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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Standard Interim Recommendations

Standard Interim Recommendations

Rabbi Y. Oliver

The Previous Rebbe writes:
One cannot begin treating a patient until the location of the sickness and its root cause have been ascertained. Until then, one can only prescribe proper conduct in general, and instruct the patient to engage in certain practices and avoid others.

Following a schedule for sleeping, eating, drinking, and other aspects of a proper lifestyle will certainly benefit the patient’s health greatly, but will not cure his sickness. For this purpose an individual medicine must be prescribed (in addition to following a healthy lifestyle, as mentioned above).

Moreover, the patient must constantly rouse himself with the desire and yearning to recover, and the intense hope that Hashem will heal him, as it is written, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity” (
Mishlei 18:14).

The same holds true for treating spiritual ailments. It is true that until the exact location of the sickness and its root cause is identified, the person cannot be healed individually. However, it is nonetheless certain that proper conduct will strengthen and elevate him, with the help of Hashem.

This conduct should include:

Doing good
: An organized approach to doing good deeds by performing Mitzvos, fixing times for Torah study, and acquiring good character traits.

Rejecting evil
: Taking care in one’s speech to avoid idle chatter, shutting one’s eyes from seeing evil and blocking one’s ears from hearing wicked speech (cf. Yeshaya 33:15). When discussing the condition of another person, the way that he runs his home, and so on, one must also be vigilant, for praise of another person can often end up in denigrating that person and his home. This may contain a significant amount of the filth of gossip, talebearing, jealousy, hatred, the spreading of malicious lies, and the like.

And yet the above conduct will not be sufficient to cure a person of his illness, as mentioned.

Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 353.
It is true that often a person needs personal advice carefully prescribed to address his individual problems (see here). However, even before he receives this advice, he should not dismiss the value of following certain standard interim recommendations.

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