It’s almost Yom Kippur already. What is the fastest acting spiritual vitamin one can take for an instant spiritual pick-me-up?
The Gemara says אם רואה אדם שיצרו מתגבר עליו – that if a man sees that his yetzer hora is overpowering him, he should do a few things. Number one, he should learn Torah. ניצחו – if that helps and he’s able to overpower the yetzer hora, מוטב, very good. But if not he should do something else – the Gemara there gives you another eitzah. But finally after nothing else helps and he’s desperate so the Gemara gives a final eitzah, יזכיר לו יום המיתה – he should remind himself of the day of death.
So it means that thinking about the the day of death is the most effective means of combating the yetzer hora. לֵב חֲכָמִים בְּבֵית אֵבֶל – The heart of the wise is in the house of the mourners. It doesn’t mean he has to be there but his heart, his mind, is there.
And therefore, sometimes it is necessary to use the most extreme methods. Lichatchilah the Torah doesn’t want you to think of the day of death because such thoughts have side effects too. Sometimes when people think of death they give up hope; they say “There is no use learning; why should I start learning? I won’t be able to finish the mesichta anyhow. And if I die I will take it to the grave with me and finished.” Too much thinking about death can make a person forget about Olam Haboh. Death, you know, is a big contradiction to the emunah in Olam Haboh because to the untrained eye death looks like the end; it looks like it’s all finished now and there’s nothing that follows it.
And so, it’s not necessarily good to think of the deathbed; only that when somebody is in an emergency and he wants a quick pick-me-up, so he should go to the cemetery and stand there and look at the graves. It’s a good idea once in a while; it has a very good effect on people to give them a recognition of the transitory nature of the things of this world.
However, it doesn’t mean it is the best thing; the best thing is to get a sefer on middos, or a sefer about yiras shomayim and get the vitamins that teach you how to live properly without the recourse to thinking about morbid things like death.
TAPE # 609