Category: UFEM

A Use for Every Middah

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Of Arks and Rainbows

There are two events in the Torah that can be identified as yeshu’os, by which I mean events where Hashem saved someone even though they didn’t really merit it. The more obvious is Yetzi’as Mitzrayim, the Exodus. Hashem saved us just as we were slipping from the “49th level of impurity” into being hopelessly corrupt. And in the introduction before...

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A use for every middah

The Semak (mitzvah 8 ) writes that we should be careful with other people’s kavod (honor), but not our own.The Orekhos Tzaddiqim (“sha’ar haAhavah”) similarly writes that you should try to give others hana’ah (enjoyment), but try not to take hana’ah from others. (I don’t quite understand this. Perhaps the author is distinguishing “taking” from “receiving what’s freely given”.)And so,...

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A Use for Every Middah, part II: Two Dictionaries

Among the ideas I touched on in “A use for every middah” was that oftentimes the use is when dealing with others.It’s okay to be an “apiqoreis” and worry about Hashem not providing, when it comes to providing for others.At ne’ilas hachag last night, I heard R’ Yitzchak Wolpin (Rosh Yeshiva of Slonim, Boro Park) repeat a thought from his...

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Another’s Gashmiyus is my Ruchnius

יענעמס גשמיות איז בא מיר רוחניות. Another’s physical needs/wants are for me, spiritual. I first heard this sentiment from R’ Shaul Margoliszt”l, the Chassidishe rav of the shul of my childhood, The Lubavitcher Rebbezt”l describes it as an old Chassidic saying (Igros vol. 13, 27 Iyyar 5716). I think the earliest source is Rav Yisrael Salanter, as quoted in the...

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Mixed Emotions

A long while ago I wrote (in “A use for every middah“): The Rambam (Hilkhos Dei’os 1:4) describes the ideal balance of middos as being the shevil hazahav, the golden mean. He writes (tr. Immanuel O’Levy), “The way of the upright is [to adopt] the intermediate characteristic of each and every temperament that people have. This is the characteristic that...