September 2, 2012 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #604753
My mother was discharged from the hospital today. When she left, she left behind her phone book, which is very important to her (it has all the numbers of her many friends and relatives… it would be impossible for her to reconstruct it by memory). She asked me if I would be willing to get it for her. I said I would and I did.
However, in the process of seemingly doing a mitzvah, I ruined it by performing many aveiros and, perhaps, never even accomplished the mitzvah itself in the first place.
Let’s start at the top… when I agreed to retrieve her phone book, I did not do it because there is a commandment called “Kibbud Av V’Aim.” I did it because she is my mother, I love her, and I would do anything within the realm of the possible and feasible for her. She went well and above the call of duty in putting up with me growing up, so going above and beyond the call of duty (which this task wasn’t) for her only seems like the right thing to do. Even if she didn’t go above-and-beyond for me, I still happen to love her dearly and would therefore do whatever I can for her. But the point is that I am *not* doing it for the mitzvah. Truth be told, until I began to think this out (on the way home), the thought that it was a mitzvah barely entered my head. So, since I was doing it specifically not because it was a mitzvah, I probably did not actually do it at all — it’s akin to someone who sends away the mother bird because he feels pity for it — that’s not the mitzvah. Doing something for your parents because you love them is not the mitzvah — doing it because God commanded it is — and I did not do that.
When I arrived at the hospital, I had to talk with a security guard, who was a woman to get into the building. As has been pointed out on these boards before, one should not talk to women — if a simple “Good Shabbos” is forbidden, then certainly an extended explanation of why I wanted to enter the building is forbidden. I probably should have waited around for a male security guard to come on duty. But I didn’t do that, and so that, too, was a sin.
When I got to her room, her roommate said “hello” to me. I should have simply ignored her (see above), but did not do so. I even wished her a “good afternoon” and “I hope you’re feeling better soon.” Certainly that’s a violation of the rule of talking to women as well as a violation of “Lo Sechaneim” (as she was not Jewish).
When I dropped the phone book off at Mom’s house, I asked her how she was doing. As per Even HaEzer 21:6, one is not allowed to ask about the welfare of a woman (you *can* ask through her husband, but as she has no husband, it should have just been forbidden). Yet, in complete disregard of the Shulchan Aruch, I asked her how she was feeling.
On the way home, I met a friend of mine who was walking with his son. They had just gone to the seforim store to get seforim for him for the school year. We engaged in friendly chatter for a few minutes, catching up on each other’s lives. However, after I left, I realized that, if they had just bought seforim, they were probably on their way to learn together. As a result, I was responsible for the bittul Torah that occurred while we talked. I should have just avoided them altogether and let them go on their way.
Furthermore, during the walk, I was listening on my Iphone to classical music, something that is certainly forbidden. And, to top it all off, there is the fact that I was not wearing a hat, jacket or white shirt, which is the proper clothing for a person to wear. Since that’s not the way HKBH wants me to dress, that constitutes a Chillul HaShem, the worst of all sins.
So, in the end, not only did I not do the mitzvah, but I also performed all manner of sins — talking to women, asking forbidden women about their welfare, Lo Sechaneim, bittul Torah, listening to forbidden music and Chillul HaShem (and probably half a dozen other things I couldn’t think of).
And people wonder why I think I’m the worst excuse for a human being on the face of the planet. In truth, if the community had any sense of decency, they would storm my house and string me from the nearest tree in righteous outrage.
The WolfSeptember 2, 2012 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm #913865icedMember
Anyone can become a baal teshuva. There is always hope for a better tommorow.September 2, 2012 8:47 pm at 8:47 pm #913866on the ballParticipant
You also forgot that by doing all of the above you caused a waste of your own time posting this and other’s time in reading it.September 2, 2012 8:56 pm at 8:56 pm #913867ChanieEParticipantSeptember 2, 2012 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #913868MammeleParticipant
I can only echo what Health said (on another thread) stop with the self depreciating comments.
Furthermore, Judaism is not an absolutist religion in every aspect like you wrongly make it seem. We have what is alluded to as the fifth shulchan aruch, aka common sense.
Also, if you actually want to improve, I think loshan hora against oneself is prohibited.September 2, 2012 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm #913869The_Cool_JewMember
The Wolf — +1!September 2, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm #913870
Wolf, actually, you fulfilled the mitzvah at its highest level. Doing a mitzvah without feeling, and only because G-d told you to do it, is NOT AT ALL what we should be striving for. We should do it because we truly FEEL it. G-d wants us to love fulfilling His commandments, and the truest form of that love is attained when we understand and appreciate the reasons behind the commandments. Not when we are simply told to do them, without thinking. When you are able to fulfill a mitzvah simply out of your basic sense of proper conduct, and not only because it is a commandment, you have attained that high level. G-d wants it to become second nature. We should all fulfill Kibud Av V’em the way you do.September 2, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #913871SayIDidIt™Participant
The Wolf: And after all that, you went online and posted on a chat room!! You RELLY are a BIG Rasha!!!
