†† There was once a rabbi riding on his donkey. He was extremely happy with himself because he had just studied Torah with his teacher. He came upon an extremely ugly man.


†† The man said, "Shalom, Rabbi." Instead of returning his greeting, the rabbi said, "Ignoramus! Aren't you an ugly one? Are all the people of your city so ugly?"The man responded, "I don't know. But why don't you go tell the craftsman that made me, 'That's quite an ugly thing you made.'"


†† Realizing that he had sinned, the rabbi got off his donkey and fell at the man's feet. "I insulted you.Please forgive me.""No. I won't forgive you until go tell the craftsman that made me, 'That's quite an ugly thing you made.'"


†† Seeking his forgiveness, the rabbi followed the man to his village. The neighbors insisted that he forgive the Rabbi.ďI forgive him for your sakes,Ē the man said, ďProviding he does not make a habit of doing this.Ē1


†† Why didnít the man say, ďProvided he doesnít make such comments again?ĒAccording to the Maharsha2, the man was addressing the root cause. An arrogant attitude accustoms a person to say rude comments.By training oneself to refrain from feelings of arrogance a person will not be inclined to make such comments.


†† G-d has shaped each individual life specifically for that soulís challenges. Each soul is provided with the opportunity to overcome the evil urge and choose G-d.Nothing is good or bad.G-d takes all things into account according to what that soul needs. He has provided the type of family, physical attributes, personality, talents, opportunities, etc as needed.The challenge is not what

G-d gives but what a person does with it.


†† G-d chose some Jews to grow up in an observant family.Trained from childhood, Jewish practices and customs are second nature to them. Like ruts that a wagon follows without effort it is part of who they are.


†† G-d placed others with a less religious family.Without the benefit of early training these practices take effort.The Baal Teshuvah needs to make these practices a part of him. Part of that soulís mission is to follow without the benefit of childhood ruts, to make itís own ruts.Making ruts takes training.Trying over and over until it begins to become second nature.It canít be done all at once.


†† These differences in soul missions can cause friction.Those who grew up frum may not understand why the Baal Teshuvah does not act properly.The Baal Teshuvah must train himself but he must do it at his pace.Work on mitzvoth that are most meaningful and make constant progress.Donít compare oneself to others who are trained from birth.The Baal Teshuvahís mission is different from theirs.

1. Taanit 20a-b

2. Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Edels






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