Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"The Moment Your "I" Disappears..."

AF commenting on Retaining One's Essential Character:

The word "G-d" was not mentioned once in the whole post. In case you think this is a stupid comment, I think it is indicative of something else: when a person is so focused on what he or she wants, on his or her self, where is the place for G-d? "Is Judaism providing enough for my self-fulfillment?" "Do I feel connected enough to G-d?" How about asking, am I doing enough in my service of the Creator of the Universe?

The question is not even asked as a Halachic issue. It's asked as a social issue. And those that do ask it as a Halachic issue -- what is their motivating force? There are two types of people that look for loopholes and heterim in Halacha. One type wants to make Halacha as comfortable for himself as possible and looks for loopholes (hence trying to split hairs about skirts, mechitzas, shaving during the Sfira, shaving in general, etc.) The other type wants to connect to Kadosh Boruchu as much as possible (hence finding a heter not to wash for seuda shlishis etc., since it is preferable al pi Kabboloh).

The moment your "I" disappears in your equation and worldview, and there only G-d (literally, only Him), and in a small chance there is an "I", it is only in a sense of "how ridiculous is it that He limits Himself and allows this 'I' to exist -- but now that this happened, how can this 'I' fulfill the role for which He created it" -- the moment such a shift in thinking happens, things will become much easier. It's not that you will start liking skirts or I will start liking my ridiculous looking beard. It's that these questions will disappear due to total insignificance.

Perhaps the poster should join one of the groups she mentioned. It's not about a group one joins, however. It's about whether this group puts "Ein od milvado" in the center of its theology and practice, down to minute details.


At May 13, 2008 at 1:09:00 PM EDT, Blogger DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Everything you're saying is true.

With that said, ***you cannot be mevatel your "I" to G-d before you even know who that "I" is that you are being mevatel.***

I came to this realization when trying to understand something that Rav Itamar Shwartz, shlita, wrote at the End of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, Vol. 2. He wrote there, in the context of making everything that you do "Lishma," i.e. for the sake of giving nachas ruach to Hashem, that one first must clarify to himself why he is doing everything, and only then can he begin to work on being mevatel all of the other reasons and only doing things for the sake of giving nachas ruach to Hashem.

I wondered why this is. If the whole purpose is to rid one's self of all of the external "I's" reasons for doing things, then why not just immediately begin working on davening and working on serving Hashem for Hashem's sake.

The reason, ostensibly, is that until I understand all of the personal reasons why I do various mitzvos, I can't work on being mevatel them. Until I understand what it is that I must rid myself of, I can't target and eliminate those aspects of "myself."

Although you are right that total bitul is the ideal, the vast majority of us will not reach that goal if we skip the necessary pre-condition, which is understanding the self that we are to be mevatel.

-Dixie Yid

At May 13, 2008 at 1:28:00 PM EDT, Blogger Miriam Woelke said...


Bitul of oneself is the total ideal but G - d created us as individuals.

My intention is not putting myself into the center and keeping the Halachot as they please me. However, not everyone is capable of giving up oneself and doing only G - d's will. We all have a personality and depend on a certain happiness in life.

Would I only be happy with a total Bitul ? Does it solve my problems ?

Yes, we do own it to our creator, as He created us to do His will.
On the other hand I think that G - d Himself knows what is going on inside a person whereas humans often prefer to judge according to the outer appearance (clothes).

I like the catoon. :-)

At May 13, 2008 at 2:01:00 PM EDT, Blogger Alice said...

I don't get the impression that Miriam is being egocentric any more than any of us are. I think she's being honest, which is refreshing. (And it's a commandment.) I am 100% sure that the struggles about which she is writing are quite common, not because people don't love God, but because we are human and are stuck in the middle of forces that pull us a hundred different directions at once. I think it's very interesting to have a window into the mind of a fellow humanbeing to see how s/he is sorting it all out.

The fact that the issue of dress is what she is struggling with puts her dilema on the outside where everyone can see it and therefore make judgements. Who is to say that the guy handing her a booklet on modesty while she's walking down the street isn't struggling with many problems that she has already successfully overcome?

At May 13, 2008 at 4:00:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Talmid said...

"Would I only be happy with a total Bitul ? Does it solve my problems ?"

Yes. The more one has emunah the happier they will be. By realizing that everything is from Hashem it makes things a lot easier. (i.e. you don't kick yourself everytime you make a bad business deal, since you know it is Devinely ordained.)

Also, we have 2 choices. We can be slaves of Hashem, the King of kings, or we can be slaves to our base desires. What is more honorable? And, who is really the free one?

We should be observing all the mitzvos(or at least trying to)ONLY for Hashem; not to make a teacher or someone else happy. May we all be worthy of doing only the Will of Hashem.


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