How to be worthy of Shavous by Michael Winner/4/12/2013 Shortly before his death, David Ben Gurion had a dream where two angels visited him. They told him that he had only a few more days to live and it was up to him where he wanted to go afterwards. Naturally, he had two choices: Heaven or Gehenom.“Well… can I see them both to get an idea?” asked Ben Gurion.“Sure, no problem” they responded, and within a flash they were transported to a giant beis medresh, where millions of Torah scholars were learning.“Who’s that guy in front?” asked Ben Gurion.“That’s Moshe”, replied the angels.“Uh-huh… looks pretty boring. What’s Gehenom like?”Within a flash, they were transported to a beach party, with millions of people playing volleyball, listening to music, surrounded by BBQs with racks full of meat, etc, etc..“And this is…?”“Gehenom”, replied the angels.“Really? WOW! I LOVE it here! THIS is where I want to go when I die!”After filling out all the appropriate documents, he was returned to this world to live out the next few days.Shortly after, David Ben Gurion died.His soul, happy with his choice, was taken down to Gehenom where he was subjected to the most brutal torture that could possibly be afflicted on somebody. He cried out, “WHERE’S THE BEACH PARTY? WHERE’S THE BBQ? WHERE’S ALL THE FUN THAT I SAW ONLY A FEW DAYS AGO!?!?!?”The angels answered him: “Oh THAT? No, no, no… that’s for when you’re a tourist, NOW you’re an oleh chadash (new immigrant)”Anybody who’s made aliyah can appreciate this joke.Just this past week, I was informed that I owe the National Insurance Agency 13,000 shekels. It seems that Betuach Leumi (the national insurance agency) is actually protected BY LAW that they do NOT have to tell you that you owe them any money. In my particular case, I never received anything in the mail from them stating that I had to pay them. I thought that it was coming out of my wife’s pay along with her payment to them. I had no reason to think otherwise. A few years ago, I heard that this is one of the many scams that Betuach Leumi pulls on people and I really need to look into it. . (Another great thing they do, which we got caught in, is they can take the payments directly from your bank account, automatically. However, they schedule it for the day AFTER the payment is due, and then CHARGE you for late payments). So, I immediately went to the local office and asked them to check my account. “Clear”, they said, I don’t owe them any money. They even gave me a username and password to check my account on-line, which also said I’m clear.Okay, I guess my wife is covering for both of us, after all.Then, last week when I went to get a letter from them, they informed me that I owe 7 years of backpay, interest, and a penalty. I told them the situation and even made some phone calls and used some protexia, but to no avail. They’re being “nice” by knocking off the penalty and the interest that has quietly been accumulating against me, but I need to pay off the whole sum. So, I’m hoping they will allow me to pay it off over five years, which will cost me an additional 260 shekels every month.So typical.Okay, on to Torah!From Pesach until Shavous, we “count the Omer”, and prepare ourselves for Shavous. It’s a time for teshuvah and building. With teshuvah and building, comes the danger of slipping, falling, or more seriously depression and/or giving up.My Rosh Yeshiva spoke about this idea a few weeks ago. He pointed out that as high as 90% of the Jewish people were killed in Egypt during the plague of darkness, because they did not really want to leave Egypt. Only a minority of the nation actually left Egypt and made it to Mount Sinai. Quoting the Medresh, he noted that there were very few differences between the Jews that were killed in the plagues and those that survived to leave. What was the main difference between the two? One had a desire to leave and one didn’t.This is something that is important to keep in mind during these days. Yes, any time we push ourselves to improve, we will slip or have thoughts of doubts on if we are “worthy” of receiving the Torah. We are reminded about our past sins, some in the far past, some from as recent from today. However, the key to keep in mind is, “I WANT to improve”. If we have that in mind and we seriously believe it, than no matter how many times we fall or how deep we fall, there is ALWAYS hope and you are ALWAYS worthy of receiving the Torah.Have a great Shabbos!