bums? or finding their own path?

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    Avirah, Atzvus is an avaeirah btw because people can help themselves get out of it ( I’m dodging the bullets here) Now of course I can’t evaluate people’s spiritual medreigas, ( not am I interested in doing so) but generally, if people would appreciate for the gift of life and all the gifts Hashem gave them there would be no depression. It is in this day and age where everyone constantly bemoans there childhood, there spouse, etc. And yes, I do understand commonsaychel’s pov because there are people that literally ruin their own lives through their own actions while giving a gazillion excuses of why they are lazy. Those of us who pushed past the things that held us back understand that with excuses you get nowhere. Of course, a person needs siyatah dishmaya to succeed no matter what effort they put into something, but oftentimes I see incredibly lazy people blaming the predictable results of their own inaction.

    However, when talking about looking down on people I wasn’t talking about frum, depressed people or lazy people, I was talking about OTDs and those who life is one big party with a small dose of Yiddishkeit on the side. Regardless of depression, childhood, etc., etc. there’s no valid reason one can have to reject God’s eternal words that He commanded us to keep. Whatever matzav a Jew is in, he still is obligated to and he still has the capabilities to follow (at least basic) halachas.


    Humbling weighing in with my thoughts.

    We live in a very difficult tekufah. There are nisyonos everywhere.
    So many people are brow-beaten and weary, but while there is life, there is hope.
    Even the people wallowing in the worst of averos have the gates of teshuvah ready and waiting to open for them. Sometimes people have to hit rock bottom before they can begin climbing up.

    That said, such people need to be treated with love and patience, but there is a very fine line between caring for them and exposing one’s own family and loved ones to them. There’s a time and place to cut off contact for the safety of others. Such things should be discussed with a competent Rav.

    Finally, I want to say that the Tanach clearly illustrates that Hashem has been moving through the world, searching for people who want Him. Those who adamantly don’t want to do teshuvah and serve properly, well, they are lost to history. Any intentionally perverted worship of Hashem leads to destruction. Look at the Tzadokim, the Karaites, the early followers of Yoshke, the Shabtsai Tvists, etc. This is also happening with the reform and conservative moments; they are fading into the surrounding societies, disappearing.

    Bottom line: A yid has the ability to do teshuvah no matter how far he has gone — if he wants to.
    If he doesn’t, pity on him.


    Avira, of course there’s always improvements that are needed in a “system” in this case moisdois, communities, etc.however, overall, certainly in the communities that I know about, there are hundreds of thousands of wonderful, ehrlicha people who come out from this “system”.

    That people were turned “off” is not an excuse. Do you know how many murderers and people who turn to crime use the excuse that they were bullied? It’s not an excuse to go and murder others. The fact of life is that no person is perfect and no system is perfect and no one cannot turn “off” because of it.

    I am totally against the over-stuffing of knowledge in frum schools without REALLY TEACHING what our purpose and goals in life should be according to the Torah. Kids should be taught how we need a kesher with Hashem, not have a hollow, materialistic based Jewish life.

    At the age of 12 and 13 Jews are responsible for their actions. It is from those ages where people start becoming who they are as adults.

    I’m not going to judge anyone for their actions, I have to judge my own. However, people’s lifestyles and actions cause people to form opinions of them. Imagine a frum person who is CONSTANTLY, everyday, rude to others, particularly non-Jews or not religious Jews ( as some are not so bothered when such behavior is exhibited towards other frum Jews but when it’s towards non-Jewish or non-religious people it’s unforgivable). Imagine if this person is loud, rude, throws wrappers on the ground after eating in the street, etc.What kind of opinion would you have of such a person? I’m sure you would hold highly of such a person, no? Well, I wouldn’t and I bet all the people here defending OTDs and screaming that you have to love them would also not hold too highly of a person who is always rude and uncouth. They may write that you have to be Dan l’kaf zchus it’s not so but in real life, would they see a person throwing garbage on the ground or act in a demeaning way toward others would definitely be angry about such behavior. But yet when it comes to people rebelling against Hashem’s Torah and rejecting it, all of a sudden so many are understanding and accepting and loving and excuse such behavior when Yidden in previous doiros sanctified their lives for Hashem and His Torah!


