Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar 5766 - March 1, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

An Appreciation of Igeress HaRamban
by Tovoh Younger

Today we live in such a competitive society, where everyone seems to have their abilities and 'assets' on display. We don't have to go into your home; we just get the address, and we know your status. Or we pass by and see the lawn, and other trimmings that give us a clear indication of what is inside. Maybe we see you drive by, and that vehicle of yours tips us off.

Everyone's standard of living seems to be in everyone else's face. How can we get a handle on feelings of jealousy that can be aroused? We learn that jealousy and desire can drive a person out of this world! Equally importantly, how can we deal with our feelings of superiority, which can lead us to feeling proud? Concerning a baal gaivah, Hashem says, 'He and I cannot live in this world together.' It seems like no matter what our status is, we have what to work on.

Enter Igeress haRamban.

As you go through it, you will learn just what it takes to work on ridding yourself of these forbidden and destructive feelings. 'Remove anger from your heart,' 'From where did you come . . . and before Whom are you destined to give an accounting?' 'Since everyone is equal before Hashem, Who, when angry, cuts down the arrogant . . . therefore lower yourself and Hashem will uplift you,' 'With all your words, actions and thoughts and at all times, think in your heart that you are standing before Hashem.'

All this and more is contained in this page-long letter. And at the end we are told, 'Every day that you read this (Igeress haRamban), you will be answered from Heaven with whatever you decide to request.' May we only be worthy of properly reading and following it's ideals!

Initially, I tried to read this on a weekly basis as recommended, and I was able to get some direction from it. Then I had an inspired thought — I decided to work on memorizing it. In the process I was forced to give more thought and concentration on the actual phrasing of the words, and the order in which it is all set out. It has greatly enhanced my working on the lofty goals set forth. I work on it a few sentences a week, and in the past two months, have gotten toward the end. As I reach my goal, I can review the Letter as I take a walk, or have to hold the phone and be subjected to some undesirable music. It's great for chasing away destructive thoughts as well. Basically, it gives me something positive to think about whenever I want to.

It can also come in handy when you need a good quote. The other day I bought a siddur for my grandchildren, and I wanted to write a meaningful inscription. I was at a loss for words, until the Ramban rescued me. 'Concentrate on your prayers by removing all worldly thoughts . . . prepare your heart . . . purify your thoughts . . . and your prayer will be pure, clear, clean, devout and acceptable . . . ' Amen!

While reciting it, I include the prayer that my heart be rid of the bad traits he describes, and that I become worthy of that awesome blessing, ' . . . and Hashem will uplift you.'


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