Adar 21
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Adar 21

...Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the Universe ... (Siddur)

Many times each day, we recite various blessings to remind ourselves that God is King of the Universe.

While a person may be tempted to do things that defy the Divine will, the Baal Shem Tov suggests a simple technique that can help withstand temptation.

He gave the parable of a king who wished to test the loyalty of his subjects. He summoned one of his officers and instructed him to go among the masses and attempt to incite a rebellion. By observing who acceded to this agitator, the king could gauge the loyalty or disloyalty of his subjects. One wise man approached by the instigator reasoned that it was unthinkable that so powerful a monarch would allow such a traitor to move about so freely. Hence, he concluded, the rebel must be acting with the king's consent, and his ultimate purpose was to test the loyalty of the populace. So the wise man immediately rejected the instigator.

Our recognition of God as a monarch, as the Absolute Ruler of the Universe, should make it apparent that any instigation to defy the Divine will is a test of our loyalty. Indeed, the evil inclination [yetzer hara] is merely carrying out its mission to seduce us to sin, but since the yetzer hara too is in the Divine service, it really does not wish us to submit to its seduction. Ironically, one who submits to the seduction of the yetzer hara is not only transgressing the Divine will but even disappointing the yetzer hara. It is like the diabetic who submits to his desire for sweets. Far from indulging himself, he is harming himself.

Today I shall...

try to realize that nothing in the world can exist other than by the Divine will, and that anything that appears to be in defiance of the Divine will can only be a test.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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