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Confessions: V’Hirshanu

We have caused wickedness. We have caused others to commit sins. (Artscroll Vidui) King Solomon, may Peace be upon him, spoke of the idea of repentance, and specified this idea of worry. He begins his words by saying, ‘When the righteous exult, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, men are sought.’ (Proverbs 28:12) The righteous people praise and honor men for every good quality that is found in them, while the wicked seek out a man’s faults and errors in order to lower him, although he may have forsaken his disreputable deeds and repented. (Rabbeinu Yonah, The Gates of Repentance, First Gate #18)

V’Hirshanu is to look at someone and see that which is evil about him. V’Hirshanu is to look at a situation and immediately see what is wrong. This describes people who go into a hotel and can immediately tell you everything wrong with the establishment. This is for the person who can immediately tell you what he does not like about someone else. V’Hirshanu is to see the negative about anything and anyone at first glance.

The most evil, pernicious and destructive V’Hirshanu is the person who sees only that which is wrong with him.

We make people evil by seeing them only as evil. A student seen by his teachers as a “problem child” will become a problem child.

V’Hirshanu  describes the person who comes home and describes everything that is wrong with his job and life, rather than what is good.

ToolsTikkun/Achieving Greatness

My father zt”l would always ask me to list things that were good in my life before I would complain about something.

We can first look for the good in a person, an institution, a situation or a relationship, before we take notice of what is wrong.

As Rabbeinu Yonah describes above, the righteous person praise and honor the good in others.


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