Jul 1, 2010

That's A Madreiga ...

It often happens that someone tells an inspiring story or concept and the reaction from the listeners is, "That's a madreiga (spiritual level)," meaning - that's beyond us, that's reserved for great people.

But is this so or is it a cop-out? Is it a genuine protest that this is just not for us, or is it a defense mechanism in which something special - an outlook or an action - is dismissed so we are not obligated to do the same?

Here is how I understand when something is actually a madreiga: Someone is inspired by a story about a doctor who saved a life and decide they want to emulate him.  Can they start practicing medicine then and there? Of course not! They have to go to college, medical school, do an internship, residency ... There are steps (madreigos) needed to achieve the goal.

True, often the inspiring stories and ideas that we hear and read are about extraordinary people who did work step by step in their avodas Hashem, in their davening, on their middos, over the course of many years and consequently achieved great things.  But when we hear these stories we can still think about what we can take from the story, what we can emulate in our less rarified lives.  And today, with the numerous books and magazines and online stories about all sorts of people doing special things, not just tzaddikim and great rebbetzins, we can't really fall back on the ol' madreiga excuse, can we ...

1 comment:

  1. I think that sometimes we become overwhelmed by all the possible opportunities to become better people so we shut down. Then there are situations where we can either rise to the occasion or sink to a level that we will always regret.