CLOSENESS TO HASHEM
THE STRONG DESIRE WITHIN EVERY JEW TO SERVE
There exists within every Jew a deep inner desire to come
close to Hashem. There are those who feel this very often and
there are those who feel this less, yet the inner source for this
resides within every Jew.
The midrash writes, “When the Holy Temple was being
destroyed, the conquering gentiles wanted the first person to
enter the Temple and plunder it be a Jew (seemingly to
denigrate them even more). A Jew by the name of Yosef Meshisa
took the task upon himself, entered the Holy Temple, and
brought out the menora. The gentiles then asked him to re-enter
and bring out another item. However this time he refused and
said, “Is it not sufficient that I angered my Creator once, that I
should anger him again”.
The gentiles tried to convince him with
substantial sums of money and high positions, and then
threatened him with punishments and death, but he would not
give in. In the end, they gave him a terrible death with an axe
While they were killing him he was shouting, but not because of
the terrible pain, rather he cried out, ‘Woe is to me that I
angered my Creator, woe is to me that I angered my Creator.’”
We ask the question, where did this Jew find the strength to
make such a turnaround in one short instant? Just one moment
earlier he had agreed to enter the Holy Temple and plunder it, a
terrible act in itself, and especially at such a difficult time for
the Jewish nation.
The temple was being destroyed, so many
people killed, captured, wounded, starving, and suffering; and at
such a time to be so treacherous and enter the holiest place of
the nation and plunder it! Still, one moment later he changed
himself, reaching the lofty level of being killed for the sake of
the glorification of Hashem’s name. And even more, at the time
of his death he didn’t cry out due to the pain, but because he
had angered his Creator!
The answer is that within every Jew lies a holy soul that
wants only to do the will of Hashem with all its might. But, there
are many coverings on the soul, which sometimes have their
own desires, affecting the actions of a person. This is especially
true if these urges are influenced by an environment that does
not follow the way of Hashem. Therefore even this Jew, who
stooped so low as to enter the Holy Temple and plunder it,
could in one moment affect a complete turnaround. Deep
within him, he had a holy soul whose desire was only to serve
Hashem – at any cost.
The work of every Jew is to work on himself so that the sacred part within him affects his actions and behavior in order that he always goes in the ways of Hashem.
There are a few ways that a person can activate this. We will
bring two of the main ways here. The first is that a person must
know the greatness of the goodness hidden within him, and also
of his great inner ability to reach high levels in serving Hashem.
The second way is that a person must know the profound results
of his every action, word, intention, thought or desire for good.
There is no doubt that if every Jew were to recognize these
two strengths within him, in their entirety, this knowledge alone
would bring him enormous strength. He would withstand all
tests and serve his Creator with all his might, day and night. It
could also be that he would manage to avoid the spiritual
pitfalls of this world. However, it is usually not within our power
to fully recognize our resources. Still, it follows that the more a
person knows about his abilities, and tries to strengthen them,
his desire to serve his Creator will intensify and increase.