Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Comes Naturally, Part 2

I once addressed these concepts here. This is the continuation.

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I am always impressed by people who are actually misers, who are stingy, who cannot give, who don't spend much money on themselves, but when it comes to charity, you feel their hands tremble, shake, for you feel the man experiences excruciating pain [from giving money], but still [he] gives...I like people who worked on themselves and conquered themselves. I don't like born saints. A person who is born a saint, who from early childhood walked on earth as a little saint, never appealed to me. But people who remade themselves [do].

~Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik in The Rav: Thinking Aloud by David Holzer, pages 186-187

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Great is not the man who did not falter in his loyalties, who never found himself in opposition to God. It is greater one who tripped, fell, and rose. One who feels that he never came into conflict with God, who lives under a delusion that he always worshipped and never fled, leads an unredeemed existence. You may call it self-righteousness. Woe to the moralist or religionist who gazes at himself in proud rapture, who boasts of his unstained, unwavering indebtedness and loyalty to God.

~Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik in The Rav: Thinking Aloud by David Holzer, page 187

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Or as I would put it, we do people a disservice if we claim they were born without any desire for sin. People choose goodness; everyone has their struggles. The impressive people are the ones who are dying to sin and choose to refrain even so.

4 comments:

Erachet said...

I'm not even sure there is such a person out there who has never faltered in some way. Nobody is perfect. Even someone who appears saintly is struggling inside over something.

dman said...

In the books of Artscroll one sometimes finds such perfect people....

The Talmid said...

see Rambam, Shmona Prakim perek 6

elaborated on by R' Ahron Soloveichik in "The Warmth & The Light," Parshas Mikeitz

Anonymous said...

of course one must guard against the sentiment (I heard from someone over pesach) - so why shouldn't I enjoy myself in HS and then go to Israel and get frum(especially since if i do tshuva mahava my prior sins will become like mitzvot)?
ckvs
joel rich