What is My Role in Life? [#151]

February 6, 2018


Isn’t there such a thing as Yissocher and Zevulun, that Zevulun goes to work so he can support Yissocher’s learning? So why can’t we be like Zevulun, and our purpose in life is to perhaps work so we can support others’ learning? Perhaps that is my tafkid (role) in life?


Reichman (the famous wealthy supporter of yeshivos), once asked Rav Shach, “Who has more Olam HaBa, me or you? I uphold the entire world of Torah, while the Rosh Yeshivah teaches the Torah.” Rav Shach responded, “I don’t know which of us has more Olam HaBa. But one thing I know for sure: I do enjoy This World, because I learn Torah and teach it my whole life, but you don’t have real enjoyment on This World at all.”

Once I met a person who works for many hours a day, and I asked him, “Why do you work for so many hours a day?” He told me, “Because I want to be able to have a lot of money to give tzedakah with.” I said to him, “Why didn’t the Chofetz Chaim think of that too? Why didn’t he go to work so he could give tzedakah?”

I’ll tell you another story. There was a student of Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro, a great Rosh Yeshivah in Eretz Yisrael. (As a side note, if you want to know how learn b’iyun, look at his sefarim, which are called “Shaarei Shemuos”). One of his students learned by him in Yeshivas Beer Yaakov, and then he moved to America. He was learning for a few years and then he felt he had to go to work. He called Rav Shapiro and asked him if the Rosh Yeshivah agrees with his decision. Rav Shapiro said to him, “Absolutely not. There is nothing to discuss.”

Rav Shapiro is one of the people in the generation who knows how to do the Goral HaGra (a mystical tradition on how to search for an answer to problems by opening up a special kind of Chumash). He only did the Goral HaGra for communal purposes, and he would never use it for private issues of people who came to him. The student asked Rav Shapiro if he could make an exception for him and perform a Goral HaGra for him to let him know if he should continue to sit and learn or instead go to work. Rav Shapiro responded that he only uses the Goral HaGra for communal issues, not for personal issues of an individual.

Rav Shapiro was the fundraiser for the Yeshivah for half of the year (and Rav Wolbe took him over for the other half of the year); when he came to America to collect for his yeshivah, the student came to him and told him, “Now that I’m driving the Rosh Yeshivah around and enabling him to collect money, I should have the status of a community, not an individual.”

In the end, Rav Shapiro agreed to make for him a Goral HaGra. He opened up the Chumash and the possuk said, “For six days you shall work, and on the seventh day, you shall rest.” It sounded like the Goral was saying that he should go to work. But that’s because this person wanted to go work! Chazal say: “In the way a person wants go in, he is led.”

If Eliyahu HaNavi comes and tells you that your soul is from the tribe of Zevulun, you can act like a Zevulun [otherwise, you can’t assume that your tafkid is to be a Zevulun].