The Jewish Eye
Elul: Rav Yisroel Salanter - Low Hanging Fruit are The Big Opportunity
The reward and punishment for mitzvos and aveiros are relative to many factors. One important factor is the effort we involve. If we had a great Nisayon that we failed to withstand we will certainly be punished because we should have overcome it however it will be a slap on the wrist compared to the punishment for committing that same aveira sans the temptation. Since the infractions that came with the least temptation will cause us the lion's share of our grief both in this world and in the world to come, Rav Yisroel Salanter in Ohr Yisroel suggests that we should work on purging ourselves of these aveiros.
Take for example, talking Lashon Hara, which we all know how bad it is and always try to "give up" for once and for all. Realistically we will not rid ourselves of it so fast and if we try we'd probably relapse just as fast. We speak a great deal of Lashon Hara but not all of it is equally "Geshmak". True there are times when we are really mad at someone and can't control ourselves. But there are times that we are not really interested in the conversation and get caught up anyway. There are people we don't really care to speak badly about but do so anyway. Sadly this is the Lashon Hara that we will pay for dearly come judgment day.
We can all think long and hard to figure out which aspect of Lashon Hara is our easiest to conquer, which is our low hanging fruit. If we make up our mind to not speak in these not so tempting situations and stick to it with great resolve, not only have we done a great thing but we also shed ourselves of our heaviest baggage. Think about it. It makes sense!
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