Introspection

A Pretense of Piety

A Pretense of Piety

I once went to the hospital to visit a fellow Jew who was on the verge of death. Outside his room, I was met by approximately fifty young men, long-haired and slovenly attired. They were wearing white kippot at awkward angles and were deeply immersed in Tehillim.

Often, when one is met with misfortune, he is awakened to introspection. When the Yetzer Hara gets wind of this, he is most dissatisfied and tries to make this a temporary affair. After the problem leaves the person’s mind, the kippah leaves his head, and he unabashedly continues his life of licentiousness.

This group of young people seemed to fall into this category. As soon as their sick loved one would leave the confines of the hospital, they would leave the confines of all things spiritual.

As I entered the room, the man’s wife turned to me and asked, “Honored Rav, please pray for my husband to merit a miracle and return to his full health. The yeshiva boys took the efforts to come and recite Tehillim on his behalf.”

The boys in the corridor looked nothing like yeshiva boys. I asked her, “Which yeshiva are they from?”

To which she replied, in all seriousness, “Honored Rav, they are like yeshiva students.”

At hearing these words, I rebuked her. “Now they are wearing kippot and pretend to act like yeshiva students. But I have no doubt that their charade will last only until your husband recovers, or, chalilah, passes on. Then they will remove the kippot and forget about Tehillim. Am I not right?”

She silently agreed. I added, “It seems like they behave like yeshiva students only as long as your husband is ill.”

I then addressed the entire group, “Are you not ashamed to play games with Hashem, pretending to be Torah-true so that He should cure this sick man? Your Yetzer Hara is playing games with you, causing you to act piously only until the situation improves.

“In order to accrue merits on High for the sake of the sick man, you must do sincere and lasting teshuvah. Only this can arouse Heavenly mercy for him.”

I then left the hospital. I hope that at least some of these people accepted my words and repented.

 

A Pretense of Piety

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Pessah

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