SiDi™September 2, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm #913872brotherofursParticipant
I don’t agree middlepath. I think it’s a much higher level to do a mitzvah because Hashem told you, even before learning the ‘reason’. And i don;t think Hashem waants it to become second nature because i just learned that one of Rabbi Miller’s 10 steps to greatness is: to think in your head b4 u do a mitzvah that you’re accustomed to doing (ex. netilat yadayim)
“I am doing this because Hashem asked me to and i love Him and want to get close to Him by listening”
Mitzvot should NOT become habit, if they do then you wont be fullfilling the main purpose of mitzvot which is to get you close to Hashem! it will just be second nature and won’t help with your connection to HashemSeptember 2, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm #913873mobicoParticipant
Someone I know told me that when he first moved to Rechavya many, many years ago, his wife told him that all of the men ignored her in the street. Except for one, who always greeted her with a cheery “Boker Tov”. After a couple of weeks, she pointed the anomaly to her husband when they spotted him in the street. It was R’ Shlomo Zalman Aurbach! And he was, presumably, wasting his own Torah time as well. And so I must conclude that Klal Yisrael needs more Resha’im like the Wolf!September 3, 2012 1:33 am at 1:33 am #913874
brotherofurs, I appreciate your post, and I understand where you are coming from. I am very aware of such an opinion, and I have asked many people about it, which is how I came to what I said. Clearly, doing a mitzvah solely because G-d commanded us to do so is a level in itself. However, it is not the same as FEELING the mitzvah. There is a difference between doing things by rote and doing things with true understanding and feeling, which is a distinction I didn’t make in my last post.
Doing a mitzvah by rote would be an example like you gave, like putting on tefillin without thinking about it. Let’s analyze that mitzvah: Is there a logical reason we put on tefillin? Something about it that makes complete sense to us? I don’t think so. We do it because G-d said we should. Perhaps there is something mysteriously holy about it which is beyond our understanding. But we do it anyway. Such a mitzvah is a borderline “Chok”, a mitzvah which we don’t understand. Now, for such a mitzvah, the reason we do it is because G-d said we should.
However, there are many, many mitzvos in the Torah that DO make sense to us. Like Wolf’s example, honoring your parents. Other examples would be returning a lost object, loving your neighbor, giving charity, etc. Those are things we fully understand WHY G-d wants us to fulfill. It is because the Torah is a guide for how we should ideally treat people, and that is something morally correct. It makes sense to us. For THOSE mitzvos, doing them without feeling, solely because G-d said we should, is VERY VERY much lacking. On an ideal level, we would want to fulfill those commandments because we understand that they make us better people, they give the beneficiaries happiness, and that is TRULY emulating G-d. Because G-d is only kindness, and He bestows kindness upon us all the time. Why does He do that? Because it is right. It is good. So too, we should bestow kindness on others in order to emulate G-d. NOT simply because He said we should. I hope this distinction is clear enough.September 3, 2012 1:50 am at 1:50 am #913875nishtdayngesheftParticipant
It is clear in halacha that if someone has charotah for a mitzvah, it is considered as if he/she had not done the mitzvah at all.September 3, 2012 1:58 am at 1:58 am #913876
I thought the rule was by a Yid who didn’t want to do a mitzvah (but did it), it is still a mitzvah. By a goy, not.September 3, 2012 2:54 am at 2:54 am #913877
It is clear in halacha that if someone has charotah for a mitzvah, it is considered as if he/she had not done the mitzvah at all.
Still putting words in my mouth? Please point out where I said that I had chorotoh or regretted the mitzvah.
I pointed out that I completely messed it up — I never said that I regretted doing what I did for my mother — just merely that, in the process of trying to do good, I messed up as I always.
The WolfSeptember 3, 2012 2:56 am at 2:56 am #913878Sam2Participant
Shein: You have it backwards. By a Jew HKBH counts Machshava as a Ma’aseh, even if he doesn’t get to perform the Mitzvah. By a Goy he has to actually do it. Kavanah for the Mitzvah alone doesn’t count.September 3, 2012 3:00 am at 3:00 am #913879
Thank you.September 3, 2012 3:00 am at 3:00 am #913880yentingyentaParticipant
Wolf, “My mother was discharged from the hospital today”
Refuah Shelaima to your mother. May she have a quick and speedy recovery.September 3, 2012 3:33 am at 3:33 am #913881
Refuah Shelaima to your mother. May she have a quick and speedy recovery.
Amen. And thank you.
