Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chassidus and Mussar: A Beautiful Teaching of the Baal Shem Tov zt"l:

A Beautiful Teaching of the Baal Shem Tov zt"l:

The holy Baal Shem Tov (Rebbe Yisroel ben Eliezer zt"l) taught that if you see another person doing an aveirah (transgression), you should look into yourself, because you likely have that flaw as well.  How does this make sense?  Different people have different flaws! 

So, the Baal Shem Tov explains beautifully, that, the reason for this is because Hashem lets you see the person doing that certain transgression for a reason - likely for you to realize that you yourself have that same flaw, and to then correct it. 

The Baal Shem Tov himself followed this teaching, as can be seen from the following story:  He once saw someone violating Shabbos, and so, following his teaching, he looked into himself for that flaw.  After looking very deep and not finding a violation of Shabbos within himself, he Davened (prayed) that his transgression be revealed to him.  And his prayers were answered!  It was revealed to him that once, he had heard somebody insulting a Tzaddik (righteous person) and he had not rebuked the person.  This was like a violation of Shabbos, as the Zohar says that a Tzaddik has the Kedusha (holiness) of Shabbos.1  And so, he likely resolved to fix that flaw. 

Now, B'Ezras Hashem, let us begin to expand on this concept:  As we know, everything happens for a reason - every single event in our life.  So seeing another person doing an aveirah - or anything else for that matter, is obviously not a coincidence.  In conclusion, when something happens, or we see something, etc. it is for a reason, and we must realize this.  Look for the messages that it could be giving us! 

Now that we have established the above fact, we can better understand this teaching of the Baal Shem Tov.  And now, we must realize this:  If we follow this beautiful teaching of the Besht (Baal Shem Tov zt"l), then if we see a person doing a bad thing (Chas V'Shalom - Hashem forbid), we won't think about judging them for doing an aveirah, we will look into ourselves, and start judging ourselves!  This way, we will likely (with the Help of Hashem) refine our Middos (traits), and use everyday life occurrences to serve Hashem, His Name is Blessed, like we are supposed to. 

And when we ponder the explanation of the Baal Shem Tov's teaching, we can come to appreciate life better.  Everything indeed happens for a reason, and a good reason at that, and so, all the things that happen to us are for the better.  Hashem only makes good things happen - even if they seem bad to us.  Even if He punishes us, it is ultimately for the better - He is cleansing us from our sins!  The ultimate conclusion here is this:  Everything that Hashem makes happen is good, not even that, but great!  Knowing and realizing this; we can be happier people, and serve Hashem much better. 

May Hashem help us all - every single Jew, no matter who you are - to keep this teaching, take these messages to heart, and reach all the great results that come with them.  And remember that no matter how far you are from Hashem, you can always come back to Him.  He is so merciful!  Ponder this. 

Have a great day everyone! 

Refoel Berel

1 Four Chassidic Masters, pages 20-21.  By Rebbe Avraham J. Twerski M.D. shlita.  A PocketScroll© book.  A Shaar Press Publication©. 

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