Sunday, October 09, 2005

Average Struggles

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur make for scary times. The righteous are immediately inscribed "for life", the wicked "for death", while the average fellow (beinoni) dangle, neither here nor there. What really makes it troubling is the famous Gemara, where Rava(?) says that he is an average person, an ish beinoni.

If a great scholar and tzaddik like Rava is a beinoni, well, either we're all on the evil side of the scale or there's a very wide range for the middle ground.

The Ba'al HaTanya gives an answer. He says that a tzaddik and rasha face no struggles. The tzaddik faces no struggles with evil, and always does good, while the rasha is evil through and through, not even thinking about doing good. The beinoni, the average man, struggles. Sometimes you do good, sometimes bad, but you're always fighting.

In this light, the statement of Rava makes a lot more sense. He was struggling, just as we do. The strugglers are judged on Yom Kippur.

[Update: Yitzchak from JudeoPundit points out that the Gemara is located at Berachos 61a and the Ba'al HaTanya's statement is the very first thing in Tanya. Thanks.]