Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"Eight Chapters"

Chapter Six (Part 1)

Some people think that truly good and righteous people are just born that way, and that the rest of us can only hope to avoid doing harm, at best. But that's clearly not Rambam's (or our own) perspective on things, as he asserts that we *all* have what it takes to achieve spiritual excellence in this world.

Understand, though, that that wasn't always as self-evident as it seems.

In the past many thinkers contended that certain people were born "heroes", as they called them, who could do no wrong, while the rest of us are doomed to shlep along in our clumsy, often less-than-righteous ways. In point of fact, that argument is still very much alive today, with some claiming that we're each genetically "wired" to be one way or the other, without much free will ... but that's not the point here.

There's something else many thought in the past: it's that "when a person who subdues his yetzer harah does lofty things", that is, if a person struggles with his urge to do something wrong and manages to stave off the temptation and to do good instead, he's nonetheless "not so praiseworthy". Why? Because he'd still be "longing and yearning to do bad". They'd grant you that "he'd struggled with his longings" and managed to "withstand the promptings of his personal bents, desires, and disposition", but their point would be that he'd be "suffering in the process", that it wouldn't come naturally to him, so he wouldn't be all that noble.

The so-called hero or eminent, sinless person would be loftier and more perfect than the one who subdues his yetzer harah, simply because the latter "still longs to do something bad" which indicates "an inherently bad disposition" on his part -- even though he hadn't succumbed.

Their contention was that if you or I were "really" good, we wouldn't even *think* of sinning. And that struggling not to sin, and even managing to be successful at that, wouldn't be all that great.

But as we said, Rambam disagrees.


Text Copyright 2006 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Introduction to Maggid
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

This Night
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Pesach In Command
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Jogging Ancient Memories
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Growth Period
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

> The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5760

Out of Order
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Chased by the Taste
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Maybe Next Year, in Jerusalem!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

The Questioning Defense
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764

Kid Tips
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

ArtScroll

How Do We Approach This Child?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Last Days of Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

And You Shall Tell Your Son
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5774

A Focus of Our Attention
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760



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