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Midot Hayom: Day 41: Yesod in Yesod

“bringing them closer to the Torah” How should one fulfill this? Persuade people to overcome their Yetzer Harah – Evil Inclination – bringing them under the wings of the Shechinah – The Divine Presence – the way Abraham, our father, and Sarah, our mother, would persuade people. All the people of the world combined cannot create a single gnat, yet Abraham and Sarah are considered to have made all the people they persuaded to control their Yetzer Harah and to believe in God. Avot of Rabbi Nathan 12:8


A person who is connected to his source – Yesod – can help others reconnect with their source. The persuasion itself must come from loyalty to the source, not the desire to persuade. Rabbi Manis Friedman tells the story of two Chabad Chassidim traveling in a bus in Israel. A young Chasid approached an older Israeli man asking the man to put on Tefillin. The older man refused. The young Chasid did not give up until the older man lost his temper. At that point, the older Chasid approached the same Israeli and asked him if he wanted to put on Tefillin. The Israeli said, “I would love to!” The younger Chasid was insulted, “Why did you anser yes to him, but refuse me?” The older Israeli answered, “You wanted to be the one to get me to wrap tefillin. It was about you. This older gentleman wanted me to have the opportunity to wrap tefillin. He was concerned about me not himself.” The older Chasid came from the source and addressed the source of the other’s soul. He approached and persuaded with Yesod in Yesod. The younger Chasid lacked loyalty to the source when he was focused on himself.

Teachers must focus on the student: What does this student need? The teacher cannot be motivated by the desire to be a great teacher. His motivation must be the student. Parents who want to have good children, are focused on themselves, not on the Yesod of their children. We must use this day to monitor the way we teach our students and children. We must pay attention to the way we speak to others: Are we focused on us or them?

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