Maavir al Midosav

(An image of the page from Michtav Meiliyahu is available off-site.)

Because of the importance of the subject of “Ma’avir al Midosav“, we will list here some practical additional actions that a person can habituate himself through them and trust that he will reach this level, and it will be good for him all his days. Even if some of them seem that they have an aspect of “not for its own sake”, this is not a flaw… Because in order to reach a complete change in middos and ways of thought, one must utilize the “not for its own sake.” Since your intent is for the sake of heaven, to do the will of your Maker, there is no doubt that you will be helped to reach “from acting not for its sake, one comes to acting for its sake.

  1. Your interactions with other people should not be run only through the cool intellect, but constantly through in a “warm” manner, that is, with their middos.
  2. Everyone thinks they are superior to you in some way; and in general they are right about it. Agree with him, and he will love you. [Remember the words of the Ramban in his Epistle: If you are wiser than him, remember that he is more righteous than you — for he is acting through error, and you, intentionally. Etc…]
  3. Each and every person looks more closely at his own needs than at yours. Therefore, show him that that which you need is also what he needs. (Find the Win-Win scenario. MB)
  4. Don’t only try to do, but also to want to do, and doing it will enrich you.
  5. Be careful not to enter heated disputes with your friends. They will distance you from them and come between you.
  6. Do not talk too much about yourself. Talk to your friend about your friend himself, and he will be interested in listening. (To most people, there is no word more beloved than “me” and nothing pleasanter than his name.)
  7. Pay attention to the words of others. Make effort to remember their names and details, and they will love you.
  8. Do not correct your friend in an explicit way, because he will only rebel more. All sinners, even the worst of murderers, do not admit to their crimes in the hearts.
  9. When speaking to your friends, agree to the truth. For why should he hate you when he is right!
  10. Remember what the wise doctors say: It is more important understand the patient than to understand the disease. Because a large portion of every sickness, and sometimes the entire disease, comes from the spirit of the patient. When you succeed in curing this through loving and befriending him more, the disease will pass.

One who conducts himself in these ways, over time it will become easy for him to be “ma’avir al midosav“, since he already got used to looking at everything from his friend’s point of view.