18 Av 5781 / Tuesday, July 27, 2021 | Torah Reading: Eikev
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Loving the Lowlifes    

Loving the Lowlifes

The Baal Shem Tov loved every single person, even the liars and the heretics. Rebbe Nachman said to look for the good in everyone. No one said that it's easy...


It's no secret that I don't have a lot of patience for liars and heretics. Not that I never lie, or always have 100% emuna myself, because I clearly don't. There are occasions when I'll pretend to have a prior engagement to avoid doing something I really don't want to do; or when I'll forget that G-d's running the world and then give my husband or kid an earful.
Like all of us, I still have a lot of work to do. But that said, probably my biggest spiritual struggle at the moment is trying to look at hard-core liars and heretics with a good eye.
What do I mean by 'hard-core' liars and heretics? Well, it's those people that completely refuse to acknowledge the truth, even when it's staring them straight in the face. They give off these 'don't go there vibes' so you feel that you can't be honest about what's really going on, and they construct a whole elaborate universe of lies, which you either have to go along with, or risk some massive blow-out that will probably take half your social circle with it.
I've written about this in other places many, many times, and I'm even getting kind of sick of it myself, which brings me back to the fight I'm currently having inside myself.
On the one hand, I really, really want to live peacefully with all of mankind, and to only see their good, and to skip down the road in the sunshine while birds chirp, and babies gurgle, and Iran falls into some big hole somewhere.
On the other hand, despite literally hours and hours of prayers, and active efforts to ONLY FOCUS ON THE GOOD - I still can't do it. And the liars and heretics are still driving me bonkers.
This week, I was getting so agitated by the latest episode of 'Liars inc' that I went off to do a six hour session of personal prayer. Pretty much the whole time, I was asking G-d to help me see things with a good eye; to judge favorably; that He should find all of us (even the sociopaths and psychos) 'innocent' etc.
Ten minutes after that marathon prayer session, I got told about another 'Liars inc' incident, and I went ballistic. I literally felt as though my soul was being so burdened by all the lies, and all the fake humility and piousness, and all the evil-dressed-up-as-good that I just couldn't take it any more.
What am I meant to do? I know G-d wants me to carry on praying about it, and with His help, I'm going to. But right now, I'm finding it so, so hard to see that these nasty, horrible, shameless liars and heretics are just a manifestation of the Al-mighty.
And then, I start beating myself up for failing to have enough emuna, and for failing to be at the saintly level you'd really need to be able to pull this off.
Recently, I was at the tomb of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, a tzaddik known for his ability to find the good in even the worst sinner. I spent a good long time praying there, sobbing, that he should let me in to his secret.
For two days' after, I actually started to feel sorry for all these horrible people. Now, I don't know what I think about them again, especially when they're right in my face. What I can tell you is that 'a good eye' doesn't come naturally.
Hypocrites like to pretend that all this stuff comes so easily. They read a book, they heard a story, they got a blessing from a holy person, and voila, instant fix. These days, whenever some (smug) person starts looking down their nose at me, and my 'judgementalness,' the red flag automatically goes up.
Because anyone who's really got to grips with issues like this knows it's a fight; a massive spiritual struggle. If they've managed to subdue their evil inclination, they'll be full of encouragement and stories of how many setbacks they had, and how many times they fell on the way. By contrast, liars and hypocrites just try to make you feel bad, lacking and unworthy, that you didn't manage to nail your evil inclination in two short weeks. I mean, what are you doing, that you still can't give pathological liars, heretics and sociopaths unconditional love?!?!? Some spiritual striver you are!
As usual, I don't have the answer. I'm going to carry on praying. I'm going to continue asking G-d to help me, and to enlighten me. And while I'm waiting for all those prayers to kick in, I'm going to start scanning the real estate columns for some deserted island somewhere (with WiFi, natch) ;-)


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  3 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  we don't know
Anonymous,8/7/2014 2:19:46 AM
  Exactly what I needed to hear
Dassie6/2/2014 7:31:01 PM
  Thank you - I can relate.
Anonymous,6/1/2014 9:47:01 PM

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