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 MISHPATIM:

View Complete List

Help Me Help Myself
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Miss Manners And Her Ilk Are A Far Cry From Divine Torah Ethics
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Eternal Medicine
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

> The Needy do More for the Rich than Vice Versa
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Make Yourself- at Home
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Remember the Feeling
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Volumes in Volume
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

In the Business of Challenges
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

What We Have Done
Rabbi Label Lam - 5776

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Growth Investment
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Honesty is More Than a Policy
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Swimming Against the Current
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5762

ArtScroll

Aha!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Jews and Slavery
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

This Is Also Torah
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Help!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 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