Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sensitively Calibrated

(Picture courtesy of thinkquest.org)

וְאַבְרָהָם זָקֵן, בָּא בַּיָּמִים

The Degel Machaneh Ephraim taught that each and every single day of Avraham Avinu's life could be accounted for; each day was directed towards the purpose for which he was created.

I came across this teaching in Parshas Chayei Sarah last year and I have been contemplating it ever since my first prima facia reading. I have days where I struggle to shake off my sluggishness and muster even a tiny bit of enthusiasm; where my mind feels clouded and it is difficult to live with the knowledge that there is a deeper purpose behind my routine actions. So, when I attempt to comprehend this level that Avraham Avinu lived on I am simply in awe.

As I continued thinking about the Degel's teaching, I found myself wishing that I could have an instrument that would detect whether or not my actions for that day were directed to the purpose for which my neshoma was sent down into this world; an instrument that could mimic the children's game where one is told whether he is getting "hotter" or "colder" as he attempts to look for an object hidden in the room. I recalled a posting that I wrote three years ago which essentially expressed my wish that free-will could be suspended periodically so I could re-correct my bearing.

Although it is impossible to know whether each individual daily action might register a response of "freezing cold" or "burning up", I suddenly came to the realization that there is, in fact, an instrument in this world that is so sensitively calibrated that it could detect such a thing.

That instrument is the tzaddik who understands that the entire world hinges on his every choice and action.


At November 18, 2008 at 9:40:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

G-d bless you and yours. i have thought too, even quite recently that i wished we did not have free will atleast in the aspect of idolatry. for me this is perhaps my greatest problem. i know G-d does not expect the same high level from believing gentiles, however, it is a struggle with our 7 laws and its sub laws from it. i especially feel it very strongly for my husband, that without free will we will all be worshipping only Hashem. its very difficult to let go someone you are living with for 33 years, that perhaps the idolatry may not give him a good after life. Finally i tell myself G-d's Mercy goes way beyond anyone's understanding and that all will be well.blessings.

At November 18, 2008 at 11:13:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do have a way to detect whether or not you're on the right path. It's your inner happiness & joy.

At November 18, 2008 at 11:18:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Anonymous: Can't a person deceive himself and believe that he is happy when doing something that he should not be?

At November 18, 2008 at 1:54:00 PM EST, Blogger Shorty said...

I agree with you...one can be totally relaxing and doing nothing, yet feeling content. Obviously not very productive at all..

i have days like that, where I am of low energy, and i want to WANT to feel energetic and productive, yet i feel like i am moving in slow motion.

At November 24, 2008 at 4:40:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the early Slonimer rebbes said he was more worried about his "good" days than his "bad" ones. He knew that he invested effort on the "bad" days, but probably coasted on the "good" ones.

And if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, then certainly you're taking care of your life's mission. What are you supposed to be doing? Do hisbodedus to find out. :-)


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