Monday, September 29, 2008

Resolutions & Simplicity

(Painting by Avinoam Shemesh)

I asked a friend before Rosh Hashana one year what mitzva or hanhaga tova (good practice) he planned to take on for the new year. He replied, "I am not going to take on anything new. This year I am going to abide by all my past resolutions."

Being fully cognizant of the level on which he was holding, he felt that he wasn't doing all the things he currently did in the most optimal manner. Perhaps he also understood that if he resolved to do something new at this stage he could easily boomerang right out of it just as quickly as he started once the thrill of its newness wore off; that the desire to do more in this case derived from the yetzer hara not the yetzer tov.

Reflecting on my friend's answer to me, I can see that it reveals the essence of simplicity. A Jew who exhibits the quality of simplicity cuts through all external trappings and ulterior motivations and performs a mitzva for the simple reason that Hashem commanded him to do so; he takes the "old" and transforms it into the new.


At September 29, 2008 at 6:18:00 AM EDT, Blogger Leora said...

A beautiful painting and beautiful words.

Wishing you a simple, healthy, productive, and sweet new year. Shana tova.

At October 6, 2013 at 9:18:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discussion with Moishe'la (with his family)
A Handicapped child
Tishrei 28 '5774 (Oct 1 '13)

We Cried and We Cried

I want to tell you that Zaidy came to me again from Olam Ha’emes. (My Zaidy, a great Tzaddik, was very famous when he was alive.) I want to tell you that he sat down next to me when I was sleeping, and said to me, "Yingel Yingel my Zeesa Yingel (my beloved boy) I am so proud of you. I am so happy that you are in the house that you are, in the home that you are, and I Bentch you that you should continue bringing truth to our family and truth to the Yidden wherever they might be."

And then he said, "I have more to tell you. I am very worried about my adopted homeland the United States of America. I am not worried about the place itself, as we all know its pure Edom. I have always realized how this Golus of Edom has almost destroyed all Yiddishkeit in America.

"But no I am not worried about the Edomite country called the United States. I am worried about the Yidden in United States. First of all they are in very big physical danger and of course we know very well that the Yidden in America, including the Frum, are in great spiritual and physical danger. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but the very big majority of the Yidden in America are in very big spiritual danger.
"Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the Yidden all over the world are in a better condition, but I am worried especially about the Yidden in the United States of America.

"I really want them to do Teshuva, real Teshuva. And I know that I have said this many times, and people don't understand what I am talking about. Even when you explain it so clearly, most people just brush it off because it's much more interesting to be busy with the Gashmius than to be busy with the Ruchnius. It take less spiritual and emotional effort to rise high in the attainment of the Gashmius, than it takes to rise high in the attainment of the Ruchnius.

"Since I was very young I realized that the American Jewish community would eventually disappear. Now however I see clearly that the United States of America is disappearing right in front of our eyes. Soon there will be no United States of America, and the Yidden will have to find themselves a new home. I hope they decide on Eretz Yisroel, and hope they do it quickly, because if not well……. "

Then he asked me to sit down with him and say Tikkun Chatzos. Together we Davened and we cried, and we cried, and we cried. I closed my eyes so I could feel the Tza'ar HaShechina, (the pain of Hashem) and when I opened them my Zaidy was gone.


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