Saturday, 20 July 2013

Mussar: The Wisdom of "K'shot Atzm'cha"

The Talmud Teaches:

K'shot Atz'mcha
v'Achar Kach
K'shot Acheirim

Here is a L'Havdil a Taoist parallel

"If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation
-- Lao Tzu


Lesson #1:

If you want to fix the world, fix yourself first.

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Furthermore, The Talmud's version has an additional implication, Namely-
Without fixing oneself first, there is little or no credibility to impose one's Mussar upon others.
Thus, a preacher needs to walk the walk as well as to talk the talk.
Both Senses are captured in the K'shot Atzm'cha phrase.

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A third Talmudic aspect may be understood as follows:
"Change Your Thoughts
And You Change Your World"
~ Norman Vincent Peale

Meaning: after fixing one's self - or more precisely one's own thinking - the natural by-product would be a brand new view / Hashkafah on the Outside World. IOW once one's outlook is fixed, the World is then Seen as OK - as in - I'm OK You're OK.

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This is powerful stuff and can create total harmony with "What Is".

Sources from Talmud
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מסכת בבא מציעא פרק ט
דף קז,ב גמרא
אנא היכי עביד הכי
והכתיב (צפניה ב) התקוששו וקשו ואמר ריש לקיש
קשוט עצמך ואחר כך קשוט אחרים


מסכת בבא בתרא פרק ג
דף ס,ב גמרא 
ולימא ליה זיל קוץ דידך והדר אקוץ דידי משום דריש לקיש דאמר (צפניה ב) התקוששו וקושו
קשוט עצמך ואח"כ קשוט אחרים: 



Best Regards,
RRW

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