Monday, July 09, 2007

Life is Autocatalytic

Mi-dei dab'ri bichvodecha homeh libi el dodecha; al kein adabeir b'cha nichbados v'shimcha achabeid b'shirei y'didos - Whenever I speak of Your glory, my heart yearns for Your love; therefore, I shall speak gloriously of You, and shall honor Your name with songs of love.

These two lines of An'im Z'miros by R' Yehuda HaLevi express a very powerful truth that is essential in achieving one's potential in avodas HaShem, or for that matter, most other areas of life. We are taught that one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah. Hence, as soon as one does one positive action, one is more likely than not to be driven to perform another positive action, thus creating a cascade of mitzvos. Although the same is said regarding sins, that one sin leads to another, the two cascades become assymmetrical by virtue of the concept of repentance, which allows one to counteract the latter sequence (as well as to curtail the existent length of this sequence). This being the case, as time approaches infinity in an ideal world, one should tend towards performing only mitzvos. However, experience indicates that this is surely not the case.

The systemic factor that accounts for this deviation from expected behavior is frictional dissipation. Although the performance of one mitzvah increases the likelihood of the performance of another, if one does not immediately convert this potential into action, the advantage is lost. In a similar vein, falling victim to one transgression predisposes one to fall victim to another transgression; bad feelings breed bad feelings. One must therefore strive to break out of this vicious cycle of defeat before it begins to snowball.

That which was is that which shall be, and that which was done is that which shall be done. With dissipation of the positive on the one hand and positive feedback of the negative on the other often conspiring to thwart one's efforts, the only hope for a person to succeed is to consciously fight against these two trends.

For an expansion of the latter idea as summarized from Sichos Mussar, see my post at .



At 7/10/2007 2:48 AM, Anonymous mm said...

very good, very true, as usual i like.


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