Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Tishrei 5765 - October 13, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Thoughts on "Thoughts"

Dear Editor,

I read your editorial called, "The Thoughts of Our Heart" (in the Rosh Hashonoh issue) encouraging Klal Yisroel to channel their thoughts, to flee from bad thoughts as from fire and that we should fill our hearts and minds with the high and holy thoughts that they are capable of holding, etc. I would like to add some more practical suggestions to support your meaningful words of encouragement.

This area of self-development can be extremely trying, even for those who are very careful regarding what they expose themselves to. I would like to recommend a sefer for those who would like to gain insights into the functioning of the mind, a very descriptive sefer that can be a practical guide to refining one's thoughts, elevating our entire beings. It is called, Cheshbon Hanefesh and is by Rabbi Mendel of Satanov (foreword by Rabbi Y. I. Sher of Slobodka). We can feel very inspired when encouraged; however, many of us need the "How to do it" as well as the "What to do."

The very last chapter of the sefer describes a strong desire broken down into four stages, using visual imagery to explain the thought process. The author describes how one can actually deal with being mentally engulfed by negative thoughts and, in a successful way, prevent further aveiros. This particular moshol can be very helpful to people trying to conquer other negative traits as well, i.e., anger, etc.

A second sefer containing practical suggestions is called, Towards Meaningful Prayer, by S. Feldbrand.

The following is an excerpt from sefer Cheshbon Hanefesh: "As long as a man's mind is settled, his intellectual spirit quietly stands guard, spreading its light upon his mind as if it were a torch atop the edifice of his body" (Perek 1, Menuchas Hanefesh).

It appears that one of the tricks is to train one's mind to be focused on any given task, even when there are no negative associations taking place, i.e., training oneself not to be overwhelmed, compartmentalizing, etc., so that when one is caught with more serious negative infiltration, one has already had practice and "mental exercises" become more manageable. Working on Menuchas Hanefesh appears to be a vital step in helping us achieve the lofty goals in your article. "The tzelem Elokim in man is the mo'ach and lev and these two words have the same gematria as Elokim" (Rabbi M. Glazerson Faith and Healing).

I personally feel very grateful to Hakodosh Boruch Hu for having stumbled upon the above two seforim, and felt prompted to share this information.

Mrs. S. D. Chrysler


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