Thursday, February 11, 2010

מכ"ת המו"ת

I've unfortunately been exposed, friends, to a few death-oriented experiences the past week or so, but, to my confusion, I find myself to be too numb to have proper emotional/theological reactions.

In the past, if a compartiot of mine died, I would reflect upon every aspect of my daily life as upon a miracle. Take even walking in the cold as an example: naturally you would think "this is pretty unpleasant", but when considering that others are experiencing a total absence of life itself, even being able to breathe in the cold fresh air of today, now, as a living, healthy (בע"ה) being seems to be a novelty worth appreciation. The fact that we had childhoods. The fact that we made it through birth!, I reflected upon. I once felt very appreciative, and took nothing for granted. Mundane matters seemed childish to me, considering they all concerned matters of the living, and if one is already alive, what could they complain about.

Yet now I find it more difficult for me to reflect on these matters. Although I'm aware of our good fortune for having been chosen by the Divine for a good life, it's still difficult to translate that into constant appreciation for life, which in turn mandates a pious lifestyle. It doesn't come naturally. Sometimes our minds to not let us come to the most logical conclusions.

Though essentially this has been the responsibility of authors of mussar works, such as Ibn Paquda (in his Al Hidayah ila Faraid al-Qulub, "Duties of the Hearts"), whom Rabbi Avigdor Miller was wont to quote, whom I was wont to hear. What's known as "Sha'ar Habechina" is his guide on how to arouse within our slumbered selves these feelings (that should be natural to us, but which the Satan blocks our hearts from feeling). Therefore if a deep appreciation for life is, in fact, not natural to us, what better place to turn that the חובות הלבבות...

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