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Section: Moadim   Category: Weekly Sefirah Diary
Week 3: Tiferes: Get Into The Driver's Seat

 Was Shammai really as tough as they say? Was Hillel gentle and easy going by nature? Rav Yisroel Salanter says that Shammai believed that a harsh approach with people would enhance Kavod Shamayim. Hillel on the other hand believed that true Kiddush Hashem will only come about with a patient and loving touch.  Had they come to opposite conclusions, Hillel would have been as strict as Shammai and Shammai would have been just as gentle as Hillel.

Most of us are controlled by our emotions. We believe that our job is to reign in these emotions and not let them run out of control. To us controlling the negative side of our personality constitutes the ultimate (often elusive) victory.

Not so our great sages and forefathers. They reached what we would consider perfection. No emotion would ever sway them, cause them to lose control, or perform even the smallest action against the will of Hashem. As Dovid Hamelech said in Tehilim "Libi Chalal Bikirbi" my natural instincts and emotions (yetzer harah) are dead within me. The only thing that distinguished Hillel from Shammai were their respective beliefs in which approach would cause the greatest Kiddush Hashem.

This week's middah is the middah of Tiferes. Tiferes means knowing that both Chesed and Gvura have a place and time. The question for us is when, where, and how. Tiferes is the beautiful and glorious outcome of the perfectly timed and perfectly balanced middos. Tiferes means we control our middos and our middos don't control us.

While Tiferes manifests itself in many forms including Rachamim, Torah, Shleimus, Glory, and Praise which we will briefly come across throughout the week, there is one ideal that is easy to describe but hard to adhere to; that of Emes. This doesn't refer to telling the truth, it refers to a task much more challenging; facing the truth and living by the truth. It means examining your every action under the bright light of the truth. What you say, where you go, what you eat, how you spend your time. Even when your actions check out okay on the surface, you still need to question your ulterior motives. Are you acting out of honest decision making or are you reacting to your raw emotions, animal instincts, and base desires. Truth means that you cannot live on autopilot with a single set of ideals. Truth is about constant re-examination.

This is the week that we praise Hashem and act in a way that is beautiful in the eyes of others and causes others to praise us. This is a week of Torah. This is a week of mercy. Mainly this is a week where we rise above and beyond our inner self. We dominate our emotions and act from a purely honest and objective point of view.  Hatzlacha!

RELATED ARTICLES:Hillel & Shammai  self discipline  tiferes  truth

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