Growing Each Day by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Tevet 4
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All the ways of a person are pure in one's eyes (Proverbs 16:2).

As a rule, people do not do anything that they believe to be wrong. Those who do wrong have somehow convinced themselves that what they are doing is in fact right. They justify themselves with ingenious rationalizations.

If we are so susceptible to our minds playing tricks on us and deluding us that what is wrong is right, what can we do to prevent improper behavior? Solomon provides the answer: Direct your actions toward God, and your thoughts will be right (Proverbs 16:3).

The distortion is greatest when the motivation is, "What do I want?" If we remove ourselves from the picture and instead ask, "What does God want?" the possibility of distortion shrinks.

While there is less distortion in the latter case, we cannot say that distortion is completely absent. Some people have strange ideas about what God wants. However, if we take ourselves out of the picture and are motivated to do what God wants, there is greater likelihood that we might consult someone in a position to give us an authoritative opinion as to the will of God. While this is not foolproof, there is at least a chance of escaping the distortions of rationalization that are dominant when one seeks to satisfy primarily oneself.

Today I shall...

try to dedicate myself to doing the will of God, and try to learn what His will is by studying the Torah and accepting guidance from Torah authorities.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

 

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