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The Purview of a Dayan
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Discussion of two types of arvus – that of Torah teachers, in the abstract, and that of Dayanim, in the sphere of the practical and immediately applicable. Dayanim must be expert not just in Torah, but in world matters too, in order to apply the Torah correctly.   A Dayan must be savvy. Aside from the […]
The Downfall of the Lazy Learner
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There are disastrous consequences of thinking that one is a “player” in explaining and ruling in Torah, if one is not qualified. Explains the insidiousness of thinking that modern perceptions and values are inherently better than classical Jewish ones.   The root of laziness in avodas Hashem is the desire to be one’s own master and […]
Inertia, Yetzer and Freedom
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The “external” yetzer hara aims to both entice us to violate transgressions and prevent us from fulfilling positive mitzvos. The tendency of mankind to inertia is the work of the most ingrained yetzer hara possible. The irony that the self-perception of one pursuing sensual gratification is of freedom, while in reality he is totally enslaved […]
The Role of Torah in the Struggle to Avoid Arayos
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Mishlei 5:19-20 The drive for forbidden conjugal relationships is rooted in fantasy and delusion. Clarity of perception is critical to reducing the pull of ta’avah. A person who observes the laws of yichud and who takes careful precautions to avoid ordeals in arayos appears to the outsider as very much pre-occupied in this area, but […]
Just a Minor Sin?
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You cannot experiment with sinning. Being tainted with “some sin” is actually an undermining of the whole relationship’s purity. A person’s tremendous potential is often only seen at moments of great distress and trial. Why aren’t these characteristics present and felt every day? Because our sins have resulted in our greatness being shackled. In moments […]
Hurry Up and Slow Down
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You cannot properly absorb the lessons of a Torah shiur without hisbonenus. The yetzer hara has dual and opposite functions: It dampens and slows us from performing mitzvos, lacing the experience with pain, and it speeds us up when we consider violating the Torah.   Sins corrupt us both in olam haba and olam hazeh. Pursuit […]
Nivul Peh and Self-Definition
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A Jew who doesn’t have a peh kadosh is missing something in his definition. The contaminated environment in which we live dampens the disgust we ought to feel when being exposed to this speech. Modest speech and conduct are intertwined with humility and wisdom. Discussion of the value of learning Torah even when apparently unsuccessful. […]
Self Confidence and Confronting the Yetzer Hara
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Life is for renewing one’s will to fight the yetzer hara once again, despite previous failures. The importance of maintaining morale in the battle against the yetzer hara, and of celebrating victories. Brief discussion of the positive reward for abstaining from sin.  The importance of mechitzahs at simchas. Discussion of nivul peh and modern music. […]
Life-Long Ascent
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The purpose of life is to improve one’s middos. The belief in the possibility of improvement, coupled with laboring to its attainment, are a source of simchas ha-chaim. Even a non-believer may want to rise above the animal, to satisfy their physical needs in a way that is distinct from the way animals do. The […]