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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Are You Waiting for the Life-Changing Email?

Daf Yomi Chagigah 19

Let me tell you about Jimmy.   Every day he eagerly checks the mail.  He checks his email many, many times a day.  He knows that one day he is going to get an email that will change his life.  His life may be pretty dull today, but very soon that HUGE LIFE-CHANGING EMAIL is going to appear.  He even googles his name every so often to check if he’s been discovered yet!

The Rabbis taught:  Concerning one who washes his hands, if he had intent (to purify them), his hands are purified; if he did not have intent, his hands remain impure.
But we learned in a Beraisa:  Whether or not one had intent, his hands are purified!
Rabbi Nachman answers:  The latter ruling concerns regular bread.  The former ruling concerns agricultural tithed bread. 

How do we know that regular bread does not require intent? 
The Mishnah states: The minimum volume of a mikvah is forty seah (approx. 332 litres).  If a wave detached from the ocean, containing forty seah, and fell upon a person and utensils, they are purified.
From this Mishnah we learn that man is like utensils.  Just like the utensils had no intent, similarly man needs no intent.

‘How do you know that’s the meaning?’ asks the Gemara, ‘Maybe we are dealing with a case where the person is sitting and waiting for when the wave will detach!’   In other words, the man had the intent!

Picture it.  Jimmy is sitting on the beach waiting for G-d to send a massive wave to rain down upon him and purify him.  Otherwise put, he is waiting for a miracle from G-d to turn his life around!   The imagery is so powerful.  If he would only get up and do something to make his life happen, he could achieve unbelievable success.  Actually, if he wants to be purified, all he really has to do is get up and walk ten steps towards the water; take a dip; and he is pure!

But instead, he just sits on the beach, letting life pass him by, waiting for a miracle to happen that will change his life.  Guess what, Jimmy?!  That email doesn’t just arrive; you need to take life by the horns and make it happen.  When you’ve created the vessel for G-d’s blessing, He can send you the email.  Simply sitting on the beach waiting doesn’t work.

Go out and conquer the world today!  You can purify yourself!  You can make waves!  Don’t sit around waiting for life to happen!  You alone hold the key to your life’s miracles!

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