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Sivan RWhat's the difference between the righteous and the wicked?

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

While we make positive resolutions all the time, we do not necessarily succeed in implementing them. We regret a certain behavior but fail to stop exhibiting it. Rabbi Avigdor Nebezahl articulates a profound principle in this regard, as starkly evidenced in Pharaoh's behavior. The wicked Pharaoh repeatedly resolves to free the nation of Israel in order to end a certain plague, but as soon as that plague is over, he continues to behave as before, and the nation is not freed. Rabbi Nebenzahl writes that we can all identify with this behavior.

"The difference between the righteous and the wicked is not that one regrets and the other does not. Both demonstrate regret. Pharaoh,too, had positive thoughts about change, just like all of us. The problem lies in the implementation of those same positive thoughts in real life. When a positive resolution arises in our minds, we must immediately prepare a plan for implementing it the next morning, when the passion for doing so will invariably have waned. We must contemplate how to give permanence to resolutions of the heart. It's not a matter of making a positive resolution, rather its consistent daily implementation.

The difference between the righteous and the wicked is in the longevity of positive passing thoughts. For the wicked person, such thoughts are short-lived. Every thought of teshuvah quickly disappears and, until the next one, he lives according to the whims of his heart. Yet the righteous person or tzadik desires to create longevity, if not permanence, regarding each positive thought. He extends the influence of each such thought over as much time as he can. His desire is 'to catch' positive passing thoughts and take them into his heart at once, so as to preserve those moments of truth."

Unlike Pharaoh, may we succeed in making positive resolutions that we implement at once.

Shavua tov.


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