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  Day 118: What to Ask for from
Chofetz Chaim: Lessons in Truth
Daily studies in honesty and fundamentals of Jewish faith

By Rabbi Shimon Finkelman 


Other Available Chapters
Day 1: Who Wants Life? 
Day Six: Everlasting Truth 


Day 118: What to Ask for

INSIGHTS OF THE CHOFETZ CHAIM

In the Ahavah Rabbah prayer we say: “Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, attach our hearts to Your commandments... so that we may not feel inner shame nor be humiliated.” The Chofetz Chaim explained this by way of a parable:

“When I was in the city of Snovisk, I saw a little girl playing with a doll. I thought to myself: ‘If I would put this doll away and offer it to this girl twenty years from now, wouldn’t she laugh? That which was precious to her as a child would have no value to her at that age.’

“So it is with a person when he ascends to the World of Truth. He will feel shamed over what he considered valuable during his life on this world. For in the World of Truth, nothing but Torah and good deeds has any value.”

l l l

When a person wants to ask something of Hashem, He should not ask, “Ribono shel Olam, give me this and that,” for a person does not know what is truly in his best interests. Wealth, for example, is not always good for a person, as it says, “...riches hoarded by their owner to his misfortune” (Koheles 5:12)... Rather, the proper way to pray is, “Ribono shel Olam, if this request is good for me, then please grant it to me.” This can be better understood by way of a parable:

A man told his neighbor who owned a candy store, “When my little boy comes by your store, give him some candy and I will pay you later.” The storekeeper, however, was not a very smart man and he gave the boy far too much candy, causing him to become sick! When the man came to the boy’s father to be paid, he was told, “Fool that you are! Why did you feed my child so much candy until he became sick? For this I should pay you? I had meant that you should give him a few candies -- not an entire bag!”

The two went to beis din (Rabbinical court) -- and who do you think won? The child’s father, of course.

This is how it is with man on this world. He thinks to himself, “If only I had this and that, I would be happy” -- and he complains inwardly when his prayers for these items are not granted. However, he should know that if his prayers would be answered, then when he would arrive at the World of Truth, he would see clearly that attaining these things was really not to his benefit. Then he would say, “Ribono shel Olam, why did You give me this? You knew that it was not good for me, so why did You grant it to me?”

This is why Hashem does not grant us what He knows is not to our advantage. Such being the case, why should one complain when his requests are not granted?

 
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