Article on Linkedin
Rabbi Meir Yechiel ascetic and scholar, known as the Ostrovtzer Rebbe, Rabbi of Ostrowiec Poland for 40 years, was born in 5612 (1852) in the small town of Savin, near Krakow. He created a new method of learning in Poland, the method of mental acuity. He had thousands of students who spread his teachings throughout the world.
On Adar 19, 5688 (1928) at the age of 74, after fasting for 40 years, the Rebbe of Ostrowiec closed his eyes for the last time. A tremendous multitude followed his casket, and when he was lowered into the grave, the Rebbe of Radzimin said of him: “If the ground only knew who it was receiving, it would open its mouth and recite a psalm of song and joy.”
Once, a wealthy man who came to visit the Rabbi and not very meticulous in his observance of the Mitzvoth- commandments, feeling relaxed in the warm hospitality of his host, asked the Rabbi; “Why does his honor, fast (not eat) so much? Have you transgressed so much, that you feel the need to atone for all the inappropriate and improper pleasures of the world?”
Rabbi Meir Yechiel smiled and responded. “I had the exact same question regarding your practices. Why and how can you give yourself the liberty of enjoying so much of the pleasures in this world. Have you fulfilled so much of G-ds will, that you feel the right to enjoy so much of His creation?”
The wealthy man thought about the question and lowered his eyes. The saintly Rabbi Yechiel Meir continued, “it must be, you feel intuitively the joy of others (who do observe and sacrifice for the sake of G-d) and therefore you celebrate, and I feel the pain and loss (for those, who miss the opportunity to fulfill their mission and serve G-d) so I fast.”
Everything a person does, creates a ripple effect, as the expression goes, for every action there is a reaction.
Whatever a person thinks, speaks, or does will generate a very real influence on himself and on his surroundings. Machines can pick up the heat generated by our bodies. We generate an influence not only on ourselves but on the air temperature around us.
The electroencephalography and the electrocardiogram will record the electrical activity of the mind and the heart. The kind of food we eat, will have a significant impact on our lives.
We are also all part of one unit. The mistake of one person, can have worldwide ramifications as we have witnessed lately, on the worldwide financial markets and other worldwide catastrophes. When one part of the body isn’t operating correctly, it affects the entire rest of the body.
When a Jewish person eats food that is not kosher, it is not on G-ds diet plan, set in His instruction book for happiness and health, called the Torah, and this incompatible food, unsuited for the portion of G-d within, the soul, is ingested, this will coarsen and dull the sensitivities of one’s mind and one heart. “Things that were totally inconceivable, become suddenly worth considering” Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson.
Our bodies and our souls were designed to be sensitive to pain, to cold and heat. If our body is numb and doesn’t feel cold or hot, we may freeze or burn our skin and not even realize anything happened. Some people have become so intellectually and emotionally insensitive to spiritual values they don’t realize they are burning themselves!! They are behaving in ways that isn’t proper for their own lives, and as part of a family, community, city, country and world unit, this, will have an impact on others.
Comes, Rabbi Meir Yechiel and shows us by example the extra effort on his part to be less involved with the materialism of the world, to compensate for the wrong choices others were making. In the same way the negative behavior of one person can affect the entire world, even more so, the positive acts of even just one person can help strengthen and compensate for the shortcomings in others.
Another quick lesson from the story.
Everything around us must never be taken for granted. We are not entitled to anything, it is a gift created by a benevolent G-d, and we acknowledge this, every time we recite a blessing over the food, beautiful scents and sceneries of the world. When a person just takes from the world, G-d wonders why He wasn’t asked or acknowledged. Making a blessing, is asking and receiving G-ds permission to enjoy His beautiful creation. Saying grace after meals, allows us to see and experience outside of ourselves, the greatness and goodness that exists in this vast universe.