Please Learn in the Merit of:

Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Monday, July 24, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon: ט תשרי - Tishrei 9 - Ninth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

I heard [the following] in the name of a Great Torah Sage. Someone asked him, “If one does not concentrate during most of the prayer and finds himself at the end of the prayer, what should he do to arouse himself to begin to concentrate?” [The Scholar] answered with the following parable: “This situation is similar to [the case of] a young girl who stood by the marketplace with a big bag of vegetables for sale, whereupon a robber encountered her and began snatching vegetables from her basket. Startled, she did not know how to react. A wise person standing in the distance told her, ‘Why do you remain standing? Are you waiting for him to grab all of your produce? Behold, [just as] he is grabbing, [you must] also grab, and whatever comes up in your hands will be yours!’” This is exactly the case regarding prayer. Behold, [while a person is praying], the evil inclination strengthens itself over him and casts laziness and foreign thoughts upon him, to the degree that the person lacks concentration in many of the blessings. [Like the girl in the parable], you must also “grab” and arouse yourself with all of your strength to concentrate on the blessings which you have yet to recite.

This is exactly the case in our matter. [If] the evil inclination will be victorious over you today [encouraging you to speak] forbidden words, you shall stand and strengthen yourself against him tomorrow, [so that you will emerge] victorious over him. Even if [the evil inclination] will be victorious again, Heaven Forbid, nevertheless, you shall return and strengthen yourself against him to battle him. [If you act in this manner], The Holy One, Blessed is He, will definitely help you [and ensure] that you will also be among the victorious ones, for “[if] one comes to be purified, they help him [from Heaven].”[1] In summary, there should be war between a person and his evil inclination all of one's days. This is, in essence, the intention of our Sages of Blessed Memory [when they instruct]: “A person should always agitate [his good inclination over his evil inclination].”[2] This is also what the pasuk [in Koheles (10; 4)] says: “If the spirit of the ruler rises upon you, do not cede your place.”[3]

[1] See the RaMBa"M’s (Maimonides') Yad HaChazakah (Laws of Repentance: 6; 5): “In other words, he will find himself assisted in the matter [of purification, in his quest to overcome his evil inclination].”

[2] Once a person arouses his good inclination to fight against his evil inclination, it will be easier for him to successfully overcome his inclination to sin.

[3] The entire pasuk reads, “If the spirit of the ruler rises upon you, do not cede your place, for one who [allows himself to become] weakened leaves great sins.” The pasuk in Hebrew (Koheles: 10; 4) reads:

.אם-רוח המושל תעלה עליך מקומך אל-תנח כי מרפא יניח חטאים גדולים

The Targum (lit. translation, generally from Hebrew to Aramaic) of Yonasan ben Uziel gives the following explanation, “If the spirit of the evil inclination causes you to stumble and strengthens himself [in order to try] to remove you from your good place in which you were accustomed to fulfilling [the Torah], do not leave [your place] for the words of Torah were created as a remedy, causing great sins to be removed and forgotten from this world.”

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