Today is the Yahrzeit of the Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah--(R’ Alexander Ziskind b’r Moshe, Z’tl). We present below several of his always-moving teachings:
1. The ikar for which man is created it to give Nachas Ruach to Hashem. Accordingly, an essential dedicated focus in one’s life should be on ever-increasing Nachas Ruach to Hashem with all of one’s actions at all times.
2. Dovid HaMelech exclaims (we recite it every day in Pesukei D’Zimra-- Tehillim 146:2): “Hallelu Es Hashem Bechaiyai Azamrah Leilokai B’odi--I will praise Hashem while I live, I will make music to Hashem while I exist.” One must realize that all of Tehillim was written with Ruach HaKodesh, and when one recites these words, he must express them with true feeling. How can mouth words such as these--Hallelu Es Hashem Bechaiyai--without meaning them? In fact, we should know that Hashem actually has greater nachas when we recite words of thanksgiving and praise to Him than when Heavenly beings do!
3. When one sees or hears something which is inappropriate it impacts upon his machshava, his thoughts--which emanate from a holy and higher world. Accordingly, when one’s thoughts below are impugned--then it incredibly also leaves a pegam, a negative impact in the higher world as well.
4. When one realizes his mind is free of any other thoughts and cannot otherwise focus, he should think in great joy: “Hareini Ma’amin B’Emunah Sheleimah She’atah Yachid U’Meyuchad--I believe with complete faith that Hashem is One and Only.” Likewise, one can think (even in unclean places) about ways in which he can help his friend--in fact, even if one feels happy over the happiness of his friend or feels pain if c’v his friend is pained, he makes constructive use of his time--and actually fulfills a Mitzvah of V’Ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha!
5. Before beginning Shemone Esrei at Shacharis, a man should touch his Tefillin Shel Rosh and think: “Zeh Ha’os She’atah Yachid U’meyuchad V’Sheatah Hotzaisanu Mimitzrayim--this is the sign that You are One and Only and have taken us out of Egypt”.
6. Before beginning to learn a Mussar Sefer, one should clearly state why he is learning--in order to have Yiras Shomayim, to grow spiritually and properly perform the Mitzvos, and--once again-- ultimately to give nachas to Hashem. For the actual Nusach of the Yesod V’Shoresh Ha’avodah see Sha’ar Shishi--Kavanas Limud Sefer Yerei’im.
7. If one realizes that he has sinned in some way--whether it be by action, word or thought--he should recite Viduy over it immediately, as the Zohar mentions in many places that the Vidui alone accomplishes much in the upper worlds.
8. When one recites a Borei Nefashos, he should have in mind the specific items of food over which he is reciting it (for example, a fruit and a drink)--and not just take it as general words of appreciation. Moreover, when reciting the words Baruch Chai Ha’olamim at the end of Borei Nefashos, one should feel great joy that Hashem is the Life-giver to all worlds--and we benefit from this every second of the day.
9. When beginning the second bracha of bentsching--Nodeh Lecha Hashem Elokeinu, one should stop for a moment and not immediately rush into the next words. Rather, one should feel joy over the gifts that Hashem has given him, and then begin to enumerate some of the great ones as actually listed in bentsching. Similarly, when beginning the third bracha in which we ask Hashem to have Mercy--we should make sure to highlight each item for mercy separately--(i) Ahl Yisrael Amecha, (i) V’Ahl Yerushalayim Irecha, (iii) V’Ahl Tzion Mishkan Kevodecha, (iv) V’Ahl Malchus Beis Dovid Meshichecha, and (v) V’Ahl HaBayis HaGadol Ve’Hakadosh.
10. In this week’s Haftarah--the Haftarah for Parashas Parah, one should appreciate the great consolations that are mentioned: “Venasati Lachem Lev Chadash”, “Ve’es Ruchi Etein Bekirbichem”. Indeed, one should strengthen himself by studying pesukim of consolation in Tanach such as Yirmiyah 31:30 et al.; Yechezkel 11: 17 et al., 37:21-28. One should also see the end of Sefer Amos, beginning of Micha Chapter 4, Tzefanyah 3:8 et al., Zechariah 8 and 14; the end of Sefer Malachi; and Yoel 3. Review all of these consolations--get chizuk--and do Teshuvah as soon as possible! Let us not be too late!