Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The Three Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself Before Doing Anything
Rav Mordechai Yosef of Izbitz comments on the pasuk in Parshas Kedoshim (Vayikra 19:3), "אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ, וְאֶת-שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ," "One must fear his mother and father and observe my Sabbaths." He says that each of these three mitzvos (honoring 1) one's mother 2) one's father and 3) keeping Shabbos) refer to three levels of questions one should ask himself before taking on any activity or project that he think will be good for him.
"Honoring Your Mother" refers to asking yourself the question, "Is there anything about what I would like to do that would harm any part of me personally either now or in the future?"
He says that "Honoring Your Father" refers to asking one's self the question, "Is there anything about what I'm about to do which would harm Klal Yisroel, the Jewish people as a whole?"
And the third question, which corresponds to the mitzva of keeping Shabbos, is "Is there anything about what I'm going to do which would contradict Hashem's will?"
The truth is though, says the Izbitzer, that there really isn't anything which would be fine for you personally, but would be bad for Klal Yisroel. This is because each individual Jew is an integral part of Klal Yisroel. And therefore, anything a Jew does which would be bad for Klal Yisroel, would also be bad for him personally since he is also a part of Klal Yisroel, and he will be just as affected as the rest of the nation!
Similarly, there is nothing that would be against the Ratzon Hashem, Hashem's will, which would not concomitantly be harmfull to both Klal Yisroel in general and himself in particular. Since Hashem is the root, from which every branch/individual of Klal Yisroel grows, there can't be anything which would be against Hashem's will which wouldn't negatively affect the whole Jewish people and one's self.
The main thing is to ask one's self these questions before deciding what is going to be good for one's self on all three levels, which are really one.
(Picture courtesy of ryangariepy)
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