Wouldn’t You Prefer to Shoot a Missile?

Do you ever get the feeling that you’d like to send a missile and end the war in Eretz Yisroel? One of the messages of the bow and arrow on Lag B’Omer is that the closer we pull the bowstring towards ourselves, the farther away the arrow will reach.

By Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier – The Beis Medrash

After spending 13 years in a cave, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai finally emerged and headed for home. Passing through a village, he asked the villagers if there was anything that needed correcting. They replied that there was actually a certain field that had a possibility of tumah and as a result, the Kohanim had to take a longer route in order to avoid it. The Rashbi stayed there and figured out a solution so that the Kohanim, too, could use the shorter route through the field.

Notwithstanding his greatness and the fact that he hadn’t seen his family for so long, the Rashbi grabbed the opportunity to help his fellow Yid. The problem he solved was hardly a global issue, but that didn’t deter him. He had the ability to ease the life of a fellow Yid, and so he did.

Sometimes we get caught up in the delusion that in order to change the world we must focus our efforts on global issues and accomplish something colossal. Small favors only solve small problems but we want to make big change. However, the pull towards doing big things—that are in fact out of our reach—is the yetzer hara’s tactic to distract us from doing what’s actually within our reach. The Rashbi teaches us to focus on the change that we’re truly able to accomplish.[1]

This holds true on a subtler and more personal level as well.

It’s customary to shoot the bow and arrow on Lag B’Omer. One of the messages is that the closer we pull the bowstring towards ourselves, the farther away the arrow will reach. In terms of avodah: We often overlook personal flaws, convincing ourselves they’re not something we struggle with—they’re far away from us—when, in fact, these flaws are very close to us. The solution to this is to pull our egos back and have the humility to recognize these “distant” flaws as something very close to us. This attitude makes it much easier to overcome these unwanted behaviors.

Why specifically on Lag B’Omer? Because the best way to practice this avodah technique is through studying penimiyus haTorah, which the Rashbi made accessible to us—he opened the door through the Zohar, and our Rebbeim made it understandable and accessible to us through their teachings.[2]

And perhaps we can apply this to actual global issues as well.

It can be frustrating, aggravating, and downright painful to hear the news from Eretz Yisroel. One example is the unnecessary loss of life, R”l, of Yiddishe neshamos fighting for Eretz Yisroel. Instead of using modern-day arrows and bombing the terrorists, these pure souls are sent in to close combat with terrorists, resulting in the loss of so many lives, Hy”d.  

Do you ever get the feeling that you’d like to send a missile and end the war?

To make a difference on a political or tactical level is beyond the reach of most of us. But by pulling towards ourselves we can send Hashem’s light their way. When each of us reaches deep inside ourselves to go beyond our comfort zone in serving Hashem, whether in matters of adam laMakom or adam lachavero, in improving the spiritual or material needs of a fellow Yid, we can be sure that the light of our deeds accomplishes as much or more than a missile.

May the light of this special day illuminate the lives of all Yidden and usher in the ultimate light of Moshiach.

[1] Likutei Sichos vol. 22 pg. 326

[2] See sicha of Lag B’omer 5711 (1951). See also Yismach Yisroel on Lag B’omer

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