    I’ll take Avira’s disdain for those philosophies that believe you can throw off the yoke of Torah and Mitzvos, any day, over commonseichel’s disdain for Bnei Torah, Talmidei Chachomim, Rabbonim and anyone he considers to be too farfrumpt.


    @phil, Thanks for spelling out for him


    Philosopher; atzvus is a bad middah in general, but no rosh yeshiva or mashgiach will tell a bochur with depression that it’s his fault and that all would be solved if he had proper hakaras hatov and other necessary hashkofos. Most poskim do not hold that middos are in themselves sinful, barring perhaps gaavah (the very middah which leads one to feel better than someone else)

    Mental health is real, and has its own set of chochma – see the steipler’s “aitzos vehadrachos”, as well as the gamut of chassidishe seforim that deal with mareh shechorah…they never tell the person that it’s their fault and that they’re being sinful in their misery, because that’s a great way to ensure that they stay depressed!

    I totally agree with your description of many people who scream to be dan lechaf zchus on people… except when it’s things that bother them, like bad middos, or “bottom feeders”. From that we can see that they don’t truly believe in being dan lechaf zchus, but rather are using it as a defective tool to avoid criticizing people and practices that they themselves deep down believe are acceptable on some level. Chazal say this openly in meseches megilah 6b, “if someone tells you not to oppose the evil doers…one whose heart desires it says so”

    I never advocated wholesale diyun lechaf zchus. I merely am saying that we can never know who is “bettee” on an individual level. We can know that theoretically, a person who does more mitzvos is better than someone who does less, but the rambam says that this cheshbon is only known to Hashem, because it’s qualitative and not quantitative. We never know someone’s nisyonos and kochos. It could be that given my kochos, I’m just as bad as someone who does bigger aveiros, because maybe I’m able to be a gadol beyisroel, and this person understands much less and has a pekel etc..

    I’m not chas veshalom justifying going OTD because someone has had shverkeiten. There seems to be two schools of popular thougt.

    A. People are held accountable for their actions and the minimum they must do is entirely their fault. No exceptions, no excuses – din is din and Hashem would not give someone a mitzvah they can’t do.
    B. You can’t blame people who have had trauma or bad experiences for going off the derech; Hashem “understands” and they’re nebach, but still good people.

    My way is totally different. The Ohr Somayach writes that every mitzvah has a minimum that every jew, no matter what emotional state they are dealt (his words) can accomplish. It’s true that “there’s no excuse”, however the rambam also writes that the punishment for one who sinned because of great challenge from the yatzer hora is totally different than that of a wanton sinner.

    Hashem will definitely judge everyone who sins, for every sin…kol haomer HKBH vatran yivasru chayav…. however the extent to which he is punished varies astronomically from person to person. One person eats treif because looking at kosher labels makes him have a panic attack, and another because it tastes good. Both will have to answer for their misdeeds, but on completely different levels.

    For this reason we cannot know who is better than anyone else.


    Also, while beis din on earth punishes for 12/13, beis din in shomayim only judges at 20


    Tanya Perek Lamed Bais:
    וְהִנֵּה, עַל יְדֵי קִיּוּם הַדְּבָרִים הַנִּזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל, לִהְיוֹת גּוּפוֹ נִבְזֶה וְנִמְאָס בְּעֵינָיו, רַק שִׂמְחָתוֹ תִּהְיֶה שִׂמְחַת הַנֶּפֶשׁ לְבַדָּהּ,

    הֲרֵי זוֹ דֶּרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה וְקַלָּה לָבֹא לִידֵי קִיּוּם מִצְוַת “וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ” לְכָל נֶפֶשׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל – לְמִגָּדוֹל וְעַד קָטָן.

    כִּי מֵאַחַר שֶׁגּוּפוֹ נִמְאָס וּמְתוֹעָב אֶצְלוֹ, וְהַנֶּפֶשׁ וְהָרוּחַ מִי יוֹדֵעַ גְּדוּלָּתָן וּמַעֲלָתָן בְּשָׁרְשָׁן וּמְקוֹרָן בֵּאלֹקִים חַיִּים.

