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Thought for the Day: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

I have a pair of walking shoes that I really like.  When they wear out, I go to the website and order the same style, color, and size.  They are comfortable, durable, and look nice; hence well worth the money.  I mentioned that to an (ex)boss; he commented, "You don't like change, do you?"  He was a goy and so I just agreed; to which he nodded with a sagacious and knowing smirk.

The truth is, actually, that I don't like change for the sake of change.  If something in my life needs a change, I change.  If not, I don't.  (As it turns out, a lot of things have needed to change; but that's another story.)  I chalk this up to my inherent laziness.  Serendipitously, though, the Torah also doesn't like change for no reason.  "Go with your strengths", as they say.  So with just a little kavana I turn my natural laziness into avodas HaShem.  Woo-hoo!

Where do we see that the Torah prefers consistency and for what reason?   Rava tells us (Shabbos 31a) the first round of discussion they will have with you when brought into judgement.  The first discussion is about your honest in business practices; consistent with Hillel's "Torah on One Foot" shmuez (earlier on the same daf).  Right on the heels of that discussion is, "kavata itim latorah?" -- did you fix time for learning Torah?  Lest you think the question is a poetic way to ask how much Torah did you learn, Rashi explains that since a person can't live with out having a income (since "ein derech eretz, ein torah"), therefore a person must set times for Torah leaning so he doesn't spend all day working on his business.  Not the quantity of your learning, not the quality of your learning; the consistency of your learning.

Davening is another place that consistency reigns supreme; well... at least very high on the hit parade.  R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach paskened that if a bachur in the yeshiva was late for davening, he should daven b'yichudus in the yeshiva because that is his makom kavu'a for davening rather than go out to daven with a minyan.  The rav was also heard to praise a particular bachur for his yiras shamayim because he had a makom kavu'a even for mincha.  Whether or not we pasken like that even for us ba'alei batim, the message is clear; consistency is a crucial element in avodas HaShem.

It's mildly ironic that this should be my first TftD after missing several days.  That's life... consistently ironic.


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