by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger
The mishneh in Pirkei Avos at beginning of chapter four says, “Eizehu ashir, hasamei’ach b’chelko — Who is wealthy? Who is prosperous? One who is happy with his portion.” Rabbi Miller zatzal would speak about working on being samei’ach b’chelko. What a tremendous cheilek we have! An infinite, unique cheilek.
“Kol Yisrael yesh lahem cheilek l’olam haba,” we say before Pirkei Avos: every Jew has a cheilek in the World to Come. In parshas Kedoshim we learn the great mitzvah of “v’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha; zeh klal godol batorah — Love your neighbour as yourself; this is a great rule of the Torah.” That’s part of our cheilek, to know who we are, and to realise that Hashem created us. “Bonim atem laHashem elokeichem — You are children to Hashem.”
We have to keep reminding ourselves about the kindnesses of Hashem and to rejoice in our portion
A Jew is not only a tzelem Elokim, made in the image of G-d, but also a person has the ability to think, l’hovin ulehaskil, and is a tzelem Elokim, made in Hashem’s image (tzelem from the word tzeil, like the “shadow” of Hashem). You have free will. Hakodosh Boruch Hu empowered us to think, but in addition we are “cheilek elokah mima’al — a portion of the Divine.” This is an incredible greatness which leads to a tremendous simcha, a tremendous happiness. It is a great glory to know who we are and to be samei’ach b’chelko, to rejoice with our portion.
This concept is so startling, so amazing and yet it is so obvious in the Torah, the Torah teaches it to us and chazal, our sages, teach it to us and we have to keep reminding ourselves and focusing and learning how to think and to appreciate, chasdei Hashem, the kindnesses of Hashem and to rejoice in our portion.
Every day a person has to experience the great joy, of knowing who he is, his cheilek, his portion, his connection to Hakodosh Boruch Hu and “v’ahavto l’rei’acha kamocha.” But “kamocha” is the first step: like yourself, know who you are, appreciate who you are and Hashem will help us come closer to Him.