Poverty Leading to Purity

There is a wonderful mushel (allegory) in the Maharsho on Chagigah 9b, “K’barzu simka l’isia chivra.” While a white horse is a generally a good siman, whether in real life or in a dream, this is tainted by the red adornments placed upon it, the saddle and retzua (reins). As it is this with the horse, so it is with Klal Yisroel; Hashem looks upon all of our middos, and finds only poverty, the red reins being symbolic of poverty. The pain and degradation brought about through poverty is intended to clean us of our aveiros. Poverty brings us goodness and purity, compared to wealth which turns Klal Yisroel to avoda zara much of the time. Poverty cleans us of our aveiros. There is a mechanism involved here, as we can learn from Iggeres HaTshuva from the Baal HaTanya, that a person should give great amounts of tzedaka according to his means if he cannot fast as a way to make tshuva. Rambam in Hilchos Tshiva brings a similar idea, that one should bring money in a way that the loss is noticeable to him, of course not beyond that 20%. It is much easier for a person who is poor to feel a loss in money when giving tzedakah, therefore, it has a greater effect on that person’s tshuva, and makes it easier in a sense to make tshuva through these means. Hashem bentshes us with poverty at certain points of our lives so that we can make more tshuva quicker when needed through tzedaka, rather than the pain of fasting, which also takes one away from learning with the greatest hislahavus (enthusiasm).

Hashem should help us to merit the Moshiach even before Pesach, and that we should all make tshuva shleimah even in hard times!

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