Wednesday, May 01, 2013

no hope without hisore'rus

This has nothing to do with this week’s parsha, but I saw it recently and it’s a great hesber, so I’ll write it down now and label it and we’ll remind each other of it in a few months.  Why is it that of all the wrong things the dor hamabul did wrong, the one thing that pushed them over the edge and sealed their fate was the sin of theft?  Was that worse than arayos?  Worse than murder?

What makes people wake up in the morning and get out of bed?  The drive to accomplish.  Every normal person wants to do something with his/her life, whether it be to learn Torah, whether it be to heal patients, whether it be to paint houses or fix cars.  If nothing else, a person wants to make money.  We are all pushed by some force of hisore’rus to do something productive.

A thief is a person who quashes and squanders away that hisore’rus.  He/she would rather take what others have earned than make his/her own efforts to produce or accomplish anything.  What came to my mind was the gemara (Sanhedrin 25) that explains that certain types of gamblers are disqualified from giving eidus because they are not part of “yishuvo shel olam,” they contribute nothing to the world.  Their punishment is midah k’neged midah: They take from others, so Hashem takes something away from them.  What does he take?  Their hisore’rus.

No matter what wrongdoing a person is guilty of, so long as he/she is open to hisore’rus, there is always the possibility of change.  Maybe this will be the morning that person will wake up and respond to a calling to teshuvah and do something positive with their life.  However, if a person is incapable of hearing that voice of hisore’rus, if that has been robbed from him/her just as he/she robbed others, then there is no hope left.  If there is no drive or calling to do anything positive, then change for the better is impossible.  This is why, explain the Shem m’Shmuel, the dor hamabul’s fate was sealed davka by the sin of theft.

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