Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Spirit of Folly

Our sages teach that one doesn’t sin unless a spirit of folly enters him.
In today’s world no one would question how a spirit of folly could enter into a person. Perhaps we might instead ask how one prevents a torrent of such spirits from entering! But not so long ago many simple people who learned this gemara felt it was quite difficult. From where would someone who fears Hashem get a dose of a spirit of folly?
One person asked this question to the Rav of Levui, zt”l who immediately replied, “A spirit of folly needn’t start from what one perceives as bad. Very often this kind of spirit creeps up on one by removing his defenses through convincing him to do something out of ‘frumkeit.’ For example, a simple person with fear of heaven may have learned that pious people refrain from eating meat during the week. He wishes to separate himself from ta’avos so instead of eating meat he chooses to eat beans. He feels so filled with piety however, that he hardly notices himself consume three times as much as a normal person requires. This overindulgence can cause many other problems as well… This person’s entire calculation was a mistake. If he wished to keep away from ta’avos, let him eat meat. But no more than he really needs to stay healthy and have strength to serve Hashem. In short, one must eat like a Jew! This way he will be able to keep his wits about him and recite kerias shema al hamittah with proper devotion, as a Jew should. This will lead to him sleeping like a Jew.
The Rav of Levui concluded, “The Razhiner, zt”l, said that one who sleeps like a Jew awakens as a Jew, davens as a Jew, and his entire day is as the day of a Jew should be!”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a choveret published in Jerusalem, called "A voice calls out" which talks a lot about yirei shomayim.

There is a haskoma from the Eida HaChreidis on the choveret.

It teaches there that the spirit of folly resulted from the power of the first sin. And only after we strengthen and free ourselves from the yatzer hora will we start to recognize and sense our real desire (fear of heaven) which lies deep within our hearts.