The WolfSeptember 3, 2012 3:35 am at 3:35 am #913882
Sam: Also, am I correct in recalling that if a Yid regrets doing a mitzvah, he doesn’t lose it; whereas a Goy does lose it due to regret?September 3, 2012 3:38 am at 3:38 am #913883
Also, am I correct in recalling that if a Yid regrets doing a mitzvah, he doesn’t lose it
nishtdayngesheft seems to disagree with you.
The WolfSeptember 3, 2012 3:48 am at 3:48 am #913884Sam2Participant
Shein: No. Both who are “Toheh Al Harishonim” lose all credit. You are probably thinking of the Tosfos (Rosh Hashana 5a if I recall correctly) that says that a Goy who does something Shelo Lishmah (meaning Al M’nas Sheyichyeh B’ni or something like that) doesn’t receive credit for it because presumably he will regret having done the Mitzvah, while a Jew will probably not regret it even if his reason doesn’t come true. (But Pashtus is that this is not a hard and fast rule. Pashtus is that a Goy who does not regret it still receives credit.)September 3, 2012 4:39 am at 4:39 am #913885oomisParticipant
Refuah shelaima. You get the credit for Kibud Em no matter WHY you show the kovod.September 3, 2012 5:26 am at 5:26 am #913886wanderingchanaParticipant
Refuah shleimah to your mom.September 3, 2012 5:49 am at 5:49 am #913887
You get the credit for Kibud Em no matter WHY you show the kovod.
Perhaps, perhaps not. But it doesn’t excuse the other sins I committed in the process. They more than completely destroy any good I might have accomplished (which I doubt was any at all).
The WolfSeptember 3, 2012 6:24 am at 6:24 am #913888MammeleParticipant
Why are you beating a dead horse? (and it’s just an expression, I am NOT comparing you to a horse.)
Please stop. You yourself said the phone book was important to your mom. All things considered, how can you even doubt that you accomplished any good? oops, I fell for it again. You are just pulling our collective legs — now that’s a sin in my book…September 3, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm #913889nishtdayngesheftParticipant
Putting words in others posts again? Did I say you said you had charoto?
But, if we have to parse what you did say, logic would dictate that although you did not have charota that you did it for your mother, you had no intention for the mitzvah. Which you seem to feel is pointless based on the snarky tone of your post. ( Wolf will now say “snarky? What? How can that be?”). So it would appear, from, logic, that there was charoto on the mitzvah, even if you didn’t have charotah for helping your mother.
But this only applies if you think about something logically. If someone’s words and actions are divorced from logic, one cannot make such inferences from their words or actions.September 3, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm #913890ToiParticipant
mp- if a father abandons a son on a doorstep in infancy, and they are reuinted 50 years later when the father is dying and in ned of aid, the son is mechuyav midi’oraysa to help him. kibud av is not taluy in feelings.September 3, 2012 1:11 pm at 1:11 pm #913891Reb NossonMember
I want to congratulate you on the way you went about retrieving the phone book. Truly admirable. You acted like any decent loving child would act. First and foremost, you did the right thing. It was the right thing to do to collect a special item for your dear mother. Simple. You went and did it without any if’s or but’s.
But I struggle with the rest though.
First of all. You did it because you love her AND you can give yourself a high five knowing that you ARE fulfilling kibbud av in the process.
I know that when I do something for my mother or father, I do it because they are my parents, I love them and I have an awareness that I am fulfilling kibbud av.
Know that you are fulfilling kibbud av even if the essence of the mitzvah is not at the forefront of your mind activity. Kibbud av is not like tefilla where your mind activity should be focused on communicating with the Creator. In that case, any thoughts other than those related to prayer may affect the worth of one’s prayer. I don’t believe kibbud av is the same.
I think you are concerned that you have diminished the merit of your mitzvah because you approached it all with the wrong kavana.
Relax. What a great thing you did for your dear mother. By saying that you did not do the mitzvah with the right thoughts you are forgetting the whole emotional aspect associated with caring and loving your parents. It’s like this: You don’t make a declaration of ‘behold I am now going to fulfill the mitzvah of kibbud av by doing so an so…’ In other words, you think that the only thing that should occupy your mind space while carrying out such an admirable act should be the mitzvah alone and not the fact that you dearly love and care for you mother. I assume that’s how you feel you need to be. It’s not. You love your mother. You do it for her and that’s it. Period. And yes, you get the schar for kibbud av.
The importance of the mitzvah and the humanness of loving and caring for your parents are tied up and cannot be separated.
I understand not talking to a woman. I can even understand waiting for a male security guard. But I always understood the issur to be talking excessively to a woman since it may lead to speech that is un – Torah like and inappropriate. I don’t believe that simply explaining to a female security guard your situation would promote forbidden thoughts. You certainly wouldn’t say anything else besides the details surrounding your predicament.
