The Jewish Eye
Bummed Out About Your Esrog? Dream On! Says Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz
The perfect beautiful clean esrog is way out of budget for most of us ordinary citizens. Should we feel bad? Yes but no says Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz. He explains his position with the famous story in the gemara about Rebbi Chanina Ben Dosa who was very poor until his wife begged him to plead to Hashem to send some money and gold leg came down from Shamayim. Afterward she had a dream that they sat in Gan Eden at a table with only two legs. What happened?
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz says that tzaddikim only want money so that they too can give tzedoka. They don't want to miss out on any mitzvos. This is why Rebbi Chanina's wife wanted money. The two legs she saw in her dream were two of the three pillar of the world; torah and avodah which they were mikayem to perfection and therefore had a table with golden legs. The third leg would have been gemilus chasadim which they were able to perform with their newfound wealth. The dream taught them that it is better not to have money. Why? Before they had money they dreamed about doing Chesed. Their intentions were perfectly lishma and 100% pure. For this they would have received the third leg in Gan Eden since they had no means to perform the mitzva their intentions substituted for their lack of action.
Once they received their wealth and they were able to do the mitzva it could not have been perfect. They somehow would have fallen short in performance of the mitzva. They may not give one person as much as they should. They might have had passing haughty thoughts about doing the mitzva. People can never be perfect. Only in their dreams! Therefore if you cannot do the mitzva, yet in your heart you yearn for it in the worst way you are better off.
So when the fellow sitting next to you in Shul is showing off his spanking clean and beautifully shaped $500 esrog, just smile and keep on dreaming for the day that you can have an esrog just like it. Hopefully for you it will never happen. And by hoping and praying year after year that next year will be your lucky year you will be far better off.
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