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Positive Vision - Introduction
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
We often associate kedushah with tzaddikim. We think that kedushah is reserved for someone who is closeted away from society. It is not for the common man ... and it is not for me.
This is a mistake.
Each and every one of us, on whatever level we find ourselves, is capable of growth in this area. It is not an "all or nothing" issue. At any given moment, in every situation, we can become more kadosh. Even as we struggle with our most difficult nisyonos, we are never completely lost. We can always become just a little more sanctified and move a bit closer to Hashem. And who can possibly fathom the value of that little bit of positive movement?!
This is why the Torah specifies that the mitzvah of becoming kadosh
(קְדשִׁים תִּהְיוּ ) should be stated to every Jew דַּבֵּר אֶל כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
In the words of the Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh:
This mitzvah applies to every person, for any Jew who fulfills this mitzvah is referred to as a "kadosh" [and] no category of Jew is ever shut out from this idea.
We know how hard it is to change once we become accustomed to a bad habit. It's so much easier to keep doing what we have always done. But we fail to realize that to a large degree the same applies to a good habit. When we train ourselves to do what is right, we continue doing so naturally. Healthy habits and behaviors are also self-perpetuating. They, too, can become second nature. And while we must always be on guard against slipping, the nisayon will certainly diminish greatly over the course of time.
When we decide, for example, to work on davening or learning, we do so with a positive attitude. We know from experience that davening with kavannah is so much more meaningful than mindless davening, and learning with energy so more satisfying than lethargic learning. We anticipate that our efforts will yield a certain satisfaction so we embrace the commitment. But when we think about working on kedushah we don't anticipate this reward, so even when we decide to improve, we commit with a different mindset - with a sense of duty. We do not embrace a pledge to kedushah; we do it because we have to.
This, too, is a mistake. We will see over the course of this program that improving in kedushah is rewarding and enhances our lives with a level of richness and satisfaction that we would not have otherwise experienced. The fleeting thrill of breeching our kedushah, which ultimately leaves us feeling ashamed and rootless, pales in comparison to electing to lead a life of kedushah. The gratification of being proud of who we are, the feeling of being in control of our lives, is infinitely more enjoyable.