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Go For the Gold!

obormottel Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Part 2/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

C. Twerski commented on the thoughts in the previous article here.

I just wanted to comment on this. This concept is brought down by the Meor Enaim in the name of the Baal Shem Tov many times. For example, the Pasuk says: איש כי יקח את אחותו חסד הוא, i.e. that even the greatest sin is really a perversion of the highest midah of chesed. When Hashem sends a test to a person, it's a sign to the person to uplift this mida to kedusha.

However, personally I have heard from the Rachmastrivke Rebbe in Yerushalayim that this is a madreiga for tzadikim but not regular people. I heard as well from Rav Yitzchok Moshe Erlanger that it's a good concept to know, but when the desire or machshava comes to a person he should not try to uplift it, as that's very possibly above his level and he will probably stumble, instead he should just run away as fast as possible. They both seem to be saying that for the average person, while it can be a chizuk to know where the lust comes from theoretically and what the ideal result should be (so that they don't feel bad about themselves), in actuality however, they shouldn't try to uplift this.

Yaakov Responds:

Thanks for sharing that. There's no question one should turn away instantly, the only question is, what should his thoughts be at that moment? If the thoughts are of lust, he should distract himself completely. But if he found that he was being nispa'el (in awe) just from the beauty, it can perhaps be helpful to think where the source of all beauty really comes from and Whom it is really worth loving.

The Bal Shem spoke of not "removing Hashem's malbushim", kaviyachol. This is truly a high level that is not for regular people. But I was trying to fit his words into a more realistic approach that can be helpful not only to uplift it to kedusha, but also in a psychological sense. Instead of FIGHTING the very real feelings that the person feels at the time, he can validate the feelings and simply redirect them to a Higher level of self-interest by telling himself, "there's much better in store for me, if I only don't go after the reflection and go instead after the real thing".

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