Thursday, December 14, 2006

If I Am Not For Myself, Who Will Be For Me?

Reflecting on my posting Tikkunim For Cremation?, I now realize that this was a misguided question on my part. Why should I concern myself with the tikkunim of another person's neshoma who has passed away? Isn't my own neshoma blackened as a smokers lungs and in need of tikkun?

12 Comments:

At December 14, 2006 at 2:34:00 PM EST, Blogger yitz said...

I now realize that this was a misguided question on my part.
ASJ, I'm surprised at you! Misguided? Don't you remember the other part of Pirkei Avos that you quoted in your title, "and if I'm only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?" [1st Chapter]
Why SHOULDN'T we be concerned about the welfare of another's neshama?

 
At December 14, 2006 at 2:53:00 PM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

I'm with Yitz!

 
At December 14, 2006 at 4:59:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yes, but how about the neshoma of a person who has passed away? Shouldn't we first make a tikkun for ourselves?

 
At December 14, 2006 at 5:20:00 PM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

ASJ,
Before we get to that, why do you think it's an either/or situation?

 
At December 14, 2006 at 6:22:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ASJ listen to Chabakuk . . . you can do both.
Even more, as people often ask about mivtzoyim, "How can I help someone if I myself am not yet perfect?"
The answer is twofold:
1. Because you are flawed someone else should loose out as well? Who knows when you'll finish on yourself and until then . . .
2. By helping out someone else, you are in fact helping yourself as well!

 
At December 14, 2006 at 8:58:00 PM EST, Blogger Akiva said...

It's called Chesed Shel Emes, the Kindness of Truth, helping the dead. It's an absolute that one will not get a physical favor in return.

Yet, chesed shel emes is not a chiyav, it's a midas chasidus. One is not obligated to be on the chevra kadisha, nor to help repair another who has left this world.

Yet rarely is it appropriate for a person to say, I'm not pure enough to help another. Conversely, if one was to ask a rav, should I work on myself or do a chesed shel emes for a one beyond this world, he'd say to focus on oneself.

 
At December 14, 2006 at 9:58:00 PM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

While we're on the subject...

The boss I worked for years ago in Michigan, from India, was a confirmed chain smoker. No complaints from recipients of his smoke (such as me) had any effect. One day at the doctor, he was shown X-rays of his lungs, including the "soot", etc., that had built up there. Instantly, he stopped smoking---cold turkey!---for good. The withdrawal symptoms and cravings didn't matter at all, because he wanted to live.

 
At December 15, 2006 at 4:42:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Chabakuk Elisha: I don't know why, but I never stopped to consider that you could do both at the same time as many other of the commenters like Yitz, Mottel and Akiva have so clearly pointed out.

I put this posting up to keep my own arrogance in check, but perhaps I simultaneously, and unknowingly, not acknowledging my own good points; the fact that what I do also can have tremendous impact.

 
At December 16, 2006 at 10:53:00 PM EST, Blogger der ewige Jude said...

This was not misguided at all, what about the departed that have no male relatives that survived them and are dependant on others to say Kaddish for them. Would anyone turn down such a request because maybe they thought they weren't holy enough to say Kaddish?

 
At December 17, 2006 at 9:06:00 AM EST, Anonymous Yosef said...

If the memory of the deceased acts as a motivation for you to do maasim tovim, those action are a zchus for them and for you. Rav Dessler has an essay explaining how everything we do for ilui neshama, is actually based on perfect fairness. We are all connected in the ultimate tachlis of things- maybe this is the secret of the description of the world to come which will feature "Each one being glad at the good fortune of his friend".

 
At December 17, 2006 at 11:15:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Der Ewige Jude: Good point.

Yosef: Would you happen to know where I could find this essay? If you have an electronic copy would you be able to e-mail it to me?. Thanks.

 
At December 18, 2006 at 8:37:00 PM EST, Anonymous Joe in Australia said...

When I wash my hands I wash them both at the same time. I might think that one of them isn't so dirty, or that even if they're both dirty the dirt is of a different nature on each hand and they should be washed separately. None the less, experience has taught me that you cannot wash one hand without washing the other.

 

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