Lego Castles & The Yahrzeit Of The Degel Machaneh Ephraim
As a child, I remember making grandiose plans to build a large and elaborate castle in my room made out Legos. I would picture the finished result in my mind's eye and then set about constructing it. Not too longer afterwards, I would realize that my castle looked nothing like the castle in my imagination; not even close. I would become discouraged and then stop working on it.
I have noticed that throughout my life I have been inclined to start other such "Lego castle" projects, only to stop before I completed them. Whether it was learning Mishneh Torah or Gemara, I made big plans and then stopped at a later date out of frustration.
This Shabbos, the 17th of Iyar, is the yahrzeit of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim. For weeks before his yahrzeit I pondered how to mark this date. Today, I gave tzedakah to Eizer L'Shabbos in his merit and I will undoubtedly learn Degel Machaneh Ephraim as I do each and every day without fail. I will also use my new kiddush cup for the first time tonight for this occasion. However, aside from all these things, I still felt that I needed to do something more to increase my hiskashrus with this tzaddik this year.
I recalled two teachings by Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter about making use of unstructured time that really left an impression on me. From these teachings, I dreamt up a "Lego castle" idea to complete learning all Shisha Sidrei Mishnah in the merit of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim using my unstructured time; without a schedule and without a deadline. I am not saying that I will be making my siyum on learning all Shisha Sidrei Mishnah in a year or two years, I have no idea at this point when I will complete this project. All I am saying is that right now, I have completed 23 perakim of Mishnayos in the past two weeks, and I plan to keep on learning - mishnah by mishnah - whenever I find a spare moment until I have completed all Shisha Sidrei Mishnah. This will obviously be in addition to my regular daily seder.
May it be Hashem's will that this "Lego castle" idea not be discarded before completion as I have done in the past, but rather may it become a beautiful and completed spiritual edifice that will stand in the merit of this tzaddik.
(A chart to mark my progress courtesy of Chardal)UPDATE: Be sure to read Yitz's wonderful posting in honor of the Degel's yahrzeit here.