Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making a Spiritual Inventory

The Magid of Dubno, zt”l, tells a beautiful parable:
Once there was a merchant who slowly built himself up until he was doing business with very large sums of money. Strangely, this merchant really didn’t know exactly how much money he had of his own since he was not very adept at making the complicated calculations that would provide the information. In any event, he was very busy and could not make the time to clarify the exact extent of his personal capital investment.
One day, this merchant heard that a fellow businessman who had at one time been very wealthy lost all of his money and even left over many debts which he could not pay. Understandably, this made the merchant anxious about his own standing and he began the laborious process necessary to determine exactly how much money he had. What was his exact status?
The Maggid continued, “The same is true in spiritual terms, as we find in Bava Basra 78. One must make a careful calculation to grasp the vast importance of every mitzvah and the terrible loss incurred by every sin.”
Rav Dessler, zt”l, taught that we find in the Torah that, “The moshlim say: באו חשבון—‘Let us make an accounting.’” This is in plural form to teach that one cannot truly succeed in making an honest cheshbon hanefesh unless he is part of a group—even if they are on a lower level than himself. Alone he will almost certainly fail.
One Elul, Rav Leib Chasman, zt”l, the mashgiach of Chevron Yeshivah, delivered a very important lesson regarding cheshbon hanefesh. “In Bava Basra 78 it states that a fire will emerge from those who did a cheshbon hanefesh which will burn those who did not.”
Rav Leib thundered his message with great feeling, “From here we see that a true cheshbon hanefesh must be done with the intensity of a roaring fire!”


Neil Harris said...

Beautiful and exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Thanks for the chizuk!