Section: Taryag Mitzvos   Category: Mitzva Opportunity
I Am 99% Sure

You are faced with a dilemma. Is it kosher or is it not? Is it Lashon Hara is it not? Or many similar situations where you are not sure if something is permissible or not.  Here is where your brain (i.e. yetzer hara) starts working overtime. He already has you right where he wants you. Not only are you having trouble overcoming temptation (after all you are hungry or it is a really good story) now the Yetzer Hara doesn't even need to convince you to do an aveira. He will give you a hundred and one good reasons why it is probably not assur. Maybe he will even convince you that it is a mitzva, since you need to eat. How foolish would you feel going hungry when the food turned out to be 100% kosher? There is no glory or mitzva in avoiding something that is actually kosher. Or is there? The Sefer Chareidim says there is.

Among the Mitzvos Aseh, the Chareidim counts avoiding something that may be assur as a mitzva. Which mitzva is that? "U"Barcharta BaChaim"; choose life. Many times we avoid doing things that are only remotely dangerous because we don't want to risk our lives or health. That is called choosing life. Certainly says the Chareidim, when faced with a Safek Issur which will affect your eternal life you should avoid things which have a remote possibility of causing harm even if the odds are slim. Chazal say a person should avoid 100 gates of "heter" to avoid the possibility of "issur".

Rav Shimshon Pincus gives an example of a person sitting in a restaurant located across the street from a mental institution. A crazy person runs into the restaurant and screams that he put cyanide into the soup. Does anyone believe him? No, of course not he is a loony. Would you order the soup? Probably not. Why not? Why take chances, life is too precious and the soup is not worth it. There are plenty of other things on the menu. If we understood the implications of a eating something not kosher or the damage caused by a single utterance from our mouths we'd judge our Sfeikos quite differently.

U'Bacharta BaChaim. Choose life. Unlike avoiding potentially poison soup, this is a win-win situation since by not eating you have a Mitzvas Aseh. When caught in moment of temptation make the right decision. Even it if it turns out to be "Mutar" you have earned a big mitzva and you are guaranteed to be the big winner at the end.  You earned Life!