Aryeh and Dov were running to to catch their bus.
“We’re gonna make it!” yelled Dov
“I don’t know,” panted Aryeh, “that bus is pretty fast!”
The two continued running, and saw that their bus began to slow down as it approached the bus stop. They got to the doors of the vehicle just as the last person walked down the stairs and exited the bus.
“Yes!” they high-fived each other and dug into their pockets for their bus cards. Once they sat down, they began to breathe more normally.
“I knew we’d make the bus,“ said Dov.
“Well now that we’re on it, we’ll get to that minchah minyan on time, Im Yirtzeh Hashem” answered Aryeh.
“That’s why I knew we’d get to the bus on time – ‘cause we’re trying to go do a mitzvah!” exclaimed Dov. “And by the way, I really doubt you have to say ‘Im Yirtzeh Hashem’ about us getting to minyan. Of course Hashem wants us to get to minyan on time!”
Q: Who do you think is right?
A: This week’s parsha contains the famous pasuk “על פי ה’ יסעו בני ישראל ועל פי ה’ יחנו“ (Bamidbar 9:18). Bnei Yisroel only traveled in the desert when Hashem told them to travel. Bnei Yisroel may have wanted to travel to the Land of Israel quickly, but Hashem decided otherwise. Sometimes they had to patiently wait for years before they were allowed to continue their journey to Israel! This may have been frustrating, but it teaches us that we have to accept the will of Hashem even when it seems to be interfering with our efforts to perform mitzvos. We have to accept that Hashem knows best, and hope that he will only let our plans succeed when the result will truly be for for good.
From this pasuk the Shla Hakadosh taught that a person should say Im Yirtzeh Hashem for every action they do (Sha’ar HaOtiyos; Alef, Erech Emuna). Aryeh and Dov are trying to get to their minyan quickly but they must remember that Hashem may want something else. If the bus is delayed and they miss the minyan then they must believe that somehow it was for the best. Aryeh is right to say Im Yirtzeh Hashem.
Q: Must a person say Im Yirtzeh Hashem for all future plans and intentions?
A: There is no obligation to say Im Yirtzeh Hashem. However, it is proper to do so, because we wish to express that in spite of all the plans we make, the final outcome is always in the hands of Hashem. The main thing is not to “say” Im Yirtzeh Hashem, but to really believe and feel it, internalizing the concept of Hashem’s hashgacha that is always with us.
Q: Why was Rabbi Isiah Horowitz called the “Shlah Hakadosh” and what is his connection to this time of year?
A: Rabbi Horowitz was a great talmid chacham who wrote a sefer called the Shnei Luchos Habris, which is abbreviated as של”ה. He was considered to be a very holy man. He composed a very important tefila for parents to pray for their children and he recommended that it specifically be recited Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, just before the time of masan torah.
(Written by Josh and Tammy Kruger, in collaboration with Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer, and based on the writings of Rabbi Yechiel Michal Stern – Chamisha Chumshei Torah Im Medresh Halacha, Numbers 9:18).