Have you ever felt an imposed responsibility upon yourself that you didn’t relate to but knew was right?
It’s funny, we live in a world that often tells us to do what we love. If it makes you happy do it, if it doesn’t make you happy, drop it. What you feel is who you are and therefore it must always be right. As long as it makes you happy.. and if it doesn’t make you happy, oh boy. It’s very heart warming to hear. We resonate with it. We resonate with it because it resonates with us and the way we feel, and the way we feel is the reality we most closely experience in life. It’s why those statements so often win our hearts and we allow them to mold our decisions. So why change the way of the world, right?
To categorize these perspectives we can use three titles. Accepting a yoke (aka bittul hayesh), internal change (bittul bemtzius), and freedom to do whatever we wish (fri). Accepting a yoke is, I know this is important, I don’t resonate with it, but I’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do. Internal change is, well i know it’s what I should resonate with it, so I’ll think about it, meditate on it, and develop the right feelings about this thing that I know is right. And freedom to do whatever we wish is just saying, forget the right thing, forget responsibility, forget what’s important, forget my purpose in this world, forget it, let’s indulge and not care all together, and then regret it later.
Now, we all deep down care about what is meant to be cared about truly. If we have a purpose, we care that it be fulfilled. If something is right and important, we want that to be fulfilled, we want to do it well and deal with it the best way possible and we don’t want to mess it up. By definition of it being right and important we know it takes a primary role. Even though it can come as a battle against our desires and evil inclinations, we know that it takes precedence over them, it’s just a matter of if we will win the inner battle. It may be an imposed truth but we know it’s right. It may be the hardest battle we will ever have to face, but we know we have to win it.
Accepting that yoke and acting accordingly is first and foremost, the beginning and a prerequisite to doing the right thing. As it is not realistic to expect we will always feel we want to do what is right naturally. To know it and to do it, we will always be capable of, even when it’s difficult. Yet, it will eventually and maybe even always feel like a huge strain if we don’t take things on to the next step, which is changing ourselves.
To change ourselves to appreciate the things we should appreciate, may not be an easy process but that process will make the difficult things in life easy. It’s known as the long short way. It’s looks like the long way to success, but by going that route it’s actually much shorter. In classidic teachings it’s seen as the ultimate goal we are all trying to achieve. To not only do perfect but to improve my insides to actually be perfect. That a person who doesn’t care, does what’s right is great, but then to change themselves to feel and do what is right is extraordinary.
With that being said, how to we change ourselves? Well by thinking about those truths. In an abbreviated form, it can be called thinking about G-d. Being that these truths and these commandments and obligations all come from G-d ultimately, what do I need? I need to think more about G-d. Like they teach kids in preschool, think about how what you’re doing it hurting johnny and his feelings. Being that people are “I” focused, experiencing ourselves before experiencing others, what do we need in order to resonate with the right things, we have to think about G-d. When it includes things between man and man, we also have to think about Johnny. Meditation on the right things, meditation on G-d, will help us to transform our insides to care about what G-d cares about. When it comes to people, not just to care about what G-d cares about, but to recognize we may be hurting Johnny so to speak. Thoughtful focus, preferably during prayer, can help us slowly achieve that internal change we all need in life. Making G-d more real in our lives through thinking about Him more, will make making the right decisions, and keeping Him involved in them more simple. Thank you for listening, shalom.