[Avodah] aseih docheh lo taaseh

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Aug 30 12:24:26 PDT 2021

On Sat, Aug 21, 2021 at 02:48:42AM -0400, cantorwolberg via Avodah wrote:
>> I think that it is because we cannot know what the world needs, or
>> what we ourselves need, that the mishnah tells us to be as cautious of
>> mitzvos qalos as we are of chamuros....

> A true kleptomaniac would not logically receive onesh for stealing.
> I, on the other hand, who has not an ounce of desire to steal should
> not receive s'char for not stealing because it was never the slightest
> temptation for me.

What you describe sounds like Rav Dessler's notion of the nequdas
habechirah (tr. R Aryeh Carmell):

    When two armies are locked in battle, fighting takes place only at
    the battlefront. Territory behind the lines of one army is under that
    army's control and little or no resistance need be expected there. A
    similar situation prevails in respect of territory behind the lines
    of the other army. If one side gains a victory at the front and pushes
    the enemy back, the position of the battlefront will have changed. In
    fact, therefore, fighting takes place only at one location.

He writes that bechirah chofshi is similar:

    Free will is exercised and a valid choice made only on the borderline
    between the forces of good and the forces of evil within that person.

And to throw in a particularly Elul-appropriate snippet:

    With each good choice successfully carried out, the person rises
    higher in spiritual level; that is, things that were previously in
    the line of battle are now in the area controlled by the yetzer hatov
    and actions done in that area can be undertaken without struggle
    and without bechira. And so in the other direction. Giving in to the
    yetzer hara pushes back the frontier of the good, and an act which
    previously cost one a struggle with one's conscience will now be
    done without bechira at all.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 We look forward to the time
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   when the power to love
Author: Widen Your Tent      will replace the love of power.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF              - William Ewart Gladstone

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