What Is The Book Of Merits?

What Is The Book Of Merits?

Aveenu Malkeinu (our father our king)
Kusvainu Besefer (inscribe us in the book of) Zechuyos (merits)

This article was written February 10, 2000 and is now dedicated in the great Honor and Memory of Harav Chaim Shlomo Gruskin Z’tl. Who passed away 25 Cheshvan 5765


Certainly as we have all been witnessed to in the past when it comes to the recitation of the Aveenu Malkeinu whether it is on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur or on a fast day. The emphasis is always on the Avenu Malkeinu’s that are for repentance, For refuah shelaimah, parnasa etc. Then within the folds of shouts, embittered by our tears there is this Aveenu Malkeinu for merits.

Rabbi Sholomo Gruskin of Cong. Bnai Tzion in Michigan, showed me something extraordinary. It says in the megilas Esther that Mordechai heard the news and he tore his clothes and wore a sack in mourning. The Torah Temimah writes that this shows us that Binyomin got punished for the goblet incident.

Oh yeah! the goblet incident, what about it? Remember when Yosef told his servant to hide his silver goblet among Binyomin’s bags? Soon after the brothers left Egypt with Binyomin in tow, Yosef sent his men to overtake his brothers on the road and arrest them for stealing his silver goblet. The men began at the top and when they reached the bags of their younger brother Binyomin, lo and behold a silver goblet was found.

Although this was NOT Binyomin’s fault, still we see that he got punished, as is written by Mordechai in the Megilah and Mordechai is a direct decedent of Binyomin.

The question that stands out above all logical thought is, why? What did Binyomin do to be punished for a crime that he did not do? So the Holy Rabbi Gruskin smiles and says this is why we have Kusvainu Besefer Zuchuos; inscribe us in the book of merits.

This incredible lesson! Being the subject of someone else’s joke is still a punishable offense. Perhaps we put ourselves in the line of the talkers who have nothing better to do with their time but gossip and slander others. If we are the subject of that kind of discussion then we need to ask for merits. People enjoy a good gossip, a piece of news whether it is true or not. Until the person becomes the butt of the joke, the sensitivity level is quite low.

Since it seems that I have been the butt of many other peoples false accusations this past year, perhaps I’ve grown a new sensitive bone. I have taken upon myself this task to pray for merits for myself and for those around me.

We all get to choose a line of work, an ambition to pursue. I keep thinking about my healing center and what preparations I need to do as a person to get ready for such a major undertaking. Even though it is not slated to open for a couple of years, there is no time like the present to prepare. Since Rosh Hashanah I have become overly sensitive to listening to the way others are portrayed. It’s like former smokers seem to be more sensitive to smokers than others. By beginning my sensitivity to this matter perhaps I will not be the butt of anyone else’s jokes and false accusations.

It is important to realize that when we talk about someone else’s misgivings we are talking about ourselves, perhaps it would be best to judge each person for his and her good and not put ourselves in a place where people will wish to talk badly about us.

At times it disturbs me greatly having to sit around a table where someone else has just become the butt of the discussion. Since enduring such bitterness and pain this past year, I’ve become much more sensitive to the discussions around me.

As with everything we want others to learn, we must first practice this ourselves. I take it upon myself to dedicate my awareness to not talk badly about anyone, to anyone. May we practice the act of not talking negative about others and our actions will lead us to be inscribed in the book of merits?

Hakoras Hatov! Efraim Sussman (Denver, CO)

My dear small friend:

I completed my third year of watching you dance on Simchas Torah. You are my inspiration and my hope for a better year. This past year was a tough one and the hope that you instilled in me last year gave me the strength to keep going. I come to Denver to get my fill of inspiration, I get it with the Lulav and Esrog, with the relationships I’ve made over the years. You, Efraim stand out above all. When you hold the Torah close to your heart and dance the deep dance of angels, this is an inspiration to us all. May you continue to be a shining light to your parents, siblings and friends. May you feel the warmth within as you show it for all to see. May you be blessed with arichas yomim, and in time perhaps you will stand in the front line as we welcome moshiach tzidkeinu bimheira veyamainu omain.