Keep it Simple

by Twerski, Rabbi Dr. Avraham (See all authors)

One of the slogans of the 12-step program is "Keep it simple (stupid)". It is important to keep things simple. We make things difficult by complicating them.

"Simple" does not mean "easy." A command to lift a 100 pound weight is simple, it's just very hard. If we keep things simple and are willing to do hard work, we can triumph.

Before Rebbe Yohanan ben Zakai died, his talmidim asked him for a bracha. He said, "May you fear Hashem as much as you fear other people". There are things a person would be ashamed to be seen doing by others, but is not ashamed to be seen doing them by Hashem."

People who would be afraid to look at pornography in a smut store because someone might see them there, have no shame in being seen by Hashem. The first paragraph in the Shulchan Aruch instructs us to constantly be aware that we are in the imminent presence of Hashem and behave accordingly.

That is simple. There is nothing complex about it. It is just very hard to do.

We must work hard to attain yiras shamayim. Mesilas yesharim points out that we must work diligently to get it, "like one who searches for silver and digs for treasure." If you don't find the treasure at first, you don't give up. You continue digging, even exhausting yourself in order to find the treasure. That's how we must work for yiras shamayim. It is not going to just drop down from heaven.

Pray hard and tearfully for yiras shamayim. Our lives depend on it. Read the essays in mussar on developing yiras shamayim. This is a prayer that is always answered, provided that we really want it.

Twerski