Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
haaros

Haaros

Parshas Shoftim 5758 - '98

Outline Vol. 2, # 43

by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein


Chodshei Hashanah Vol. 2 # 26

Elul to Rosh Hashanah

Character Traits

Rambam incorporated laws of character refinement ("Hilchos Deios") in his great codification of Jewish Law ("Mishnah Torah"). In his Laws of Repentance ("Hilchos Teshuva"), Rambam mentions that one must not only regret transgressions, and commit oneís self to mitzvos, but we are also obliged to regret having character flaws, and strive to correct them.

A large proportion of the Laws of Repentance is devoted to philosophy. Rambam needed to establish clearly the extent of Mankindís free choice. It is obvious why the philosophic digression was necessary: Readers would be sure to question -- who can say that man is able to choose his own personality?

Indeed, a person is not only identified by others by his personality and behavioral characteristics, he identifies himself with these, as well. When something unseemly occurs, he absolves himself from responsibility. "Itís just the way I am -- the way Iíve always been."


Who is at Fault?

People are not likely to find fault with themselves. How often it occurs that something possibly inappropriate happens; years later, the perpetrator is still proud of the accomplishment. He is only able to see himself in a favorable light.

Yet, when it comes to others, faults will certainly be given our immediate attention. If our derogatory comments are made out of earshot of the subjectís hearing -- or better yet, if we refrain from saying anything -- we consider ourselves models of good manners. Why is it that we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, but condemn others without mercy?

The ambiguity is that, for some reason, we see other people as having choice; we ourselves, however, are forced by circumstance to act as we do. Therefore, other people must be blamed; we ourselves, however, are entirely blameless.

Rav Yisrael Salanter: "Before studying Musar (ethical reproof), I thought the world was at fault. As I started studying, I decided that the world and I shared blame. After studying, I realized that the world was blameless, and I, alone, was at fault." (Tínuas Hamusar, "The Mussar Movement")


Secrets of Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is "the day of concealment." (Tíhillim [Psalms 81:4]) Rav Shlomo Zevin (Hamoíadim Bíhalacha) explains that Rosh Hashanah is the only Yom Tov which had no fixed time -- it could not be known in advance when it would occur (as we will examine next week). For now, we cannot avoid connecting the concealment of the day with the judgment of the day -- which is also concealed. The judgment is not only regarding concrete actions or lack of action, but subtleties of character. The crimes are hidden, the accusations are hidden, the trial is hidden -- and the outcome, too, is not revealed.


Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
11 Kiryas Radin
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Phone: (914) 362-5156
E-mail: yaakovb@torah.org

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © '98 Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON YOM KIPPUR:

View Complete List

It's a Fast One
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Time to Return
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Saying Is Believing
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

> Complete Teshuvah
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Picture Perfect
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

ďThe Secrets of ChangeĒ
Jon Erlbaum -

ArtScroll

Reaching Forgiveness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Did You Hear?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5763

The Right Fit
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Our Next Big Move!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Jonah's Dilemma
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

Shabbos Shuva - A Year-long Effect
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Holy of Holies
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Merits, Middles and Majorities
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764

Guilt is Good!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Yom Kippur - Getting In Touch With Ourselves
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information