Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Beinoni

From Living Torah (Volume 53, Episode 211)

Tanya opens with a Talmudic passage: “Every Jew, before he is born, is administered an oath: ‘Be righteous, and be not wicked’” -- if it is not possible for you to achieve the level of the righteous, at least do not be wicked; be a ‘Beinoni - intermediate.’ This is followed by an extensive discussion defining the spiritual level and service of the Beinoni - that “he has never sinned, and never will sin…”

The level of Beinoni is so high that the great Chassid, Reb Hillel of Paritch proclaimed in wonder: “If only I could be a Beinoni!” How can every man, woman and child be expected to live up to this nearly impossible standard?

The answer: According to Jewish law, an oath is administered “according to the understanding of the court.” The Heavenly court knows from the outset that a Jew will face challenges, and even setbacks. But by maintaining constant joy and happiness in his service of G-d, he is able to achieve complete repentance. Then all his past misdeeds become counted as “merits,” and he is retroactively transformed into a Beinoni.

Also in this Episode:
* Selichos
* Giving and Receiving
* Rabbi Engineer, Part 2: Solid State