Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get Up!

The Steipler, zt”l, said that the more one has potential to be truly great in Torah, the more hardships and difficulties he has learning. These challenges can assume many forms, both physical and emotional. But such hardships are very discouraging.
When Rav Aharon Lieder, shlit”a, was asked how to overcome the spiritual paralysis that a spiritual fall naturally causes, he offered a very helpful strategy. “We say when we complete every chumash, חזק חזק ונתחזק—‘Be strong, be strong, and we will be strengthened.’ We see from this that we must always be strong no matter what befalls us. In whatever situation, no matter where one has fallen, he must not let this get to him in any way. On the contrary, he should immediately pick himself up and do his utmost to avoid falling in the future.
“We learn this from Bava Kama 31. There we find that two potters were coming down the street, one in front of the other. One tripped and the other one tripped over the first, so the first must pay damages. Rav Yochanan explains there that the first is responsible for the damages of the second since he didn’t get up. Even if the potter is not responsible for his actual fall, he is obligated if he did not get up and remained an obstacle in the path of the other who came behind him.
“The same is true in spiritual matters. One who falls in avodas Hashem is not yet considered a willful sinner since ‘Hashem is not a tyrant,’ as we find in Avodah Zara 3. A person is not an angel. But if he fell, why didn’t he immediately get back up again? This is the meaning of the verse, ‘The tzaddik falls seven times, and rises.’ A tzaddik is not one who doesn’t fall; a tzaddik is one who gets up after each fall!”

2 comments:

Shorty said...

I really like this lesson, because i had learned it too - in mountain bike racing, one must always remember there is someone else behind, so if you fall, you must quickly clear the path. One of the most frustrating experiences i had was when people would deliberately not move out of the way after they fell, (slowing me and the people behind me). At the same time, one must remember patience and compassion and not be angry with the person who fell.

thanks and always and Shalom to you! :)

Micha Golshevsky said...

Very glad to hear this.
It comes out of the Ramchal that the more I understand that I have flaws the easier it is for me to be patient and have compassion with others.
Hashem should help us keep getting up!