Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Question & Answer With My Yetzer Hara - Futile Mitzvos?

(Picture courtesy of chamonix.eu.com)

My Yetzer Hara asks:

If you are so concerned about honesty and truth, you have to admit that when you are "observing" a negative mitzvah, you are really not doing anything at all. Couldn't I rightfully say that right this very second I was observing a myriad of negative mitzvos? And now that I am on the subject, don't your positive mitzvos just evaporate after you commit an aveira? Your mitzvos are only being cancelled out by your aveiros my friend. Why do you even bother trying when the deck is stacked against you?

A Simple Jew answers:

Are you attempting to discourage me once again with a different approach?

The Mochiach of Polonoye (Rabbi Aryeh Leib - author of Kol Aryeh) taught that when a person restrains his natural inclination and does not violate a Torah prohibition, he doesn't simply remain in the same place as before as if he has done nothing; he actually takes a step upwards.

If by not doing something we are in reality doing something of great significance, you can only imagine the gigantic step upwards we take after doing a positive mitzvah. The performance of mitzvah does not just have value at the time it is performed, rather it is eternal. It creates a tremendous burst of energy that assists a person on the next occasion he has the opportunity to perform a mitzvah. Performing a mitzvah can thus be likened to rolling a snow ball down the side of a mountain that continually gains momentum as is rolls down further and further. So, doing just one mitzvah can result millions and trillions of mitzvos.

Performing a mitzvah cannot be viewed as a receiving a erasable tally mark, and refraining from committing a Torah prohibition cannot be seen as doing nothing. Each mitzvah we observe, whether positive or negative, increases our our connection to Hashem and elevates us closer to the tachlis of our creation.


At August 5, 2008 at 11:27:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Torah for the simple Jew

The first thing is you need to know, recognize and see is that you are not alone, ever. If one does not believe and know that God manifests in his own life and its providence. How can he have faith in the fact that God is involved in all that happens everywhere. Every day we encounter signs that point to an active Presence of Spirit. Everything that happens inside and outside of us is brimming with spiritual meaning, points of connection with Spirit. You need to find holiness in everyday life. By this also one may experience the mystical moment. One may see it or hear it, grasp it. Yet it has no form and is unseen and unheard being elusive and evasive. God presents Himself as the undefinable oneness. A glimpse of the Divine is every where. Seeing the patterns emerging in life awakens us. There is meaning in what happens to us in nature and the cosmos. In those things others see only as chance or strange coincidence. . Although they have a subtle yet undeniable and uncanny quality. Here God reveals himself and then at once is concealed.Unfortunately most people don’t have a clue what’s going on. God is always trying to make contact but they can’t perceive this. The whole universe is there to support our spiritual awareness. The universe is saturated with purpose and meaning. Our universe is directed by a powerful, creative intelligence, and an ordering principle of truly astonishing power, complexity, and beauty. God can be observed in the constant regularity of the universe. We can see this wonder when looking at modern science concerning the wondrous exacting complexity at the atomic and cellular level. To the wonders of the movements of the stars planets and constellations. In these things also is evidence of the subtle truth of the Divine in Creation, of God. One of the great expressions of God is the natural flow of energy transformation in the universe. You need to realize the constancy and patterns occurring in your own life, as found in the deep nature of the universe. Awareness of this leads to recognition of one's own immutable spiritual nature. God is behind all phenomena. Everything in the universe is directed by his "laws of nature". Just as our own breath.Violation of this law leads to disaster. Try stop breathing for a while. Adherence to the law is blessing, by it we remain in harmony with God and his universe. The highway to elevated consciousness exists in recognizing the sacred in everyday life. It is a process of continually practicing self-awareness, paying greater attention to the contents of everyday experiences: sensations, thoughts and feelings. The awareness of our inner and outer lives. The human psyche and the cosmic psyche (soul) are entwined and expressed through patterns that are neither imagined nor directed by us, but rather guided by the mysterious force some call God. With this awareness comes freedom and responsibility. Know that the whole activity of nature is to make one aware of their soul, and its Divine nature. The goal is to manifest this divinity within. This can be done by work (as acts of kindness and other spiritual actions), developing spiritual powers such as the ability to pray, and by learning reading Divine knowledge. One continuously forms destiny. Each stage of life is the root of the next.

At August 5, 2008 at 11:28:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Torah for the simple jew is from


At August 5, 2008 at 12:12:00 PM EDT, Blogger Akiva Ben Canaan said...

I believe Rav Casdai Crescas discusses the issue of receiving reward for not violating negative prhibitions. According to R Crescas, one only receives reward if he desire to commit an aveirah and then restrains himself. Therefore, only one who wishes to murder another person receives reward for not doing so.

This is why, when smelling some delicious non kosher food, it is best to say "I would love to eat that food, but I will not do so, because G-d does not want me to do so...)


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