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195. Intentions for the Sake of Heaven
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31:1 The Talmud tells us (Brachos 63a) that we must recognize God even in carrying out our physical needs and mundane activities. These include (but are not limited to) eating, drinking, walking, sitting, lying down, getting up, sexual relations and engaging in conversation. All of our activities should be for the service of God or […]
194. Bearing a Grudge
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30:8 If you want revenge against an enemy, work on developing your positive characteristics and follow righteous paths. In this way you will have your revenge because your enemy will feel bad when he constantly hears good things about you. If you perform shameful deeds, your enemy will rejoice when he hears of your dishonor […]
193. Revenge
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30:6 The Talmud in Sotah (42a) tells us that four types of people will never get to enjoy God’s Presence: jesters, flatterers, liars and slanderers. This is based on the following Biblical verses: “He has removed His hand from the jesters” (Hosea 7:5); “A flatterer will not come before Him” (Job 13:16); “One who lies […]
192. Borderline Lashon Hara
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30:4 Some things contain an aspect of lashon hara. For example, if someone says, “Don’t talk about so-and-so; I don’t wish to discuss what happened.” Speaking positively of someone in front of his enemies also contains an aspect of lashon hara since it encourages them to reply with negative comments. Regarding this, Solomon said in […]
191. Lashon Hara
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30:2 Even more severe than gossip is slander, which is the revealing of inherently negative facts about a person, even if true. This is what we mean by “lashon hara.” One who lies is guilty of “motzi shem ra.” Lashon hara entails relating what another has done or bad things about his background. The Talmud […]
190. Gossip
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29:21 It is a pious characteristic not to accept gifts, preferring to trust that God will provide all of one’s needs, as per Proverbs 15:27, “One who hates presents will live.” 30:1 The Torah tells us (Leviticus 19:16) not to go around as a gossip. A gossip is defined as one who gathers information and […]
189. Wronging Widows and Orphans
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29:19 One must be especially careful with orphans and widows, making sure to address them gently, treating them with dignity and not to causing them pain, even verbally. This applies even if they are wealthy, since there is still pain in their lives. God has a special relationship with widows and orphans; if they cry […]
188. Embarrassing Others
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29:17 We are not permitted to embarrass others, neither through words nor through actions. The Talmud tells us (Baba Metzia 58b) that one who embarrasses another in public forfeits his portion in the World to Come. The Talmud continues (59a) that it would be better to allow oneself to be thrown into a burning furnace […]
187. Rebuke
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29:15 If one sees that a friend has sinned or is pursuing an improper path, he is obligated to try to return him to the proper way as per Leviticus 19:17, “You shall surely rebuke your friend.” A person should only be rebuked in private and in a calm, gentle tone. (If he is sinning […]
186. Hating Others
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29:13 If one hates a fellow Jew in his heart, he violates a Torah prohibition (Leviticus 19:17). If someone is wronged by another person, he should not despise him and seethe silently as we see wicked people do in II Samuel 13:22, “Avshalom did not talk to Amnon, neither good nor bad, because Avshalom hated […]