Now as far aswanting to ignore her roommate…You didn’t ignore her because subconsciously you knew that doing so would have been wrong. In fact, ignoring said roommate could have resulted in the roommate feeling embarrassed and chas v’shalom, offended. The fact that you said hello to the roommate indicates you obviously have a moral conscience, which would in turn indicate that you didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the roommate. But honestly, I struggle with how you could even think of ignoring someone in the first place, Jewish or not, who extends a greeting toward you. Is this the world that the Creator wishes for? I would argue that it is the height of unG – dly behavior to flat out ignore someone, regardless of gender.
It happens all the time that we run into people we know. Surely the spirit of Ahavas Yisrael would certainly demand that you wish someone a good day or whatever. It has been recorded that simply wishing someone well could make their day. You are allowed to have a friend and do what friends do like catch up every now and then. There is no crime committed by having a casual chat with a friend you run into on the street. You wanted to avoid them! Is this the right way to behave?
And if I understood you correctly, you asked your mother how she was going. Is this correct?
You say you have committed a chillul Hashem by not dressing the way you believe a Ben Torah should dress. I think that as frum Jews we all set standards for how we should serve Hashem and unfortunately, sometimes we fall short of the expectations we may set for ourselves. Wolfie, were you dressed immodestly? Were you dressed in an offensive manner? I am guessing not. Think of it as not meeting your standards of expectation. Resolve to do better in the future. To think of it as a chillul Hashem is unnecessary. I feel like things need to be put in perspective a bit for you.
What about the tremendous Kiddush Hashem you made by helping you mother out.September 3, 2012 1:32 pm at 1:32 pm #913892147Participant
WolfishMusings:- Are you suggesting that I quit my job, since my manageress & supervisor are both females?
Obviously you don’t even comprehend what you are ranting about. Asking your Mum how she is/was feeling is Derech Eretz of the highest order in compliance with the 5th commandment.
Talking to the patient next to what was you Mum’s bed is a Mitzwah d’Orraisso of “Mah Hu Mevaker Choleh Af Atto Mevaker Choleh” i.e. veHolachto bi’Derochov.
I hope you don’t disgrace yourself by not wishing your Mum “leShono Tovo TiKoseivi ve’Seichseimi”, as well any aunts or female 1st cousins you may have.September 3, 2012 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm #913893PosterMember
WolfishMusings, If you really believe you did so many things wrong and you think you are a rasha based on your actions above, I encourage you to get in touch with an orthodox Rav. You are missing out on the beauty of yiddishkeit, and you are misunderstanding halacha. You are a smart person so it’s a shame to miss out.September 3, 2012 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #913894
I’m not suggesting you do anything. You do as you believe halacha dictates.
As for the other issues, other posters who are far smarter than I am have made it abundantly clear that talking to females is strictly forbidden. Who am I to argue with them?
The WolfSeptember 3, 2012 2:56 pm at 2:56 pm #913895
Toi, your scenario actually brings up the truest explanation for the mitzvah of Kibud Av V’em, which is that of hakaras hatov. One should honor his parents, on a most basic level, because they brought him into this world, and for that, he should show them hakaras hatov by giving them honor. Your case illustrates this point at an ideal level since that is all the father has done for this child. Normally, there are ENDLESS things that parents do for their children that warrant respect and honor. So not only is your case not contrasting what I’ve said, it is actually bringing out the most basic understanding for what Kibud Av V’em really is, and showing how those FEELINGS of hakaras hatov should be there, even if all they’ve done for you is bring you into this world. So yes, one is obligated to do this mitvzah whether he feels it or not. However, the highest form of fulfillment is when he does it with feeling. And welcome back, I haven’t seen you here in a while. I was wondering how you’re doing- http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/toi-hope-everything-is-ok
Wolf, I am sorry I didn’t mention this till now, but I wish your mother a speedy recovery.December 18, 2012 6:13 pm at 6:13 pm #913896BustercrownParticipant
Oy. I cannot believe how many people here did nt catch the glaringly obvious
sarcasm Wolf uses when “bemoaning” his so-called “sins” in treating those strangers with obvious Mentshlichkeit,December 19, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am #913898TheBearIsBackMember
There are better ways to look for attention online. Return to your lair, or get mauled by the Bear!December 19, 2012 2:26 pm at 2:26 pm #913900DaMosheParticipant
I once went to daven Mincha at Rabbi Landau’s shul in Brooklyn. I was looking for a parking spot. I was getting a bit nervous, because it was getting close to shkiah, and I wanted to catch the last minyan.
I finally saw a guy getting into his car to pull out. He pulled out, I pulled in front of the spot, with my turn signal on, and shifted into reverse. Suddenly, a guy comes and zips head-first into the spot. I got out of the car and asked him, “What do you think you’re doing? That was my spot!”
He replied, “It’s almost shkiah, I need to catch the last minyan! Sorry!” and he ran off to the shul.
I’m sure Hashem really appreciated his tefillos that day.
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