R’ Mendel Motzi Shabos 12/14/2013 – Video – Derech Hashem

Yetzer Tov defined

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4 thoughts on “R’ Mendel Motzi Shabos 12/14/2013 – Video – Derech Hashem

  1. I would love to solve our problems, many of which stem exactly from Rabbi Kessin’s description of the yetzer tov and the fact that few have developed theirs. It has been apparent to me that lack of reality testing and lack of observational skills are among our worst problems, but the defense mechanism and its role did not occur to me.

    Still, any person having average observational skills will recognize our rudeness and bad driving among other behavioral problems in part stemming from the Dunning Kruger Effect; I have spoken with many intelligent frums whose ability to evaluate behavior was well below average. You can make true statements to such a person and they will argue. Only a revised educational system or a Thinktank, or both, will solve that.

    But we continue to harm ourselves, generating with unacceptable behavior, much of which is symptomized in our wrong thinking about events and our unrealistic language patterns.

    Without training, leading to better behavior, we simply cannot generate the kind of acceptance from our neighbors that we need. Witness Jackson’s reaction to our moving in there. As an objective observer I empathize with them completely.

    I have the same argument with many in Lakewood who make statements about things they don’t understand, think about or know, illustrations of the Dunning Kruger Effect. I feel comfortable talking about what I understand and try to avoid what I don’t- and have tended to underestimate my ability. Again, that illustrates Dunning Kruger.

    Observing and reality testing are skills that a person works on and and cultural assessment is the same thing using different information and on a larger scale.

    If one does not work at these things diligently it is incredibly unlikely they will achieve them; the best analogy I can think of is chess- there is no doubt whatsoever that some people understand the game and as much as I read about it and admire it, [and maybe you have the same experience] I am unable to ‘think’ in chess. There are those who genuinely understand the game, can see space and position clearly and can form strategies. I can only guess at the big ideas and play tactics. Its a game, but far from one I can apply logic or theory to although every great player can.

    In those areas that matter to me and that I feel comfortable I have paid my dues and have been assured by some of the best that I am in an elite class. This includes observation, reality testing, character assessment and cultural analysis, all of which the majority in Lakewood is well below average and considers themselves good at; the Dunning Kruger Effect.

  2. question: if the age of 13, the person’s neshama desires to confirm to reality and the person wants (maybe even starts to experience the need to) confirm to reality, then why is it that the hazal say that shamaim do not a judge a person until he’s 20. In other worlds, since this world’s beit din makes a person chaiv at age of 13 then why is shamaim wait until age 20?

    Can we say that it takes 7 human years for the yetzer tov or the desire to confirm to reality reach the full maturity at which point it’s then fair to hold one responsible for his/her actions according to the shamaim?

    1. just a private opinion.
      there are different levels of reality. at 13 one perceives one level of reality, and is thus judged in terms of that reality. at 20 one is able to perceive higher level of reality, and is thus judged in terms of higher reality too.
      till 20 one’s mind is not mature enough to relate to the level of shamaim properly. it is a child. yet a child after 13 can relate very well to more tangible level of reality.
      till 13 a child is in a dream world, he is not connected to reality, even to our lower one, he still plays toys, lives in a fantasy world.

  3. It is uncanny that this question arises, because after ingesting the shiurum to date and listening to other speakers, reading other writers, my observations all boiled down to the issue of childishness, which is what is being discussed here.

    I like Rabbi Kessin’s thoughts about maturity. I have long faulted our inability to deal with reality as a basic problem, which is what maturity is about. In college, as I might have mentioned, we challenged each other’s reality testing constantly and it made us sharper in thought and much better observers; “I saw it” or “you said that” [quoting exact words and not distorted impressions] are powerful arguments. But the childish go with their impressions and never concede to reality.

    Undoubtedly, it takes from 13 to 20 to BEGIN to hone ones yetzer hara, or sense of reality if you prefer. Within our culture many people never do it and there lies a great problem. Rabbis Akiva Tatz, Avigdor Miller and others call a childish man an evil man. Other ways of saying it are a man with weak yetzer tov, a superficial man, a liar, or a bigot, all people who have stronger ties to their sense of pleasure and ego than to the all important sober and serious approach to life and mitzvot. The two gaonim from non-Gaonic times, Saadia Gaon and the Vilna Gaon call character development the most important aspect of Torah; Shulchan Aruch prefers mussar over mishna; there is no getting around that beautiful dignified behavior is a central goal of Judaism.

    Yet many childish men and childish shuls, where smalltalk, even joking during davening, where gossip and slander begin the minute davening is over and where intelligent discussion of our problems and possible solutions NEVER takes place, exist. I have suffered them aplenty. And I have been shocked, with no exaggeration, at the childish, even stupid discussions with people I have tried to communicate with.

    This includes even old men with childish views and a peevish aversion to sober talk and behavior.

    Since a person is the average of the five people they spend the most time with I am careful to avoid too much interaction in Lakewood and have picked up bad habits here that I fight constantly in my self and in others. I have been involved in ridiculous conversations and, while gracious about decent rebuke, which I always accept no matter how badly delivered, I am very intolerant of foolish advice, which I get all too often.

    So the gap between 13 and 20 is tiny and with few good influences and much use of Torah for status or entertainment a person needs until 20, AT LEAST, to attain the strength of identity and thought to stand up for what is right, even if everyone else, or almost everyone else, is doing wrong.

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