Positive Vision - Day 74
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
Our weekly excerpt from the book "Positive Vision"
Day 74 - The Vortex - When One Thing Leads to Another
Did you hear about the fellow who borrowed $100 from his friend but could not pay him back? The friend started pressuring him so the next time he was in a store he grabbed some money from the register when the shopkeeper wasn’t looking. The CCTV, however, videoed his action, so the police come to arrest him. He assaulted the police so they threw him in jail. He got out on bail but when they came to take him to trial, he pulled out a gun and started shooting.
The point of this story is to depict how a slippery slope operates.
It gathers momentum, snowballs, and becomes increasingly difficult to stop.
We often turn to our base desires as an escape. We feel under pressure, unfulfilled, or slightly depressed, and we want a release, a momentary respite from our negative emotions. When we are in a negative state of mind we are vulnerable, our self-control is weakened. And when we are down, the negative emotions and behaviors can gather steam.
The trigger to this downward spiral can be the most insignificant thing.
It’s a Sunday morning, you wake up late and miss davening at your regular minyan. Not the worst thing, but perhaps you missed z’man Krias Shema as well. You could go to a late minyan but parking is a hassle, so you decide to daven at home. But you don’t really daven; instead, as you mutter the words, you patter around your house, picking up things and getting distracted. In no time you’re finished.
All this makes you feel a little like a loser.
The yetzer hara is slowly getting you.
Instead of going to your shiur, you go downstairs to your office and check your email, feeling bored and gloomy. A click here and then there, and poof, you’re gone. It’s all too easy ... and too predictable. The trigger was merely getting up late, but it spiraled to something else entirely.
How do you stop the slide before you drop off the slippery slope in an out-of-control free fall?
Firstly, by being self-aware. If you are feeling vulnerable, be extravigilant not to fail. Also, put in safeguards beforehand. It is inevitable that we will wake up some mornings on the wrong side, with our self-control below par. We have to make sure that we are protected and prepared for such eventualities by putting strategies in place and putting our own roadblocks in place beforehand, thus making it exceedingly difficult to do that which we know is wrong.