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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Stay focused on the mission

Daf Yomi Kesubos 99

Naaman, the great Aramean general, was stricken with leprosy.  At the urging of his wife, he goes off to see the prophet, Elisha, who cures him of his malady, having him dip seven times in the Jordan River.   He is supremely grateful to Elisha and wants to shower him with gifts of gold and silver, but the prophet will have nothing of it, noting that healing comes from G-d alone.  With that, Naaman departs.

Watching the miracle and pursuant conversation unfold, Elisha’s attendant, Gehazi, is astounded that his teacher has refused anything in return for his assistance.  Running after Naaman, he proceeds to proffer that he has been sent on a mission by his teacher, Elisha, to collect money and clothing for some poor yeshiva bochurim.  Naaman gives generously and Gehazi returns home and deposits the goods in his own tent.  Upon encountering Elisha, however, the prophet knows what Gehazi has done and curses him and his progeny with the leprosy that was removed from Naaman.

Mishnah:  If a widow sold property belonging to the children that was worth 101 zuz for 100, the sale is invalid.   If court judges incorrectly appraised such property by decreasing the value more than one sixth or increasing more than a sixth, the sale is invalid.
They asked: Who is a messenger like?  Is he like a widow, such that any error in price invalidates the sale?  Or is he like the judges, such that within one sixth of the correct value, the sale remains valid?
Rava quoted Rav Nachman: A messenger is like a judge.  Just like judges do not act for their own personal benefit, so too does a messenger not act for his own benefit. 

You are in this world on a Divine mission.  The Almighty sent you down here to make this world a better place.  The more you contribute during your short lifetime on earth, the more you have accomplished your mission.

Our Sages tell us that a judge who judges properly becomes a partner in creation.   G-d created a world requiring human intervention to perfect it.  Our job in the world is to teach and maintain a moral code that ultimately draws down G-dliness into the world.  When justice is carried out properly, the creation of the world is enhanced.

But it’s not only judges who have the ability to become partners in creation.  Anyone who fulfils their Divine mission becomes like a judge.  The less you act for your own benefit, instead acting for the Divine mission, the more you become a partner with the Almighty in the perfection of the world.  He purposefully created an imperfect world so that you, His child, could take over the business, so to speak.

Don’t be a Gehazi and let your own will get in the way of the mission.  You have been chosen from amongst billions of souls to come down into this world and perfect it.  May you merit staying focused on your mission and exceeding your Messenger’s expectations!