Day 20: Corrosive Habits

Day 20:Corrosive Habits

Sunday, September 10, 2017 English Translation Follows

י״ט אלול

4.4

וּמֵהֶן חֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים הָעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן אֵין חֶזְקָתוֹ לָשׁוּב מֵהֶן, לְפִי שְׁהֶן דְּבָרִים קַלִּים בְּעֵינֵי רֹב הָאָדָם, וְנִמְצָא חוֹטֶא וְהוּא יְדַמֶּה שְׁאֵין זֶה חֵטְא; וְאֵלּוּ הֶן: (א) הָאוֹכֵל מִסְּעוֹדָה שְׁאֵינָהּ מַסְפֶּקֶת לִבְעָלֶיהָ–שֶׁזֶּה אֲבַק גָּזֵל, וְהוּא מְדַמֶּה שֶׁלֹּא חָטָא וְיֹאמַר כְּלוּם אָכַלְתִּי אֵלָא בִּרְשׁוּתָן. (ב) וְהַמִּשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בַּעֲבוֹטוֹ שֶׁלֶּעָנִי–שֶׁהַעֲבוֹט שֶׁלֶּעָנִי אֵינוּ אֵלָא כְּגוֹן קֻרְדֹּם וּמַחְרֵשָׁה, וְיֹאמַר בְּלִבּוֹ אֵינָן חֲסֵרִים, וַהֲרֵי לֹא גָזַלְתִּי אוֹתוֹ. (ג) וְהַמִּסְתַּכֵּל בָּעֲרָיוֹת–מַעֲלֶה עַל דַּעְתּוֹ שְׁאֵין בְּכָּךְ כְּלוּם, שְׁהוּא אוֹמֵר וְכִי בָּעַלְתִּי אוֹ קָרַבְתִּי; וְהוּא אֵינוּ יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁרְאִיַּת הָעֵינַיִם עָווֹן גָּדוֹל, שְׁהִיא גּוֹרֶמֶת לְגוּפָן שֶׁלָּעֲרָיוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר “וְלֹא-תָתוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם” (במדבר טו,לט). (ד) וְהַמִּתְכַּבֵּד בִּקְלוֹן חֲבֵרוֹ–אוֹמֵר בְּלִבּוֹ שְׁאֵינוּ חֵטְא, לְפִי שְׁאֵין חֲבֵרוֹ עוֹמֵד וְלֹא הִגִּיעָה לוֹ בֹּשֶׁת, וְלֹא בִיְּשׁוֹ אֵלָא עָרַךְ מַעֲשָׂיו הַטּוֹבִים וְחָכְמָתוֹ לְמוּל מַעֲשֶׂה חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ חָכְמָתוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה מִכְּלָלָן שְׁהוּא מְכֻבָּד וַחֲבֵרוֹ בָּזוּי. (ה) וְהַחוֹשֵׁד כְּשֵׁרִים–אוֹמֵר בְּלִבּוֹ שְׁאֵינוּ חֵטְא, לְפִי שְׁהוּא אוֹמֵר מַה עָשִׂיתִי לוֹ, וְכִי יֵשׁ שָׁם אֵלָא חֲשָׁד שֶׁמֶּא עָשָׂה אוֹ לֹא עָשָׂה, וְהוּא אֵינוּ יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁזֶּה עָווֹן שֶׁמֵּשִׂים אָדָם כָּשֵׁר בְּדַעְתּוֹ כְּבַעַל עֲבֵרוֹת.

And there are five things that we assume a person cannot normally rectify through teshuvah, because they are things that most people do not take seriously, and people sin without realizing it. These are they:

1) One who eats as a guest at the table of a host who cannot afford the meal. This is a minor form of theft. The guest feels that it is no sin, saying, “I did not eat anything without the permission of the host.”

2) One who uses the collateral of a poor person, such as a shovel or a plow deposited to secure a loan, saying, “I did not take anything away from the pledge, I did not steal anything at all.”

3) One who ogles a woman, thinking to himself that this means nothing. He says, “did I have relations with this woman, or even draw close to her?” He does not realize that what the eye sees can be a great sin, since it may lead to inappropriate relations, as it is written (Numbers 15:39), do not seek after your heart.

4) One who honors one’s self through the downfall of another, saying that it is no sin because the other person is not present, and will not hear and be embarrassed. Instead, one merely praises one’s own good deeds and intelligence in contrast to the deeds and intelligence of the other person, with the intent that people should notice who deserves honor and who deserves disdain.

5) One who suspects the innocent, saying that this is no sin. “What did I do to him? Did I do anything other than suspect him? Perhaps he did something wrong, perhaps he did not.” One does not realize that it is a great sin to consider a decent person to be a sinner.

Translation from Maimonides on Teshuvah (5th Edition, 2017)

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