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.



 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Stamped a Sinner
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Good Salesman
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

A Critical Difference
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

> The Heart of the Matter
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Honorable Mentshen
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Empty Nest
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Kedusha Infomercial
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Who Has To Honor Whom?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Giving for a Good Cause
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Focus on the Counting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Encouraging His Children to Climb
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Do it Because I am Holy
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

ArtScroll

Understand The Warning
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

There's Holy, and There's Holy
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Love From Inside Out - Part 2
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

The Reason The Torah Prohibits Marrying Two Sisters
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770



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