Feb 21, 2011

How Much Is It Worth To You?

A teacher asked his students: Would you accept a million dollars in exchange for not wearing tefillin for a day?

Most people's gut reaction is - no way!

(You can substitute a mitzva that elicits that reaction for you and you can make it ten million dollars).

The teacher then went on to say, if you wouldn't sell the mitzva for a million dollars, why don't you treat the mitzva as something worth a million dollars?

It's food for thought.  If you think about it long enough you might start wondering - well, maybe it is worth giving up the mitzva of tefillin for a day in exchange for millions of dollars.  Think about how many mitzvos one can do with that money! There are halachos about precedence in mitzvos.  But somehow it seems that's the Yetzer Hara talking.  I don't know.  If the opportunity arises, maybe it's a question for a rav (or maybe the very question shows we don't value the mitzva we are willing to sell). 

Until then, we can think about how valuable mitzvos are to us.

Feb 1, 2011

Taking My Emotional Temperature

There is a line in a hit song from the 70's that goes like this, "It can't be wrong when it feels so right."  I came across this line yesterday and thought, things have only gone downhill in the intervening decades.  Have you noticed? People are very invested in their feelings and some of them have this bizarre idea that if they feel a certain way, this somehow has the validity of objective truth. 

They feel the reverse too, that "it can't be right if it feels so wrong."  Is that true? Are our feelings the arbiter of morality, of right and wrong, of what G-d wants of us? Are so so intuitive that are gut feelings are always correct? Are we such holy people that our every thought and emotion is in sync with the will of G-d? Not me ... I need an objective way of knowing whether something is right or wrong for the Yetzer Hara is great at convincing us that good things don't feel right.