Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Judgment or Feeling: Will the Real You Please Stand Up

Posted on | September 1, 2011 | By Administrator | 1 Comment

An excerpt from Judgment or Feeling: Will the Real You Please Stand Up:

Our existential situation as in-betweeners subjects us to the insistent call of two different voices that hammer away at us. The Yetzer Tov, one of our appointed judges, speaks to us with his voice – the voice of spirituality. The locus of spirituality in the human being is the mind, not the heart. Spirituality does not communicate its message in the language of feelings and sensations; it does not send a rush of adrenalin through the blood or release endorphins in the brain. The soul expresses itself in words, concepts and ideas. The Yetzer Tov can only express itself in the language of the heart if it manages to drive the Yetzer Hara out of there and becomes our sole judge. In the case of us in-betweeners this never happens.

The voice of the Yetzer Hara is the voice of sensation and feeling. The locus of the Yetzer Hara in the human being is the heart; it knows how to stimulate us with the rush of adrenalin and endorphins that breed excitement. As long as the Yetzer Tov retains a foothold in our consciousness, the mind and the heart will continue to send us contrary messages, each in its own language. If the Yetzer Hara ever manages to become our sole judge, the voice of reason will cease its opposition and reason itself will broadcast the wishes of the heart. In the case of us in-betweeners this will also never happen.

The difference in the quality of these voices causes much difficulty and confusion. We live in a materialistic world, and we tend to invest a greater degree of trust in our feelings than in our thoughts. We tend to think of thoughts as being artificial and feelings as being reflective of our true selves. This predisposes us to give greater weight to the voice of the Yetzer Hara than to the voice of the Yetzer Tov. We need to experience some religious feeling in order not to dismiss our thoughts concerning the need to attach ourselves to God as irrelevant on the grounds that they do not truly reflect the real “me”.

Read the whole thing here.


One Response to “Judgment or Feeling: Will the Real You Please Stand Up”

  1. Bob Miller
    September 1st, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

    This conflict is also discussed in Rav S.R. Hirsch’s Chumash commentary on Parshas Bereishis. The snake’s theory is “do what you feel” which is natural for animals but wrong for people. Also on this point, read this excellent book by Rabbi David Fohrman:
    which is also available through Amazon.

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