Much has been written about the allegations of abuse by a person the community had given their trust, support and respect. It’s important to discuss and analyze each angle on its own so that we learn, apply and implement the correct lessons going forward.
In this note I want to focus on the Hollywood style hero worship we, at times, give people. Humans are humans. Each one of us has a Yetzer Tov, an altruistic force that wants all things good for the sake of good, happy when others are happy, and wants to connect with anything G-dly.
Then there’s the Yetzer Harah. Every single person we know has one. It’s selfish, craves pleasure, is jealous of others, rejoices in the downfall of others, and wants to do anything but what Hashem demands of us at a given moment.
We need to question ourselves. Do the people we honor and respect align with the Yetzer Tov, or are we just going along with the crowd? Even if they do, is my complimenting this person chanifa, flattery, for personal gain and attention, or is this the objectively right thing to do?
It’s very sobering to realize that as humans we can make horrible mistakes and hurt people, at times for life. Yet this must be one of the take-aways: always be mindful of the selfishness lurking in our hearts. At times it attacks straightforward, at times it cloaks itself in activist, religious or slogan garb, but is always there, and never tires.
The medicine is Torah and Mitzvos. The Talmud says, if this menuval (yetzer hara), bumps into you, drag him to the beis hamedrash. Connect with the light of Torah, and other Yidden. If needed, seek a mashpia or counselor. But know that help is always needed and be sure that we can rise above temptation, self interest and make the right choices.
When asked by the angels why we should receive the Torah, Moshe Rabbeinu challenged them, questioning if they have parents, or yetzer hara. For this is the very purpose of creation. A lofty soul in a body of flesh – it is our job to refine it, one action at a time.
Every one of us is a whole world. Every thought, speech and action we take affects the entire world and Iy’H will tip the scales, ushering in the final redemption.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,