    בְּשֶׁגַּם שֶׁכּוּלָּן מַתְאִימוֹת, וְאָב אֶחָד לְכוּלָּנָה,

    וְלָכֵן נִקְרְאוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל “אַחִים” מַמָּשׁ, מִצַּד שׁוֹרֶשׁ נַפְשָׁם בַּה’ אֶחָד

    רַק שֶׁהַגּוּפִים מְחוּלָּקִים.

    וְלָכֵן, הָעוֹשִׂים גּוּפָם עִיקָּר וְנַפְשָׁם טְפֵלָה – אִי אֶפְשָׁר לִהְיוֹת אַהֲבָה וְאַחֲוָה אֲמִיתִּית בֵּינֵיהֶם, אֶלָּא הַתְּלוּיָה בְדָבָר לְבַדָּהּ.

    וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הִלֵּל הַזָּקֵן עַל קִיּוּם מִצְוָה זוֹ: “זֶהוּ כָּל הַתּוֹרָה כוּלָּהּ, וְאִידָךְ פֵּירוּשָׁא הוּא כוּ'”.

    כִּי יְסוֹד וְשׁוֹרֶשׁ כָּל הַתּוֹרָה – הוּא לְהַגְבִּיהַּ וּלְהַעֲלוֹת הַנֶּפֶשׁ עַל הַגּוּף מַעְלָה מַּעְלָה עַד עִיקָּרָא וְשָׁרְשָׁא דְּכָל עָלְמִין

    וְגַם, לְהַמְשִׁיךְ אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בִּכְנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר לְקַמָּן, דְּהַיְינוּ, בִּמְקוֹר נִשְׁמוֹת כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְמֶהֱוֵי אֶחָד בְּאֶחָד דַּוְקָא,

    וְלֹא כְּשֶׁיֵּשׁ פֵּירוּד חַס וְשָׁלוֹם בַּנְּשָׁמוֹת, דְּ”קוּדְשָׁא־בְּרִיךְ־הוּא לָא שַׁרְיָא בַּאֲתַר פְּגִים”,

    וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים: “בָּרְכֵנוּ אָבִינוּ כּוּלָּנוּ כְּאֶחָד בְּאוֹר פָּנֶיךָ”, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר בַּאֲרִיכוּת:

    וּמַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בַּגְּמָרָא, שֶׁמִּי שֶׁרוֹאֶה בַּחֲבֵירוֹ שֶׁחָטָא – מִצְוָה לִשְׂנֹאותוֹ, וְגַם לוֹמַר לְרַבּוֹ שֶׁיִּשְׂנָאֵהוּ.

    הַיְינוּ – בַּחֲבֵירוֹ בְּתוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת,

    וּכְבָר קִיֵּים בּוֹ מִצְוַת “הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת עֲמִיתֶךָ” – עַם שֶׁאִתְּךָ בְּתוֹרָה וּבְמִצְוֹת, וְאַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן לֹא שָׁב מֵחֶטְאוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר חֲרֵדִים.

    אֲבָל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ חֲבֵירוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מְקוֹרָב אֶצְלוֹ,

    הִנֵּה עַל זֶה אָמַר הִלֵּל הַזָּקֵן: “הֱוֵי מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַהֲרֹן, אוֹהֵב שָׁלוֹם וְכוּ’, אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וּמְקָרְבָן לַתּוֹרָה”.

    לוֹמַר, שֶׁאַף הָרְחוֹקִים מִתּוֹרַת ה’ וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ, וְלָכֵן נִקְרָאִים בְּשֵׁם “בְּרִיּוֹת” בְּעָלְמָא – צָרִיךְ לְמָשְׁכָן בְּחַבְלֵי עֲבוֹתוֹת אַהֲבָה,

    וְכוּלֵּי הַאי וְאוּלַי יוּכַל לְקָרְבָן לְתוֹרָה וַעֲבוֹדַת ה’;

    וְהֵן לָא – לֹא הִפְסִיד שְׂכַר מִצְוַת אַהֲבַת רֵיעִים.

    וְגַם הַמְקוֹרָבִים אֵלָיו וְהוֹכִיחָם וְלֹא שָׁבוּ מֵעֲוֹנוֹתֵיהֶם שֶׁמִּצְוָה לִשְׂנֹאותָם – מִצְוָה לְאָהֳבָם גַּם כֵּן.

