Monday, December 14, 2009

Staying Married

Our sages teach that a shotah, halachic imbecile, cannot be divorced from her husband because she keeps on returning to him. The Chidushei HaRim, zt”l, learned a powerful lesson from this principle. Just as the shotah cannot be divorced, so too does one remain “married” to spirituality as long as he “keeps coming back” by acting as a ben aliyah would despite his shortcomings. One is only divorced from spirituality when one gives up on spiritual ascent because of his flaws.
A young bochur once came to Rav Wolbe, zt”l, feeling very confused and frustrated. He said, “I don’t know what to do with myself! Sometimes I feel very drawn to spiritual matters like learning with a fire and davening. At other times I act in ways not befitting a ben Torah. What is my avodah worth if I keep falling into the same spiritual morasses?”
The Mashgiach replied, “Your feelings are the result of a simple fact: as long as one is young, one finds in himself various contradictions. On the one hand, you may be very drawn to spiritual matters. You have a taste in davening and can literally pour out yout heart to Hashem. You may feel an incredibly intrinsic identification with the Torah that you learn. On the other hand, you also might enjoy joking around and making fun of things with friends.
The Mashgiach continued, “So what should you do? Just because you enjoy joking around and sometimes even wander into the realm of leitzanus, is that an excuse not to daven with kavanah? Surely this path only leads to complete estrangement from spiritual growth! Quite the contrary—since you notice this flaw in yourself and this bothers you, this should be a reason to exert yourself all the more to daven with a geshmack and seek spiritual growth in any way you can! In time you will be drawn more and more after spiritual elevation until you outgrow your spiritual immaturity altogether.”
The Mashgiach concluded, “Until then you must learn to bear the unflattering assessment of your peers and even consent to be the brunt of their jokes. If you persevere, however, you will overcome your weaknesses and flourish!”


Anonymous said...

Happy chanukka R. G-d bles you andyours. thank you for another very inspiring lesson. i was recently very ill in hospital and when i came back home, i felt i had dropped to the level before i became a noahide. i had to get back to my self by reading articles like yours andother rabbis, so that my evil inclination wont win and keep me away from Hashem and my rabbis teachings. life is a constant challenge and not easy. thanks again. blessings,theresa

Shorty said...

Happy Chanukah!

I love this story...i often feel "unworthy", but my Rebbetzin has taught me about my Yetzer Harah/Tov and to distinguish the difference. :)

Micha Golshevsky said...

Anonymous: I was very sorry to hear about your difficulty in the hospital. And about your feelings of spiritual setback and after you left it.
Very glad you recovered and I hope the suffering you endured will be stepping stones to higher things.
Nothing good comes with ease, but every effort is very precious!

Micha Golshevsky said...

Shorty: Actually distinguishing between the yetzer tov and yetzer hara is what Chanukah is all about! It illuminates the darkness so we can tell--and change.
Sounds like your Rebbitzen is right on target.