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Rabbi Shraga Simmons
2. For the mistakes we committed before You through having a hard heart.
Hardening of the heart means that I closed myself off to deep, human emotions like compassion and caring. The newspapers and streets seem so filled with one tragic story after another, that I can become desensitized to the whole idea of human suffering.
Did I ignore the poor and the weak?
When I did give charity, was it done enthusiastically or begrudgingly?
Was I kind, compassionate and loving when my family and friends needed me to be?
Do I feel the pain of Jews who are assimilating, and of how that impacts the Jewish nation as a whole?
Al Chet 2
The 44 Roots of Mistakes
by George Brock
2. For the mistake of having a hard heart....
- Hardening of the heart means to close oneself off to deep human emotions like compassion and caring - one becomes desensitized to the whole idea of human suffering.
- The battle is between charity and stinginess.
- The cause is what makes one ignore the poor and the weak, and to give grudgingly - these are the things that hardens one's heart.
- It is caused by making excuses; blaming those above you and ridiculing those below you.
- The enemy to giving is the belief in "more is better”.
- The victory is when one realizes that giving is acknowledging that one has been given.
- If in giving one gives, are these not the same garments?
- A good man's heart is not shut within itself but open to the hearts and needs of others - all of mankind, even the misguided.
- Respect people not for what they have done but for who they are.
- Giving to the poor makes one a lender to G-d which causes great joy and results in one being called a perfectTzaddik.
- If one would realize no one is more than a man nor is one less than a man, and that all men have flaws (the weakness of humanity), one will then shatter the vessel to receive for self alone thus creating a vessel to receive to give pleasure to one's Creator.
- One would then honor and respect the Divine image found in all men which would soften one's heart to give and remove the stinginess of having a hard heart.