    וּשְׁתֵּיהֶן הֵן אֱמֶת: שִׂנְאָה – מִצַּד הָרָע שֶׁבָּהֶם, וְאַהֲבָה – מִצַּד בְּחִינַת הַטּוֹב הַגָּנוּז שֶׁבָּהֶם, שֶׁהוּא נִיצוֹץ אֱלֹקוּת שֶׁבְּתוֹכָם הַמְחַיֶּה נַפְשָׁם הָאֱלֹקִית.

    וְגַם, לְעוֹרֵר רַחֲמִים בְּלִבּוֹ עָלֶיהָ, כִּי הִיא בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת בְּתוֹךְ הָרָע מִסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא הַגּוֹבֵר עָלֶיהָ בָּרְשָׁעִים,

    וְהָרַחֲמָנוּת – מְבַטֶּלֶת הַשִּׂנְאָה וּמְעוֹרֶרֶת הָאַהֲבָה, כַּנּוֹדָע מִמַּה שֶּׁכָּתוּב: לְ”יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר פָּדָה אֶת אַבְרָהָם”

    [וְלֹא אָמַר דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם: “תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים וְגוֹ'”, אֶלָּא עַל הַמִּינִים וְהָאֶפִּיקוֹרְסִים, שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק בֵּאלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל,

    כִּדְאִיתָא בַּגְּמָרָא רֵישׁ פֶּרֶק ט”ז דְּשַׁבָּת]:


    In english:

    Acting on the advice mentioned above—to view one’s body with scorn and contempt and to find joy in the joy of the soul alone—

    is a direct and easy path toward fulfilling the mitzvah, “You shall love your fellow as yourself,”1 with regard to every Jew both great and small—in spiritual stature.

    Since his body is despised and loathsome, he will not love himself on account of his body more than he loves his fellow, and as for the soul and spirit, the differences between his own soul and that of his fellow surely will not diminish the love between them, for who can know their (the soul and spirit’s) greatness and excellence in their source and root—the living G‑d?

    How, then, can one claim that his soul is superior to his fellow’s?

    Furthermore, they are actually all equal,2 and not only equal yet separate, but, furthermore, they all have one father—one source, and within their source, they all comprise one entity.

    It is on account of this common root in the One G‑d that all of Israel are called “brothers”—in the full sense of the word, and not only figuratively, in the sense of “relatives” or “similar in appearance” and the like;3

    only the bodies are distinct from each other.

    This explains how it is at all possible to demand that one love his fellow as he loves himself. Self-love is innate, natural to man; love for one’s fellow is not. How can a generated love match a natural one?

    According to the principle stated here, this is readily understood. One Jew need not create a love for another. The love is an inborn characteristic of his soul on account of its root in G‑dliness which is common to all souls; it is as natural as the love between brothers.

    Therefore, there can be no true love and fraternity between those who regard their bodies as primary and their souls secondary but only a love based on an external factor.

    Since the body separates us from each other, whereas the soul is that which binds us together, the greater value one places on his body at the expense of his soul, the more conscious he is of the differences between himself and his fellow. These differences require that he create a love for his fellow, and, as said above, a created love can never equal a natural, innate love. Therefore, love between people who consider their bodies as primarily important must be only a love based on some external factor, in which case the love is (a) limited to the importance of the motivating factor and (b) destined to endure only as long as that factor is valid.

    This explains Hillel the Elder’s statement concerning the fulfillment of this mitzvah: “This is the entire Torah; the rest is but commentary.”4

    For the basis and root purpose of the entire Torah is to elevate and exalt the soul high above the body to [G‑d], the source and root of all worlds,

    and also to draw down the infinite light of the Ein Sof into the Community of Israel—as will be explained further,5 meaning into the fountainhead of the souls of all Israel, so that “the One [G‑d] will reside within [Israel—but only insofar as they are] one,” i.e., united.

    But this indwelling of the light of the Ein Sof in the Community of Israel is impossible if there is disunity between the souls, G‑d forbid, for “G‑d does not dwell in an imperfect, fragmented place.”6

    So do we say in our prayers: “Bless us, our Father, all as one with the light of Your Countenance,”7 indicating that “the light of G‑d’s Countenance” can be revealed only when we are united “all as one,” as explained elsewhere at length.

