02 September 2018

Can You Believe It?

22 Elul 5778

It's now one week until Rosh Hashanah 5779 - Judgment Day! Are any of us ready for this? I had such good intentions, all the way back in Av and then again Rosh Chodesh Elul and now, here we are one week out and I'm still stuck in the same rut! But, I really, really, REALLY want to get out of it.

Three books will be opened on Rosh Hashanah. One will immediately record the mainly righteous for life - an assured place in Olam Haba. One will immediately record the mostly evil for death - denial of entrance to Olam Haba. And the third one is for all the Beinonim - those whose deeds are so equally divided that it's not clear which side they are on. They will get a grace period of ten more days beyond Rosh Hashanah, until Yom Kippur, to decide their fate.

Whew! Thank God! If I still fail to get my act together over the next eight days, there will still be hope.

From The Spirit of the Seasons: Insights Into the Yomim Tovim by Jonathan Shooter:
What Is a Beinoni?

...Rav Yechezkel Levenstein says that there are tests to know where one stands. The weighing of sins doesn't just mean the quantity of good versus bad deeds. Rather, the weighing is according to their value qualitatively. One mitzvah can equal many sins, and vice-versa. The Mesillas Yesharim says that the purpose of man's existence on earth is to become close to Hashem. This we do by believing in Hashem and making this knowledge a real part of our lives. Therefore, we can explain the idea of one who has more merits than sins as one whose thoughts and deeds are all with the purpose of coming closer to Hashem. By feeling closer to Hashem, he is gaining more than he does from the pleasures of this world. If he has more sins than merits, it means that the yetzer hara has a stronger hold on him than the service of Hashem, most of his desires are for the mundane world and increasing physicality. A beinoni is one whose desires and goals are equal, sometimes he is swayed one way, and sometimes the other.

'Man sees what his eyes behold, but Hashem sees into the heart' (Shmuel I 16:7). Hashem's requirements of man lie not in his deeds, but in the avodah of the heart. The test is, how close a person is to Hashem, and what are his desires and longings. Is his essence about getting closer to Hashem, or about the vanities of this world. With this as the key, a person can realize where he stands, whether his desires are toward spirituality, or physicality.
Today is a good day to tilt the scales to the good by keeping this in mind and adjusting our focus accordingly. May we all be successful in our teshuvah.

1 comment:

  1. It is also the 3rd yahrzeit of my daughter, Kayla Rus bas Bunim Tuvia, A"H. We spent a lot of time davening at the kever.


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