Friday, May 27, 2011

Be Kind to Your Soul

Rav Chatzkel - Look Inward For The Greatest Chesed

Although doing Chesed [kindness] to oneself is not called Chesed, Rav Chatzkel Levenstein says that the greatest Chesed can be done with one's self. How?

Chesed is helping a person fill his needs. If a rich person became poor we have a much greater obligation towards his needs than to a poor person. The rich person lacks so much and is in terrible pain from the loss. The poor person only lacks a little as his aspirations are quite low.

We can do Chesed with our Neshamos [souls]. Our Neshama is considered a stranger in an extremely strange land - our body. Helping a stranger is Chesed. This Neshama came down from the Kisei HaKavod [Throne of Honor] where it rejoiced in the presence of the Kedusha of Hashem. Now suddenly it finds itself in a cramped body whose every desire runs totally opposed to everything the Neshama craves. The Neshama is trapped and cannot do anything and suffers unbearably.

While surely we'd love to do Chesed for our Neshama, our difficulty is that we cannot fathom how deeply our good or bad deeds affect our Neshama. We project our feelings on it, thinking that the things that make us happy will make it happy as well. Unfortunately that couldn't be further from the truth.

Rav Chatzkel tells a Mashal of a villager who marries the princess. He cannot bring her anything to make her happy for she is the daughter of the King and nothing the villager brings means anything to her. Similarly no worldly pleasures mean anything to our Neshama. Even mitzvos don't satisfy the Neshama for they are mixed with worldly intention and are not the pure fare that the Neshama desires.

Pity your Neshama and do mitzvos and maasim tovim [good deeds]. Give it a small consolation by refraining from bad and doing good. This is a great Chesed that you can do for your soul. After all she is the daughter of the King and He asked you to keep an eye on her. [Midos - Gomel Nafsho Ish Chesed]

Source: Revach L'Neshama

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