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Section:  Avodah   Category: 48 Kinyanei Torah
Kinyan 32 Oheiv Es HaTochacha - The Unpersonal Touch
No one among us is audacious and conceited enough to really think that we don't make many mistakes.  It is not even something to be embarrassed out, as that is the nature of the human experience.  It is a challenge of trial by error.  Therefore without accepting rebuke we cannot grow.  So why do we get all huffy when someone criticizes us?  Our defense mechanism snaps into action and we go on the attack.   Him?!?  He is worse.  Who is he to talk?  

Simply put we don't like to hear it from others.  It hurts.  The gemara says in Eiruchin (16b) Rebbi Tarfon said, I wonder if there is anyone who knows how to listen to mussar in this generation.  Rebbi Elazar ben Azarya retorted, and I wonder if anyone in this generation knows how to give mussar.

One of the most valuable lessons anyone ever taught to me was delivered by the magid shiur in my Shul in his introduction to Pirkei Avos.  He said, "During the course of our weekly shiurim I will tell you many important things.  You may not like me, you may not like the way I speak, you may not even like my examples or the divrei torah that I use to deliver these messages, but put that all aside and listen to the message.  Hear it and digest it, and embellish it on your own to your own liking.   It is the underlying message that I am trying to get across so don't get caught up in all the window dressing.  We miss too many important messages because of trivialities."

This may be pshat in the Mishna, "Oheiv Es HaTochacha".  It doesn't say love the Mochiach or love receiving tochacha, only love the tochacha itself.  Don't examine the speaker, don't examine the tone or the implications of the person talking.  Ignore the all that and just listen carefully and hear the message.  Put it in your head and digest it as is applies to you.  Then you can draw your own conclusions.

Mussar need not even come from a person.  It can come from events, something you saw, or something you heard that makes you rethink your position.  You need to love mussar.  You need to constantly examine your actions against every stimulus that you see and hear.  You can even learn from nature, says Shlomo HaMelech.  His father Dovid even learned from the curses of his enemy Shimi ben Geira.  While everyone heard cursing, Dovid said, stop!  Do you hear the message? Listen carefully to the words and ignore Shimi.  It is a message to me and has nothing to do with him and his evil intentions.

Life is about growth.  Perfect people don't grow.  Growth is reserved for those who constantly survey their faults and are willing to make difficult and costly repairs.  The Torah is a classic mussar sefer from beginning to end.  As soon as you figure out that every word of it is talking to you, you will be koneh torah and become a living embodiment of Hashem's will.
RELATED ARTICLES:48 kinyanei torah  tochacha

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Visitor Comments: 1

RS, Gateshead, 2010-05-02 03:23:20
Making mistakes is absolutely part of the Human condition!
A friend of mine who had commissioned a Sefer Torah to be written, was told by his Sofer that now we have the benefit of checking Sifrei Torah by computer.......EVERY SINGLE Sefer is found to have errors!! - Granted not alaways serious enough to cause a p'sul, but nevertheless not as the Sofer had intended!
This is after all the "eimah, yir'oh reses ve'zei'a" wich every Ehrliche Sofer undergoes when undertaking such an awesome task of creating a Sefer Torah with all possible hidurim!

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