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In Pursuit of Perfection: A Roundtable Discussion

Meet Our Panelists: -Rebbetzin Beila Kviat is now the principal of Adas Yereim -Mrs. Chaya Newman formerly principal of Bruria’s, now director of the women’s division of Torah Umesorah -Mrs. Chaya Ginzberg is a teacher at Bais Yaakov Academy and BYA/Maalot Seminary

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

round staircasePreparing for Pesach is to try to achieve perfection — our houses must be perfectly clean of even the slightest trace of chometz. Most of us dream of obtaining perfection in other areas as well. But when does striving for perfection become our undoing? How do we untangle the pursuit of perfection from its pitfalls? Three mechanchosshare the Torah perspective.

 

Family First: Jewish women get caught up in a frenzy for perfection right around Pesach time. While most of us have learned to distinguish between spring cleaning and Pesach cleaning, we still have this desire to prepare the holiday perfectly. Is perfection really what the Torah wants from us?

Mrs. Ginzberg: In this world, nothing is perfect — only HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Mortal beings can never reach perfection! All that we can strive for is shleimus [completion].

Noach was described as an ish tamim and shaleim b’tzidko; he sought to remove the barriers separating him from Hashem. Eisav, on the other hand, thought he was a finished product — his very name is rooted in the word asu, made. He didn’t think he had to work on his middos.

A better goal than being perfect would be “being the best you can be.” You should always think, “Hashem loves me. As long as I’m really trying, I know I’m giving Him nachas.” 

Rebbetzin Kviat: We’re told that Am Yisrael left Mitzrayim ka’chatzos halailah — around the middle of the night. Hashem is the only one who knew the exact moment of midnight, only He has perfect knowledge and ability.

When it comes to ruchniyus, there’s no such thing as reaching perfection, because there’s always room for more growth; if something is perfect, it’s not real! There’s no mortal who doesn’t err; even Moshe Rabbeinu had faults and was criticized. Shleimus, temimus should be our goals in avodas Hashem — the focus on the way our middos are evolving, what we’re producing while following Hashem’s mitzvos.

The term “best” is dangerous, because it disqualifies everything beneath it. Each step you make towards greater shleimus is equally as good. The reward is given according to the effort, not necessarily according to the result.

We have to do as Hashem commanded us, but even there perfection can mean different things for different people. An esrog with a blemish can be just as perfect as an esrog without one, for a person who has no money to buy an expensive esrog.

 

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