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Thought for the Day: Eradicating Jealosy, Lust, and Haughtiness

Now that Adam haRishon has given us a mission by eating from the eitz ha'da'as tov v'rah, we need a plan.  Our mission is to return ourselves to the level of perfection at which we were created, which means we need to eradicate from our being kina/jealousy, ta'avah/lust, and kavod/craving power.  Baruch HaShem, Chazal have provided us with a high level plan and encouraged us to review the plan three times each day, right after davening.

Each of these bad midos have an outer/apparent/masculine dimension and an inner/hidden/feminine dimension.  The outer dimension of kina is simply known as rah/evil.  The cure for that is to avoid lashon ha'rah: "Elokai n'tzor l'shoni mei'rah"/My G-d, guard my tongue from evil.  The inner dimension is mirmah/deceit: "u's'fa'sai mi'daber mirmah"/my lips from speaking deceit.  The G"ra notes the precision with which Chazal express themselves.  The tongue is associated with rah; just as the tongue is a simple organ with no parts, the one who speaks evil is "tocho k'boro" -- but his actions and intentions are evil.  The lips are associated with deceit; just as the lips are split, so to the deceitful schemer says one thing but is saying another.

The bad midah of kavod is also known as ga'avah/arrogance.  The outer dimension of ga'avah is gei'ah, which is a feeling of being the only important entity in reality (ie, everything else is simple here for his needs).  "v'lim'kal'le'lai nafshi tidom"/I don't to feel the need to answer back any insults.  The inner dimension is wanting to exert my control over others.  "v'nafshi k'afar l'kol t'hi'yeh"/I should not feel any more intrinsic importance than any part of creation.

The outer dimesion of ta'avah is lust for physical pleasures.  "p'sach libi b'sorasecha"/open my mind to your Torah.  One one is truly open to Torah, any other pleasure is a distraction.  The inner dimension is chemda -- longing for another new suit, a fancier car, a bigger house, etc.  "u'v/mitzvosecha tirdof nafshi"/and guide me to run after your mitzvos.  Again, once one is engaged in running after real, eternal acquisitions, running after havli olam hazeh holds no more interest that a slurpy to a diamond merchant.

It's not easy, but it has to be done.  Think of it as spiritual working out.  After awhile, you'll actually enjoy the pleasant ache of working your spiritual muscles to their limit.

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