Apr 30, 2012

Mitzva Appreciation

When people blithely agree to do a mitzva in someone's zechus, do they realize the significance?

The late Rabbi Scheinberg's nephew said that when his father (husband of Racoma Shain of "All For the Boss" fame) passed away, his mother went to her brother-in-law, Rabbi Scheinberg and asked him to please learn 15 minutes a day in the merit of her husband.  Rabbi Scheinberg refused.  He finally compromised and said he would learn five minutes a day for seven days.

His explanation was, "If you had come and offered me a million dollars for five minutes, I would have refused.  I only did it for you."

In other words, he was loathe to part with the merit of his Torah study.

This reminds me of the story that is told of when Rabbi Naftoli Tropp, the rosh yeshiva in Radin, was very sick.  The bachurim donated years of their lives to save the Rosh Yeshiva. One person was sent to ask the Chofetz Chaim how much he'd be willing to donate. The Chofetz Chaim said he would need to think about it. Later he said he was willing to donate five minutes! Every minute was precious to him and it was no small matter to donate five minutes of his life.

So when people make an announcement that a shiur is being learned in someone's merit, what does that mean for the people sitting in the shiur? Does it mean that they willingly forego the zechus of their learning for someone else? Who says they agree to that? Ditto for doing mitzvos in someone's zechus - are you sure you want to give the zechus away? Do you truly appreciate the value of a mitzva?

see also: this

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