Friday, June 14, 2013

Torah Thought Thursday- Late

This is a few hours late, as it's Thursday no more, so the topic will be in a similar vein.

On Shavuos morning, I was learning with an old friend of mine from my Israel days, and he said something which surprised me and inspired me.

Move on.

Two words, which have really improved, not only how I serve Hashem, but how I live my life.

The context was with regards to moving on from sinning. I sin. It happens. I'm not happy about it, and it bothers me whenever I do, but I sin. (When it rains it pours, it seems, as the floodgates of admitting to embarrassing things seems to have been not just been pin-holed, but shattered.)

Doing an aveirah bothered me sometimes so much, that I wouldn't do something I should have done, or did something I shouldn't have done, because I was so affected by what I had done.

The way he does things, and the way that I now do things, is simple. Look up to the Heavens, say "I'm really sorry Hashem. I'll try my hardest not to do it again," and forget about it. Just like that. Forget about it. Continue to work on whatever area it is that you're weak in, perhaps write in a little notebook of things to clap al cheit for on Yom Kippur, and move on.

The Yetzer Hara is the wiliest of characters. It's not enough for him to get you to do a sin. It's not enough for him to get you to do a sin and then feel so bad about it that you can't even enjoy it. He'll go so far that after you've done the sin, feel so bad about it that you can't enjoy it, he'll make you feel so bad that you'll feel that you shouldn't do another Mitzvah, or that you should do another aveirah. Giving credit where credit is due, the Yetzer Hara is good at what he does.

Because the Yetzer Hara is so good, we mere mortals need to come up with ways of outsmarting him. For example, saying to yourself that you'll do the aveirah...but in 5 minutes, is one way of fighting him. Moving on is another. Forget about things you've done in the past, and don't let them affect the present.

It's a difficult task. "I just did THIS!! How can I just forget about it?!" Just do it. Move on. Push it out of your mind.

It's worked for me. It hasn't been easy, but I've managed to employ this tactic as a way of not letting something I've done in the past affect my service to Hashem in the moment.

The Yetzer Hara tried this on me before I sat down to write this Torah Thought. "Um, you know, it's not Thursday anymore, Lost and Found? Have you lost track of days again?" Snicker. "Remember, you thought it was Wednesday twice in a row a few weeks ago? Today's Friday. You can't post Torah Thought Thursday on a Friday!" He almost had me too. But I remembered my "Moving on" tactic and here I am, employing it. You're right, it is Friday, but YOU know what, Yetzer Hara? Torah is Torah is Torah. I may be late, and that may be my fault, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Win! :)

Have a beautiful and restful Shabbos!


  1. That's one way of looking at it, and its a tactic I employ sometimes as well. There are other times I think its better to remember, but just don't focus on it, just remember enough so you learn from your lesson and can try to avoid it in the future.

    1. Another great post, btw :)

    2. I agree that it's better to remember and not focus on it, but for me... doesn't work so well. If I keep it in the back of my head, it forces itself into the forefront of my mind. I wish I could though...

  2. True, you do have to move on, because when you dwell on what you've done wrong you can get quagmired in the guilt enough to prevent you from moving forward. What you've done begins to define you, and the yetzer hara can convince you that this is who you are...aveira goreres aveira.

    But, it isn't enough to just "move on." You have to learn from your mistakes; become a better person from them. When you fall, pick something up. Ki nafalti, kamti.

    1. I agree completely, and that's what this is for: Look up to the Heavens, say "I'm really sorry Hashem. I'll try my hardest not to do it again..." At some point, a cheshbon has to be made as to what's happening by keeping an aveirah on one's mind. If it's going to ruin the rest of one's day and service to Hashem, then maybe it is best to just move on rather that, as you put it, get quagmired in the guilt. The best way to do it is to learn from your mistakes, but getting stuck and not doing things you should be doing, in my humble opinion, is no better. Of course, I could be wrong.

    2. No, you're right, it ISN'T better. But that's just it -- "getting stuck and not doing things you should be doing" isn't learning from your mistake. It isn't 'picking something up' or 'rising from your fall.' There's this balance of recognizing a wrongdoing enough to learn from the mistake, but at the same time not getting caught up in it and letting it define you.

      Relevant tidbit here...we're called "Yehudim" after Yehuda who sinned and did teshuva, because this is how we serve Hashem. We're allowed to make mistakes, and we become closer to Him through them. We weren't named after Yosef Hatzadik whose mehalach was to never sin. (His cheshbon was that if he sinned he would no longer be part of the shivtei ka.)

    3. I think we're saying the same thing but in different ways...? I agree that one has to recognize a wrongdoing and move on from it. And you agree that it's good not to get caught up in it :)

      oooooo, that's a nice thought! I like!

    4. Perhaps it's semantics, but what I was trying to say was that you can't just move on without growing from your mistake first in some way. You shouldn't get caught up in it, because there's more harm than good in that, but you need to take something from it before moving past it.

      An aveira done b'mazid becomes a sh'gaga, and a sh'gaga, a mitzvah when we do teshuva. Not only does the wrongdoing not count against us, it goes toward our benefit. Thus, there's a point to the sin (when we rise from it).

      Thanks. I don't remember where I heard it, but it was a reputable source.

    5. I didn't forget about this- just been busy.

      I completely agree with everything you've written :-)