Pirkei Avot, Chapter 2:4


מסכת אבות פרק ב

ב,ד  הוא היה אומר, עשה רצונו כרצונך, כדי שיעשה רצונך כרצונו; בטל רצונך מפני רצונו, כדי שיבטל רצון אחרים מפני רצונך.

4. He would also say: Make that His will should be your will, so that He should make your will to be as His will. Nullify your will before His will, so that He should nullify the will of others before your will.


This is a confusing Mishna.

According to Rabbi Bogomilsky, each person has the ability to remake Hashem’s will. However, the mishna is not just calling on us to do what Hashem wants; but rather, we are advised to make what Hashem desires our own desire. The implication is that we should devote as much time and energy to Torah study and values as we would like to devote to our favourite activity – be it surfing the Internet, watching Television or playing sport. When we try and bring our desires in line with what Hashem desires then we are more likely to reap rewards greater than anything we can imagine.

The mishna is clearly anticipating the fact that we are more attentive to our personal desires, more passionate about football and social networking, than we are about Torah and its values. Here we are reminded to divert these natural passions to Torah. A good analogy is this: our zeal for Torah observance should be same zeal that we have when we break our diets and dive into that heavenly chocolate cake. Nothing can stop us from enjoying the extra large slice!!

Something else to consider: Do we always know what we need? Like a parent who directs his/her child toward the correct action or behaviour or response, so too is Hashem our parent, guiding us toward the just path.



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