If two people make the same mistake, would it be considered worse for one of them?
Yes. Each person is judged according to what they’ve been given… We are not judged absolutely. We are all relative to where we are at. Each person has the באשר הוא שם, where the person is at that time. On that level they’re being judged.
If a person is sitting and learning in the Beth-Medrash the whole day, then he doesn’t necessarily see things outside, around him. But another person who’s got to go out to the marketplace all day and see all the things around him; he has a much bigger battle and if he fails it’s not half as bad as if the person who didn’t have all those temptations fails.
We can say that in the eyes of God, the person who has to spend his time outside in the marketplace and withholds himself from doing a sin – that he might be making ‘more’ goodness than the person who is sitting in the Beth-Medrash (remote from anything that happens outside). If you are remote, you are not really making the effort to do something great, and not really fighting your own Yetzer Ra, bad inclinations.
It is all relative. It is relative to the battle we make. You should see the difference between the righteous, Tzadik, and the bad, the Rasha – one who is serving God and one who has never served God. A person may never done any sins but he’s not serving God. It all comes naturally to him. He was just born without any of the passions; he doesn’t have any strong Yetzer. While he is not doing any sins, he never makes an effort to do the right thing. Yet, another person is spending his whole time trying to choose the good, in the battle that is going on. That’s a much higher level, because one in on the level of battling, being on the front line and fighting the forces of evil.
That’s the challenge. That’s how we bring light into the world; that’s how we channel light, by going out as a soldier on the front line fighting the spiritual enemy within us and the enemy around us in terms of the forces of bad in the world; fighting them and making way to the light.
There is a hierarchy that God made in the world in which at the top of the ladder of responsibility is the human being. It does not mean being better than other beings, rather it means having a specific role to perform as human beings. Everything God made is there to serve God and His glory; everything, the entire world’s creation is at His glory. When man uses everything in the right way and he respects – not just the fruits but the animals and the plants and the minerals – when we respect the world and we use it in the right way, we elevate each thing in the world to a higher level.
Man has the ability to directly serve God and fulfil the revelation of God; to reveal God’s light in the world. And when he uses the world in the right way, each part of creation contributes to this great cause and therefore consummates His purpose of being in the world.
22 July 2012.
© Gil Dekel. My thanks to my teachers.