A Match or a Coal?

By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui


The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok once said. “In previous generations, Chasidim would describe people by saying; this one (person) is a genuine inward directed authentic individual, this one, is currently a superficial surface person, but has potential and is on his way to becoming genuine. Today, they don’t speak that way. The feelings and thoughtfulness for (real) personal improvement is missing.”

In our morning prayers we say, “A man should forever be G-d fearing in the innermost recesses of his heart.” It’s not enough how the person acts and behaves.  A person is expected to progress further, and inwardly become the impression he gives on the surface.

Maimonides writes, “……He should not speak one thing outwardly and think otherwise in his heart. Rather, his inner self should be like the self which he shows to the world. What he feels in his heart should be the same as the words on his lips…….It is forbidden to utter a single word of deception or fraud. Rather, one should have only truthful speech, a proper spirit and a heart pure from all deceit and trickery.”

A superficial person can NOT ever, experience depth in his life since it is not who he/she is. A superficial person must live an insecure uncertain life since he is never really anchored. This contributes greatly to anxiousness and stress.

The holy ark that was in the Tabernacle in the wilderness was not only made of gold on the outside over a wood frame, it also had a gold frame on the inside of this small container. The Talmud says, this teaches us a very powerful lesson. “Any scholar whose inside is not like his outside is no scholar at all.”

A genuine inward directed authentic person as opposed to a superficial surface kind of guy, needs time and can’t be rushed. When he studies something, he must take time to think, to absorb, to get intellectually excited and emotionally involved. “All my bones will say who is like you G-d.” He just doesn’t speak from the lips, he gets completely and totally involved, and all this takes time. He takes what he does and what he says seriously and when he laughs, that too is sincere and dead serious.

On the other hand a superficial surface person “learns” quickly and he already believes he “knows” the subject. He makes quick judgments, and lives in a microwave age where everything is done fast. He gets warmed up and “excited” regarding things that he just learned about, and this too is all shallow skin deep.  No depth and no substance.  Life and friends is a one line statement on Facebook, or a poke on the internet.

A little politics here?  Some people change affiliation with stated beliefs from one day to the next. I will leave it to my dear readers to figure out what category they fit into.

There is a Chassidic saying. “A match when lit, if one blows on it just slightly the flame will extinguish. While the flame attached to a coal, the more one blows on it the greater the flame becomes. The reason for this is because one flame is a surface superficial fire. No real roots not really a passion and excitement of substance. The slightest challenge and out the window that goes.

While the other flame is real, down to its depth. This flame holds its’ ground.”

The same is true when it comes to personalities.

There are people who pray and hope for fast transformations.  They want to become smart fast, make money fast, lose weight fast but fast is the characteristic of surface floating. A person directed and focused on real genuine impact and improvement understands everything worthwhile takes time and patience. He doesn’t expect anything without personal effort to make it long lasting.

A personal of value and deep faith, who put in the time, reaps the benefits with a life deep and rich in true happiness.


To read more articles from Rabbi Ezagui visit him at http://koshercaffeine.blogspot.com/

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