by Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Rav Nenedick zt”l was Rav Aharon Kotler’s Mashgiach in Kletzk.
It is said of Moshe Rabbeinu in the Torah, “Bechol Baisi Ne’eman hu – in all My house – he is faithful.” The question arises, how is it that Moshe Rabbeinu came to such growth and perfection? The truth is, that such perfection of character only comes after intense work and analysis. Later on, toward the end of his life, Moshe Rabbeinu states (Dvarim 2:24), “Hashem, You began to show your servant Your Greatness..” This demonstrates that Moshe had entered the 49 levels of Shaarei Bina – the gates of understanding of Hashem (See the Chofetz Chaim’s Shaim Olam p. 71).
In this week’s Parsha, the Torah tells us of Moshe Rabbeinu’s utter perfection in this. The Torah teaches us, for all generations, the method in which we can reach this lofty status. It all came to Moshe Rabbeinu because he had a lev Tov – a good heart. We see it from his early actions where he struck the Mitzri. Afterward, he asked the Rasha, “Why are you striking your fellow man?” Later in the parsha, it tells us that Moshe arose and saved them, the daughters of Yisro, and, subsequently, he watered the sheep. These all reflect the innate nature of Moshe Rabbeinu’s lev tov. He could not tolerate the striking of the other man. His heart could not tolerate the bullying and abuse of Yisro’s daughters. He also had compassion upon the thirsty sheep.
On the other hand, when a person has nastiness in the heart, he or she can only see the negatives and the faults of others – but not his or her good and positive qualities. This is on account of the negative nature. The same is true in regard to a person’s perception as to how Hashem runs the world. The nasty person cannot see Hashem’s Goodness. All the questions on the manner in which Hashem runs the world are a byproduct of his nastiness.
This is the meaning of the Gemorah in Chagigah (14b) where it discusses the four who entered Pirgud – that is to examine Hashem’s manner in running the world. It states that Rabbi Akiva entered and emerged in peace. Not so, Elisha Ben Abuyah. He had difficulties in understanding how Hashem ran this world. This is because his heart was not so good.
It is, however, with a combination of both a good heart, a lev tov, and Yiras Shamayim, fear of Heaven, that one can achieve seeing the qualities of another and coming to a self-understanding of one’s own flaws. His good heart forces him to see his friend’s qualities because this is what he wants to do on account of his good-hearted nature. He does not wish to see his friend’s character flaws, because this runs counter to his good-hearted nature.
On account of his fear of Heaven, he does not wish to focus on his own good qualities because there is a prohibition in focusing on one’s own high qualities as it develops hubris. Indeed, as long as it does not cast a person into a depression, one should focus on one’s own faults as it says in Tehillim (51:5), “And my sons are constantly before me.”
It comes out that Moshe Rabbeinu reached this lofty level on account of a combination of Yiras Shamayim and a lev tov. It took hard work on Moshe Rabbeinu’s part. This is something that we should all attempt to foster within ourselves.
Sponsored for the Yartzeit of Rebbitzen Miriam Huttler, daughter of Rav Elazar Adler of Los Angeles, California, 20 Taives
Rav Yoseph Leib Nenedick HY”D was one of the top Yeshiva Mashgichim in all of Europe. He and Rav Yeruchem Levovitz zt”l started the Yeshiva Ketana in Kelm feeding into Rav Simcha Zisel Ziv Broidy’s Yeshiva. The Chofetz Chaim himself took him as a mashgiach for his Yeshiva in Radin. Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l chose him to replace Rav Chatzkel Levenstein zt”l as the Kletzk Yeshiva’s Mashgiach. He was Rav Shach’s Mashgiach at this time. Rav Nenedick zt”l, and his entire family were murdered by the Nazis in 1943. Rav Nenedick’s shmuessin were masterpieces of mussar.
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