"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Monday, December 15, 2008

An excuse is emes lo

One type of person is filled with excuses, and is really convinced that they’re true. He does what he likes, and then explains with a totally straight face why he wasn’t to blame, or that what he did was “not so terrible,” or wasn’t wrong in the first place. This inability to admit wrongdoing, to face up to imperfection, to allow one’s fallibility to become known, stems from arrogance.

However, one who is humble is honest with himself. He doesn’t pretend to be perfect when he knows that he is very far from it. He makes no excuses for his failures. He doesn’t fool himself into thinking that his actions or inactions are justifiable, and he doesn’t try to fool others either. He can admit that he has free choice and full control over his actions, for “nothing stands in the way of willpower”; “if one said I exerted effort but I did not find, do not believe him”; and “I [
Hashem] only ask of them [the Jewish people] according to their ability.”

This acknowledgment is the key to change. “Knowing the sickness is half the cure” (cf.
Sefer HaSichos 5703 p. 18). The person must fully accept that he did wrong, that his actions or inactions are inexcusable; conversely, he must know that it is always possible to do Teshuvah, repentance. Then he is able and motivated to rectify this situation.

The same goes for being a
chossid. The Rebbe has issued many hora’os, instructions, to his Chassidim. We refer to the Rebbe as adoneinu, our master. If one’s identity as a chossid is to be meaningful, the chossid must obey his Rebbe. Thus, those who are serious about their relationship with the Rebbe and their identity as chassidim will make it their business to fulfill the Rebbe’s hora’os despite inconvenience, difficulty, and even personal sacrifice.

However, those who are not serious will wear the
levush (the distinctive garments of a chossid) and follow some customs, but neglect the areas that they find difficult and demanding, and cover up their weakness with an elaborate repertoire of sophisticated excuses and defense mechanisms.

One may have the best excuses in the world, but excuses do not make one a
chossid. “Inability to perform an act due to circumstances beyond one’s control are not considered like an action” (Yerushalmi Kiddushin, 3:2). One becomes a chossid through action.

The Hebrew word for excuse,
amaslo, is short for emes lo—not the truth. If we seek a true relationship with Hashem, we must be humble enough to remove the word excuse from our vocabulary, and then start doing.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 1, p. 129 ff.


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