. And Eisav says, hold on, one second, you cant bury Yaakov there, I’m the older brother, I’m the one who get s buried with Avraham, Yitzchak, Sarah, Rivka, I’m the one who gets buried there, you can’t bury Yaakov.
So the brothers say, what are you talking about Eisav? Yaakov bought the birthright from you. So you can’t complain. So Eisav goes, oh yeh, show me a contract. Well, we didn’t bring his file cabinets with us you know to the cemetery, are your crazy.
Well, I’m not going to let you bury him until you bring me the contract.
So the brothers chose Naftali, who is the swiftest of all the brothers to run back to Egypt to access Yaakov Avinu’s computer with his password, everything, find the file where he scanned in the contract with Eisav for the birthright and they are waiting for Naftali to return.
But meanwhile, the brother Dan had a son who was deaf, and his name was Chushim. Chushim couldn’t hear any of Eisav’s arguments. Chushim had no idea what was going on, there was no lip reading, he didn’t know about sign language or anything. So when all he sees is that here is this bum Eisav whose ruining a funeral, who has time for this kind of stuff at a funeral? He has no idea what is going on, he sees it for what it is. Eisav is ruining Yaakov’s funeral. He takes his sword he chops of Eisav’s head, Eisav’s head rolls into the cave and then they go and they bury Yaakov Avinu.
So Rav Chaim Shmulevitz says, you know, what this is telling us, it is so easy, Eisav comes and he begins this whole spiel, well, legally, I’m the one with the birthright and legally I’m the one who should be buried there. And meanwhile the brothers get all caught up in the arguments, and they get all caught up in the legalities. But Chushim, who can’t hear the arguments, sees it at its most simple basic level, he sees it for what he is, Eisav is embarrassing his grandfather Yaakov. Eisav is ruining Yaakov’s funeral, he takes his sword, he chops of Eisav’s head and he deals with it.
There are times, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz explains, we get all caught up in all sorts of arguments, and then we begin to question ourselves back and forth, should we be doing this, should we be doing that and we get so wrapped up in the legalities or so wrapped up in being open minded and hearing both sides of the questions that we lose simple sight. Seeing something for what it is. But the person who can see something at its essence, at its core, that person is going to move and do something about it. That’s what Chushin did. He couldn’t hear the arguments so he saw it for what it is. This young women, perhaps, I am convinced she could not possibly have been happy where she was in Aram, but the fact is she saw it for what it was. She had no calculations about Jew and non-Jew, she had no calculations about good person, bad person, she sees someone who is ill, she knows that there is a Navi, what do you do? You send the ill person to the Navi.
This is part of the process of teshuva. We get wrapped up in all sorts of – well you know this is much more complicated than it seems on its surface because I have to deal with all sorts of issues, you know, whether I have time to learn and really is it the right thing for me to be learning and what is the most effective thing for me to be learning and I don’t really have time to reflect on it so perhaps I should be doing something different. And we begin to complicate things in our head to such a point that we lose the simple view of this little girl.
And part of what we can do on Rosh Hashana is get rid of all the arguments, get rid of all the confusion and just see things on a very basic level. Has our service of G-d, has our quality of life, our love of life, our passion for life our commitment to growth, has it increased this year or not? That’s really all Hashem wants from us – is to say – we want life, but life for what it is supposed to be.
If we get caught up in our mistakes in our lackings in different things that we do that make our lives complicated, we won’t be able to ask ourselves the basic question that Chushin, the deaf son of Dan would ask. If we get all caught up in the number of mitzvos that we did as opposed to the numbers of mistakes, instead of simply evaluating our lives we would not have the simple, beautiful view of life that this young women had when she said to Naaman you have tzoraas, go to the prophet.
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