web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Things I Do And Things I Don’t


The-Shmuz

“You shall salt every meal offering with salt; you may not discontinue the salt of [Hashem’s] covenant from your meal offering; on your every offering you shall offer salt.” – Vayikra 2:13

The Dos Zakainim explains that the reason every korban must be brought with salt is to remind us that just as salt is a preservative that allows food to last longer, so too the sacrifices are permanently ours to cleanse us from our sins.

He then explains why this concept is crucial. If a man sins and gains atonement from that sin, he is clean and will be guarded against committing the sin again. However, if he couldn’t become purified, once he sinned he would repeat the act over and over again. It can be compared to a man with a beautiful white garment. When he first puts it on, he is careful to maintain its pristine condition. Once his garment becomes soiled, however, he is no longer careful about avoiding additional stains. So, too, if a man sinned and that sin remained with him, he will continue committing that sin over and over again. This is the concept that “Once a man sins, the sin becomes ‘permitted’ to him.” That is why the Torah gave us the process of teshuvah.

The Sin Is Permitted

This Dos Zakainim seems to be mixing up two divergent concepts. The first is “naseh ko kiheter” – once a man sins, the act becomes “permitted.” We commonly refer to this as rationalization: the ability to distort reality and actually believe it, the uncanny capacity to do something that is forbidden and with a flow of imagination create a credible, “rational lie” that is good enough for me to convince myself that the act is really not taboo.

But this has no connection to the parable of a man with a clean garment. That is a natural tendency. If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful. What connection does that have to rationalization? Rationalization is a completely different concept. It takes a sin and washes it in a coat of white paint so that in my mind’s eye the forbidden becomes permitted. If the sin becomes permitted, then even if my cloak were cleaned from the sin, I would still revisit it since it is, after all, permitted.

The answer to this question is based on a deeper understanding of rationalization.

One of the most difficult parts to understand in all of Creation is how Hashem fashioned man with free will. Free will means the equal ability to choose good or evil. That should be impossible. How do you take man, whose wisdom is greater than that of the angels, and give him free will? Since every mitzvah allows him to grow and every sin damages him, not only should man never sin, he should never even be tempted to sin. Would an intelligent being willfully do something that is self-destructive?

To allow for free will, Hashem implanted into the human a power called imagination. This power allows man to create fanciful scenes and imaginative events and experience them as if they were real. This feature allows man to convince himself of whatever he wishes. As a result, there is no objective truth. There is no standard of measure because man at his whim can create entire theories and systems of logic to justify what he wants – and actually believe them. Now man can just as easily do what is right as what is wrong because he can convince himself it is right. If he desires something, it is no longer a sin. It is no longer damaging to his soul. In fact, it is a mitzvah. Now man has practical free will.

This mechanism is the common form of rationalization – taking a forbidden action and making it permitted. It seems that the Das Zakainim is teaching us that there is another method, one that is far subtler.

The Second Type of Rationalizing

This second form only begins after the sin, after I find myself having done something I never thought I would. I wake up and say, “What came over me?” And then starts the guilt – that voice inside, my holy neshamah gnawing deep within me. And it speaks. “How could you? What’s wrong with you? I’m ashamed of you.” Living with that guilt is very difficult. The easy way out is to make the act permitted – but I’m too smart for that. I know it’s forbidden. If you were to ask me about it, I could quote you chapter and verse about how wrong it is. So now what?

That’s when the second form of rationalization kicks in: “Look, I’m not saying it’s permitted. I certainly not saying it’s a mitzvah – but it’s just one of those things I do. Some Jews wait three hours after meat, some put on their tefillin sitting down, and I eat non-kosher gum. I’m not saying its right, but I do it. But I’m not living in a fantasy world. I know that it’s a sin, but for me, for where I’m coming from, after what I’ve been through – it’s well… you have to understand… it’s OK.”

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Things I Do And Things I Don’t”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Masked Palestinian youth burn tires and throw stones in Joseph's Tomb. (archives)
Arabs Imitate Ancient Greeks and Vandalize Joseph’s Tomb
Latest Judaism Stories
Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

The-Shmuz

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

If a man owns a successful small business, he might do a million dollars a year in sales. But that is the gross revenue, not the amount he takes home.

It almost sounds as if Hashem is saying, “I have to keep Yaakov from getting too comfortable; otherwise he will forget Me. I can’t promise him sustenance because then he won’t need Me. He won’t write. He won’t call. He won’t love Me anymore.”

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

What happened was that Frank Jr. stopped being the little babe looking with love into his father’s eyes, and the relationship took on a very different nature.

Is it possible a man could be standing in a burning building, knowing this life is in danger, and be too lazy to move?

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/things-i-do-and-things-i-dont/2012/03/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: