לזכות הרב צבי משה בן שרה לאה
והרב משה צבי בן פרידא שמחה
וחי' גיטל פייגא בת ביילא בלומא
לרפו"ש בתוך שח"י
A careful reading of the Rambam in Hilchos Tshuva [3/1], reveals that Hashem is primarily concerned not only with what specific deeds we have done or not done but with who we are as people. Are we "tzadikim", spiritually oriented people, or "reshaim", people whose lives are ruled by materialistic and egotistic considerations. That is why the Rambam says that Hashem judges not how many "mitzvos" or "aveiros" we have, but how many "merits" and "losses" [זכיות ועוונות] we have. [See the Birkas Mordechai - Yerach Aisonim P. 382. While you are there, see the rest of the sefer:-)].
That is a completely different question. Not how much lashon hara do I speak or how careful am I not to talk in shul but what am I all about. Penetrating. An examination that probes the very core of our being.
One effective way to gauge a person's level of spirituality is by the measure of his connection to Shabbos. Shabbos is 25 hours of near bliss for the spiritually healthy and 25 hours of torture for the spiritually crippled. A person connected to ruchniyus enjoys the davening, the learning, the singing of zemiros, the family time, the quiet from all technological invasions. A person who is disconnected can't wait for it to end so he can surf-text-call-friend-like-link-tweet-etc.-etc.-ad-nauseam.
I live in a Charedi neighborhood. Completely Charedi. Kippot srugot only appear on Shabbos on the heads of a few scattered guests of the locals but othewise - black-black-black. Black is beautiful!! שחורה אני ונאוה cried Shlomo Hamelech in his song to end all songs. There are really many wonderful aspects about living among Charedim. The amount of chesed, tzedaka [people who have close to nothing, nothing, or less than nothing, give anyway!] and Torah learning are tremendous. Everybody understands why we are in this world. There are no televisions or secular newspapers in anybody's home [we believe and hope:-)]. The women all dress modestly [some more than others...] so one can walk down the street without having his soul drawn through the mud. So many benefits.
But one thing strikes me. Shabbos is so peaceful. No cars in the neighborhood. Quiet. Lots of learning, davening, strolling, relaxing, smiling, talking. Really pleasant time. But then Shabbos ends and .... BOOOM!
Every returns back to the way it was. The street is filled with cars. People are running here and there. The hustle and bustle recommences. The reason one is not allowed to exit the techum is so that he be content with his place on Shabbos and not feel that he will find his satisfaction and fulfillment elsewhere. The entire world movement towards a DIFFERENT PLACE betrays an underlying sense of an inner lack of calm. People aren't happy where they are so they feel that they must go elsewhere. I often walk down the street [only because I have to] and wonder where everybody is going? Why wasn't is good for them where they were? Why are airports so busy? [I am aware there are some places that people NEED to go but I hope that you understand my point]. Why does one have to RUN AWAY after Shabbos. Why can't one extend the Shabbos into the weekday just a little bit more than the halacha and even the holy Rabbeinu Tam require?! [That of course is the idea behind the Melave Malka. Keep your Shabbos clothing on, light some candles, eat a seuda, sing Shabbos songs, tell divrei Torah and sippurei tzadikim and keep Shabbos going].
Minutes after the end of Shabbos the cellphones are pulled out and you see people yapping and yapping. Why can't the yapping wait till Sunday morning? [Fortunately, with the advent of the Shabbos-Dumb-Phone, the need for post-Shabbos conversation will not be felt as acutely. Baruch Hashem:-)]
Shabbos ends and the cigarettes are placed between the lips and dozens of cancers causing agents infiltrate the body at the behest of the very same person who will one day [and probably already does] suffer greatly from this infiltration. You went 25 hours without your smelly-disgusting-disease-causing-air-polluting-money-burning-cancer-sticks, so by golly, can't you wait a little while longer?
"Chol" - secularism, has redescended into our semi-edenic world and for me it is a mini-churban. If the ruchniyus was so good then why not try to hold on to it a little while longer. Even if one already made havdala, he can still make his motzei Shabbos, more Shabbos-dike. My sense is that people are so connected to their "chol", that Shabbos is seen as a burden. Hence, the oft-heard krechtzen "Oy, a three day yontiff". Ne-buch!:-)
On Yom Kippur, called Shabbos Shabbason, G-d judges us if we are spiritual beings. In other words - are we Shabbos-ly oriented, even during the week, or are we merely going through the motions.
May we merit to connect to Shabbos and to Shabbos-dike people [the Zohar says that a talmid chochom is bechinas Shabbos] and live lives filled with tzidkus and all-encompassing ruchniyus. Amen:-):-)
"Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the Force of life consciousness which rules the world of plants and animals, and with the Power which determines the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man's heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain."