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Sunday, 23 November 2014

G-d has no shortage of messengers

Daf Yomi Yevamos 50

At the behest of wicked Haman, King Ahasuerus was ready to annihilate the entire Jewish nation.  Mordecai appeals to his niece, Queen Esther, who hesitates to act for fear of rocking the boat with her husband, the king, when she has not been called upon.  In one of the most dramatic motivational speeches in the Bible, Mordecai declares, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from some other source and you and your father’s house shall perish.  Who knows?  Perhaps it was for a moment like this that you were placed on the throne!”

The Torah states, “I shall fill the number of your days.”  The Beraisa teaches: This verse refers to the years of a person’s life.  If he merits, he gets his complete number of years.   If he does not merit, he gets less.  This is the opinion of Rabbi Akiva.   But the Sages say, if he merits, he gets additional years and if he does not merit, he gets less. 

They asked Rabbi Akiva: The prophet Isaiah said to King Hezekiah, “I shall add fifteen years to your life!”
Rabbi Akiva replied: They were added from the years that were originally allotted to him.  The proof is that the prophet stood up and prophesied, “Behold a son shall be born to the House of David, his name will be Josiah.”  But Manasseh, Josiah’s grandfather, had not yet been born to Hezekiah and so clearly he had more time still to live! 
The Rabbis respond: Does it say that Josiah must come from Hezekiah?  No!  Isaiah said that he “shall be born to the House of David,” which means either from Hezekiah or someone else. 

Many times in life you are called upon to fulfill an important mission.  And you think to yourself: It’s too hard. I’m not sure I can do it.  What will the impact be on my life?

Rest assured, the Almighty has many messengers.  If you don’t do it, He’ll find someone else to take care of it.  Your loss.  He already has the plan all mapped out.   If you choose, you can be part of that game plan.  If you choose not to, it won’t mess up G-d’s plans; he’ll just find someone else who is willing to take on the challenge.  And “you and your father’s house shall perish” into historical irrelevancy.

Maybe it’s a communal leadership position, like serving your shul or school board.  Maybe it’s inviting a widow to your Shabbos table.  Maybe it’s reaching out to someone who has been through a difficult ordeal, like a divorce.  Maybe it’s writing a letter to the newspaper to protest anti-Israel journalism.  And you think to yourself, ‘I really can’t be bothered.  My life is busy enough as it is.’  Do you really think G-d needs you?  He doesn’t need you.  He can find many other willing people to offer the mitzvah to.  But if He has revealed this opportunity to you, it means that you are His first pick.  Are you up for the challenge or will you pass up your chance for spiritual greatness?

You have been given an awesome task in this world.  Will you take it on or will you go through life passing for mediocrity?