Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Gates of Repentance

The Third Instance: WHEN YOU’RE ADMONISHED BY A SAGE

People in search of spiritual excellence would have to be students and lovers of truth. After all, they've come upon perhaps the greatest truism of all-- that a life of spiritual content and devotion is what matters most. It follows then that those good souls are also open to more and more truth all the time. Since the life they've decided to live is nourished by it.

But as the expression goes, indeed oftentimes "the truth hurts". And it sometimes saddens. At bottom, the *ultimate* truth bouys, envelops, and gladdens. But many of the facts that face us all along the way to the ultimate truth can hurt.

After all, in truth, most of us are oftentimes selfish, insensitive, and malignant to degrees. To be sure, we're also capable of sweetness perhaps, and of empathy and great generosity. But the person of truth, who knows his or her thumping heart only too well, couldn't deny the great and mighty waves of childishness that overtake him or her more often than it's comfortable to admit to.

That being so, what are we to do? What will ever convince our hearts of stone to soften more frequently?

Rabbeinu Yonah suggests we make use of the greatest of all senses-- hearing. And that we hear out the words of constructive criticism the wise would offer us. And that if we're truly and deep-down receptive to what they say, we'll be moved to teshuva (to closeness to G-d).

Let's step back a moment, though, and consider the idea that the sense of hearing is the most important sense, over and above seeing, tasting, touching, and speaking. After all, aren't they all capable of allowing for greatness on our parts? And wouldn't the student of Torah expect the sense of seeing to be paramount, since it enables us to study Torah?

Rabbeinu Yonah's point is that hearing is the most significant sense of them all-- in our search for spiritual excellence-- becomes its effects run deeper than the effects of all the other senses. And they touch the heart most lastingly. Anyone who has ever attended a traditional "mussar shmooze" knows only too well how true that can be (a "mussar shmooze" is heart-based public plea for betterment based on traditional sources and touching upon issues of the day).

For while studying and dwelling upon the many alternating sweet and daunting classical mussar works either on one's own with others certain does a lot to effect one's progress, it can't compare with hearing a good "shmooze". For the sensitive soul couldn't help but catch the speaker's nuances, infections, and sincerity. And all that is what fixes the subject spoken of right into the heart.

There'a another point to be touched upon in our day and age. Which is that most of us simply know of no sages. We know of clever folks, or perhaps of geniuses and brilliant, brilliant minds. But few sages. Which is to say, we know of few souls rich in wisdom and brimming with revelation. So the few among us who know of one or two would do well to seek them out as often as possible, and take their words to heart.

In fact we're told that "if you listen and internalize, understand in your heart and do teshuvah" when the wise implore you to; you take their words "to heart as soon as you hear them"; and you "take it upon yourself to fulfill (their words) from that day onward"-- you'll "become a whole other person."

But there's another edge to that sword. Which is the fact that if hear what the wise have to say, and you come to know how true they are-- yet you still and all don't grow and change from the experience... you're exposure to such insight and wisdom would prove to be your undoing. Since you'd have come to know, and you scoffed; you'd have been granted insight, and you shrugged it off. And you'd indeed have gone from high spiritual potential to the sort of spiritual mediocrity those who sputter and quote high truths by rote and don't live by their words exhibit all their lives.

Subscribe to Spiritual Excellence and receive the class via e-mail.


 
Sell Chometz Online


ARTICLES ON PESACH:

View Complete List

Telling Others
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

The Great Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5764

The Great Shabbos
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Pesach: The Obligation of Profound Appreciation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

"HaKol B'Seder!"
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762

We Were Slaves...
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Pesach Selections
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Pesach Weather
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Inherent and Essential Contradictions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5770

> Reading, Reviewing, Reciting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

All The Days of Your Life
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Yosef’s Bones And Splitting Of The Sea: A Lesson In Unity
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

ArtScroll

Elevated by Divine Command
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5770

In Lamb
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Break Free!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755



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