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Spiritual Tools: Siftei Chaim: Truth Part One

The 28th of Tammuz is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Chaim Friedlander (1923-1986), mashgiach in Ponovezh. He is considered one of the closest disciples of Rav Dessler. Author of Sifsei Chaim and Mesilos Chaim B’Chinuch.


Rabbi Simón said, “when the Holy One, Blessed is He, came to create Adam, the Ministering Angels formed different groups (Bereishit Rabbah 8:5),” just as a manufacturer will explain to all his workers what the end result will be even though each worker will only be responsible for one part of the process, so too, God gathered all the Angels to declare His intention to create Man. Each angel had to understand the ultimate objective of a being with Free Choice before being assigned its specific role. It is not that the Angels gathered in groups, but that each angel, the Angel of justice and the angel of compassion, the angel of peace and the angel of truth, spoke from its perspective on what will happen with this creation empowered with Free Choice.

“Kindness and Truth have met, Righteousness and Peace have kissed (Psalms 85:11).” The verse implies that the Angels first debated and only afterward did the Angels of Kindness and Truth, those of Righteousness and those of Peace, meet. What did they debate? The midrash continues: “The Angel of Kindness says, “Create him for he is kind.” The Angel of Truth says, “Do not create him for he speaks falsehoods.” The Angel of Righteousness says, “Create him for he performs acts of tzedakah.” the Angel of The Angel of Peace says, “Do not create him for he always argues.”

How is it possible that this same it being is praised as one who performs acts of righteousness and constantly does tzedakah even while being condemned as one who is completely false and always fighting?

When the Ministering Angels described a person as one who does acts of kindness, they are not simply saying that he performs these actions, they are saying that Kindness is implanted in his very essence as is the attribute of Tzedakah. Yet, we must still understand how the same being can have Kindness implanted in his essence and yet still be described as, “always fighting.”

The Talmud (Yoma 9b) describes how at the time of the destruction of the second Temple although the people were constantly involved in Torah study and acts of kindness, the Temple was destroyed because of the sin of baseless hatred. This means that even a person who is acting with kindness can still hate without reason or cause. He will limit his acts of kindness to those he does not hate. The two attributes are not contradictory.

Human beings have been fighting ever since Cain and Abel. The world as we know it is false as we do not see the Truth of God in every aspect of creation. We live in a world of falsehood and are influenced to become false and insincere. (Siftei Chaim; Midot v’Avodat Hashem, “Emet meiEretz Titzmach, Part One)

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