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Alarm Bells Ringing!

By Rabbi Jonathan Tawil

The alarm rings. It’s six thirty in the morning and your head is spinning. You wonder to yourself what day is it? After a few seconds you realise its Thursday and that Shul awaits you. You convince yourself, just another a few minutes in bed, its warm and cosy; after all it only takes you a few minutes to get ready. A few minutes pass, and if you are still conscious, you convince yourself that a further few minutes can only do good. Surely you need extra strength for the day ahead; a few more minutes in bed will help your day so much more!

Before you know it, you awaken to a thump, your ears hearken to your father’s yell, and you realise – yet again you are late for Shul.

For most of us, this has happened more than once in our lifetime. Waking up is not easy. In this generation of overworked and strained energy, everyone is tired. Yet when it comes to Torah and Mitzvot, the great sage Yehuda ben Tema said:” Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven.” (Pirkei Avot 5:23)

We must make that extra effort.

Our body might feel tired, yet our intellect is constantly battling to have us up and on the move in search of life’s beauty.

Some of us are conscious and take on the laziness, yet others prefer to lay back and give in. Shlomo Hamelech (in Mishlei) states: “A lazy person considers himself wiser than seven sages.”

The lazy person finds it hard to get out of his routine. He is in the right; everyone else is in the wrong. It is difficult for him to take any criticism and thus improve.

On the other hand, those that possess the opposite character to laziness (that of Zerizut – zeal and energy) race to fulfil G-d’s commandments.

We are told that the angels were blessed with Zerizut.

Concerning them it says: “Mighty in power, they do His word, to listen to the voice of His word.” Our Sages explain from this Pasuk that they do His word “even before hearing His word.”

True, man is no angel, and it is therefore impossible for him to ever attain the sort of strength that an angel possesses. However, we must certainly strive to come as close as possible to reaching this level.

When King David wished to anoint his son Solomon as his successor, he told Benayahu the son of Yehoyada to take Solomon down to the Gihon River and anoint him there as king over Israel. Benayahu answered, saying: “Amen, let G-d say so.” The Sages seem to find Benayahu’s comment problematic. What kind of prayer was this? Surely, David had already designated Solomon as the future King, so why say let G-d say so?

Our Sages explain “Many a prosecutor will appear between here and the Gihon.”

If an act is not carried out immediately, who knows what sort of disturbances will appear and prevent it being carried out at all? It is for this reason that Benayahu prayed that David’s will be fulfilled.

Acting on a good thought and putting it to immediate practice can be crucial.

Yet there are times when Zerizut and acting fast can be detrimental.

The Torah states that for every sacrifice that was offered, the Chelev (certain animal fat) and Dam (blood) are not to be eaten. Instead they must be offered up on the altar.

Our Sages explain that the blood represents the zeal of man; it is constantly flowing and gives life to the animal’s body. The Chelev represents heaviness; that which slows man down.

The Torahs message is to use both of these to the best ability in the service of Hashem. There will be times when acting slow is good, perhaps someone makes a sly comment at you, and you chose to ignore it, not reacting immediately. Alternatively, it could be that someone offers you the chance to do an enticing Avera and you are slow to act. In these cases, it is as if you have sacrificed the Chelev. You are acting slow in face of wrong doing.

Then there are cases in which one must act fast; getting out of bed to go and serve our Creator, running to fulfil the needs of our parents. These times are represented by sacrificing the blood on the altar.

The story is told of a tailor who decided that he would go every morning and study in

the Bet Hamidrash and work in the afternoons. He specifically told his wife not to accept anyone in the morning. One morning, a rich merchant came to his house looking to do a large deal. The wife told the merchant that the husband was not available. The merchant decided to go elsewhere. When the husband returned that afternoon and heard what happened he yelled at his wife asking her why she hadn’t sent the merchant to the Bet Hamidrash. A few months later, the tax man turned up at this man’s house in the morning, asking to see him. The wife told the man he was not at home but he could find him in the Bet Hamidrash. Needless to say when the man got home, he was furious with his wife. ‘When we could have earned money you turned the merchant away and when we are going to lose money you send me the tax man!?!’

Hashem has granted us so many great qualities, but we must make sure that we focus them in the right direction – zeal to fulfil Mitzvot and laziness in the face of Averot.

In this week’s Parsha Avraham is tested to the full. He is told to sacrifice his designated child Yitzchak. He could have many questions arising in fulfilling this command, yet we see his reaction is immediate; he will do whatever it takes to fulfil the command of Hashem. Not only did he perform this hard task, but Vayashkem – he arose early in the morning, he was ZarizLidvar Hashem.

It is for this reason that Avraham was the father of us all; he had the power in him to constantly fulfil Hashem’s Will with such eagerness that the repercussions of his positive actions are still felt today.

Next time we hear the alarm clock ringing, let us try and make that extra effort, fight off the laziness and rise and shine for a fulfilling day.

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