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People Who Care

People vary in nature. Some people care; others do not. Some people care about what happens to the Jewish people and what happens to the Land of Israel; for others, these matters are not high up on the list of their priorities.
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Dedicated to the memory of
Yaakov Ben Behora
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People vary in nature.
Some people care; others do not.
Some people care about what happens to the Jewish people and what happens to the Land of Israel; for others, these matters are not high up on the list of their priorities.
There are those who, more than anything else, are filled with a desire to magnify the honor of God and the dignity of the Jewish people.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lutzatto, the "Ramchal," in his classic work, "Mesillat Yesharim," writes (end of chapter 19): "It cannot be said that one who is motivated in his Divine service by a desire purify his soul before his Creator so that he can come to sit in His presence together with the just and the saintly, to see the pleasantness of God, to dwell within His sanctuary and to receive the reward of the World to Come - it cannot be said that such a person is badly motivated.
"
On the other hand," The "Ramchal" continues, "we cannot say that his motivation is a very good one either. For, as long as a person is concerned with his own good, his Divine service is also performed for his own good. The true motivation, which is common to saints, who have exerted themselves and persevered to acquire it, is to serve solely for the purpose of magnifying and extending the honor of the Master of Blessed Name. One will serve for this end only after he has grown strong in love for the Blessed One, and longs and lusts for the magnification of His honor, and is pained by anything which detracts from it. He will hope that he is at least doing his part towards magnifying the honor of the Blessed One and he will wish that all others possessed this aspiration. The shortcomings of others in this respect will pain and grieve him, not to speak of his own unintentional and accidental lapses and those resulting from his natural weakness, etc."
The "Ramchal" continues: "The Saintly attitude we are discussing has been set forth in Tanna d’bei Eliyahu (Chapter 4): ‘Every sage in Israel who possesses the words of the Torah according to their true significance and grieves for the honor of the Holy One Blessed be He and for the honor of Jerusalem and of the Temple and for the swift flowering of salvation and the ingathering of the exiles, attains to the infusion of the Divine spirit in his words...’ This, then, is the proper frame of mind for one to cultivate, removed as it is from all considerations of personal pleasure, directed only towards the honor of the Presence and towards the sanctification of His Name, which is sanctified by his creations when they do his will."

And so, this trait of caring - that people are concerned about the Honor of Heaven and desire the growth of both God’s and Israel’s prestige - is a true indication of saintliness. For, one who cares about such things understands that the Honor of God can only be magnified through the redemption of Israel and the amplification of Israel’s honor. He understands that, as we have seen in the passage from Tanna d’bei Eliyahu cited by the Ramchal, these two matters interdependent.

Those who are concerned about the honor of Jerusalem, the Holy Temple and the redemption, to the point where they are entirely absorbed in these issues - such people possess saintliness. They take constructive steps to achieve this end, thus working together with the Almighty himself to bring about the redemption. Via the redemption, the true, great, and complete honor of the God of Israel reveals itself.

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The translation of Mesillat Yesharim in the above article was taken from Fideism’s "The Path of the Just," translated by Shraga Silverstein.

Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva, was the head of the Yesha rabbis board and rabbi of Bet-El, founder and head of Arutz 7.
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