middot humility Displaying items by tag: depression
Friday, 25 February 2011 00:00

got a moment?

art-riverbankRabbi Yisrael Salanter took particular pains always to be on time for his lectures. Yet once it had become very late and he had still not made his appearance. Concerned, his students went outside to look for him. When they reached the bridge leading to the city, they noticed him standing deep in conversation with a young woman. They understood that he was occupied with some grave matter and withdrew.

When he finally entered the Yeshivah, R. Israel apologized for being so late, but explained that a matter of life and death had detained him. The students subsequently investigated and finally the details of the incident were pieced together: On his way to the Bet Midrash, he was about to cross the bridge when he suddenly noticed an excited woman rushing towards the river. He stood in her way, stopped her and asked her why she was running. She tried to pass by him and told him to leave her alone. R. Israel grasped her by the sleeve and repeated his request that she tell him what was the matter. Forced to remain where she was, she unfolded her tale of woe.

A short while ago her two children were taken ill, and had died a few days later. So overcome with grief was her husband that he had been unable to work for the past several weeks. They had been forced to hire someone else to drive their wagon, and in this way managed to subsist and cover the costs of the husband's illness. Suddenly the horse died. Their sole means of support was gone. In despair, she had decided to throw herself into the river.

R. Israel talked to her at length. Tenderly and softly he explained to her that God could easily make good her deficiencies. She was still young. A year from now she could bear another child, and so on. Her husband would recover and resume his occupation. As for the loss of the horse, he would send her the money for another the next day. Slowly the woman became pacified and regained her composure. She thanked R. Israel for the goodness of his heart and returned home. A year later R. Israel was invited to attend the Brit Milah of her newly born son.   

The Mussar Movement, Volume 1, Part 2, pages 247- 248.

Published in stories
Sunday, 12 September 2010 21:34

the pH of anger

Talmud - Mas. Nedarim 22a

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: He who loses his temper is exposed to all the torments of Gehenna, for it is written, Therefore remove anger from thy heart,’ thus wilt thou put away evil from thy flesh. Now ‘evil’ can only mean Gehenna, as it is written, The L-rd hath made all things for himself yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Moreover, he is made to suffer from abdominal troubles, as it is written, But the L-rd shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind. Now what causes failing eyes and a sorrowful mind? Abdominal troubles.

What is remarkable to me as I read this is the physiological response that is being spoken of if we become worked up: stomach troubles.

Published in mesorah

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