How should a mother and housewife get the feeling of the approaching yomin noraim, if she's so busy with the preparations for gashmius?
That's a good question. A women in the kitchen, she is busy preparing, cooking and baking; so how can she prepare?
If she would think at the time that she is doing these things, “what's the purpose of all her work”? She is doing this as a kindliness to the people of her family. Why is she practicing kindliness to her family? Just because mothers do it everywhere. In Bensonhurst an Italian mother is also cooking and baking for her family! And in Bedford Stuyvesant a black mother is also doing the same, so what difference is there?
No: a frum, a Torah mother is doing it only because she is emulating Hakadosh Baruch Hu. That's how we have to learn that great function of chesed that a Jewish mother and a wife performs. She is the symbol of kindliness to her husband and to her children, that's her chief function in life. But she does it not like others do; she does it in emulation of the Creator. Just as the Creator makes winds blow and causes rain to fall and he spreads a table before all mankind and He feeds them, po’seiach es yo’decho, so when she brings the food to the table finally, she should feel that she is the hand of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Nosain lechem lechol bosor, He gives bread to all flesh, ki l'olam chasdo! And she feels that her life is a dedication to Hashem, she is following in His footsteps.
That's the gemora, the gemora says, ma hu chanun af ato chanun. Just like Hakadosh Baruch Hu is merciful, so you, and v'halacto b'drachuv. And therefore it's a great pity if you don't know this, so it means that you're just imitating the nations of the world. The same is for a doctor. If a doctor realizes that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is rofei cholei amo yisroel, and the doctor as he dispenses advice and medicines thinks, “I am doing the agency, I am a shaliach for Hakadosh Baruch Hu”, that's one of the noblest missions in life. Isn't it a tragedy that people live their lives and do great things and forget that their chief function in life is to emulate Hakadosh Baruch Hu?
And even a teacher of children, he teaches because of his check. If he would think, ha’melameid Torah l'amo yisroel, just like Hakadosh Baruch Hu teaches Torah to His people, I am his agent in teaching Torah to His children. Of course he has to get a check, and unfortunately he doesn't get it frequently enough and it's not big enough when he does get it, and yet it's a pity if he lives without this intent.
Everybody: if you're a butcher and you hand the meat across the counter, think that thought. You're a grocer, think that thought. Whatever you do in services to people, think that you're standing in the place of Hakadosh Baruch Hu and you're doing His agency. And that's how a Jewish mother can become great, she can even become greater than her husband if she'll live this way, because she's practicing these things that are kulo chesed, and she'll come to learn to be aware and realize, that's what Hakadosh Baruch Hu does in this world.
A Moment with Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zt"l #152
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