Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Use Of Language - Part 3

Another misleading use of language is when people are called "very religious" or "really frum". Very often, this is just a description of their external appearance. If a man is wearing black and white, with a black hat, beard and peyos or a woman has her hair completely covered and is wearing long sleeves with a long skirt and high neckline, the assumption is that they are very pious. 

Sometimes this is true. Other times, it is not. 

There are countless middos and mitzvos and wearing a certain type of clothing doesn't cover the entire gamut but is rather a tiny minuscule fraction of what is required of a person [sometimes - it is not even required]. 

Middos - honesty, care, compassion, empathy, patience, anger, generosity, warmth, arrogance, humility, desires [food, women etc.], jealously, simplicity, gratitude, sensitivity, orderliness, cleanliness, calm, focused etc. etc. etc. Every person is on a different scale on every individual middah and only G-d knows where they are holding.

The same goes with mitzvos. Some people are more lax about wearing tzitzis but are extremely careful about honoring their parents. Some people are super careful about keeping Shabbos but speak lashon hara or waste a lot of time they could have spent learning. 

You can have a simple Jew who has a bigger heart and is more generous than a great Rosh Yeshiva who is far greater in Torah learning. I have a friend who is very lax about much of what it says in the Mishna Brura but is far more kind hearted and generous than a lot of people I know who wear black hats and walk around with a Mishna Brura [or the like] in hand. 

You can have a clean shaven guy, accountant, rabid Knicks fan, who never gets angry, while a big Rav with a long beard who never wastes his time with the frivolities of the NBA occasionally lets off steam on innocent members of his family. 

One guy never misses a minyan but he often misses his wife's birthday while another misses a lot of minyanim but EVERY DAY he makes his wife feel as if she were the queen of the universe. 

Who is greater? Who can ever know all of a person's deeds and thoughts? 

Nobody except for Him. 

Life has taught me that externals are important but often misleading.