    As for the Talmudic statement8 that if one sees his friend sinning, he should hate him, and should also relate the fact to his teacher so that he too will hate him—how does this conform with what was said above?

    This applies only to one’s companion—one’s equal—in the study of Torah and the observance of the mitzvot.

    The sinner in question is a Torah-observant scholar but has lapsed in this one instance. In this case, his sin is much more severe than usual, since it is written that even the inadvertent misdeeds of a scholar are as grave as deliberate sins.9 But even this general assumption of the gravity of his conduct is not sufficient cause to hate him, as the Alter Rebbe continues. Yet another condition must first be satisfied:

    He has also fulfilled with him—with the sinner—the injunction, “You shall repeatedly rebuke your friend.”10 The word used here for “your friend” (עֲמִיתֶךָ) also indicates, as the Talmud points out, עַם שֶׁאִתְּךָ—“he who is on a par with you in the Torah and the mitzvot,”11 who, nevertheless, has not repented of his sin, as it is written in Sefer Charedim.

    At this point, there is no need to exaggerate the gravity of his sin: it is clearly a deliberate transgression.

    But as to one who is not his companion—his equal—in the Torah and the mitzvot so that (as our Sages say concerning the ignorant in general) even his deliberate transgressions are regarded as inadvertent acts, since he is unaware of the gravity of sin, nor is he on intimate terms with him,—not only is one not enjoined to hate him, on the contrary, he must, in fact, strive to become closer to him, as the Alter Rebbe states shortly.

    To hate such a sinner is surely unjustifiable, since no sin that he commits is considered deliberate. There is also no reason to keep one’s distance from him out of fear that he will learn from his evil ways (in fulfillment of the exhortation of the Mishnah, “Do not fraternize with a wicked man”), since he is not on close personal terms with him in any case.

    Therefore, on the contrary: Of this situation, Hillel said, “Be one of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving creatures and drawing them near to the Torah.”12

    This usage of the term “creatures” in reference to human beings means that even those who are far from G‑d’s Torah and His service, for which reason they are classified simply as “creatures”—indicating that the fact that they are G‑d’s creations is their sole virtue—even those, one must attract with strong cords of love.

    Perhaps thereby one will be able, after all, to draw them close to the Torah and the service of G‑d.

    And even if one fails in this, he has not forfeited the merit of the mitzvah of neighborly love, which he has fulfilled by his efforts in this direction.

    Furthermore, even those whom one is enjoined to hate—for they are close to him, and he has rebuked them, but they still have not repented of their sins—one is obliged to love them too.

    But is it possible to love a person and hate him at the same time? The Alter Rebbe explains that since the love and the hatred stem from two different causes, they do not conflict.

    And both the love and the hatred are truthful emotions in this case, [since] the hatred is on account of the evil within them, while the love is on account of the good hidden in them, which is the divine spark within them that animates their divine soul. For this spark of G‑dliness is present even in the most wicked of one’s fellow Jews; it is merely hidden.

    One may now be faced with the anomaly of a fellow Jew whom he must both love and hate. But what attitude should he adopt toward the person as a whole who possesses both these aspects of good and evil? When, for example, the sinner requests a favor of him, should his hatred dictate his response or his love?

    The Alter Rebbe goes on to say that one’s relationship with the sinner as a whole should be guided by love. By arousing one’s compassion for him, one restricts one’s own hatred so that it is directed solely at the evil within the sinner, not at the person himself.

    One must also arouse compassion on [the divine soul of the sinner], for in the case of the wicked, it is in exile within the evil of the sitra achara, which dominates it.

    Compassion banishes hatred and arouses love, as is known from the verse, “Jacob, who redeemed Abraham.”13

    “Jacob” represents compassion and “Abraham” love. When “Abraham,” love, must be “redeemed,” i.e., brought out of concealment, it is “Jacob,” compassion, that accomplishes this redemption for as said, compassion banishes hatred and arouses love.

    (14As for the statement by King David, peace upon him: “I hate them with a consummate hatred,”15 reserving no love for them whatsoever; this refers only to [Jewish] heretics and atheists who have no part in the G‑d of Israel,

    as stated in the Talmud, beginning of ch. 16 of Tractate Shabbat.)

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