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This is how that darkness within us finds its way out: First it agrees with everything good we do.

When we choose to meditate, it tells us,
“Yes! Meditate! That way you will become a great sage!”

When we choose to do a good deed, it says,
“Yes! You are so wonderful! Think what others will do in return for this!”

Slowly, slowly, it convinces us that any good we do requires its approval. And then, you’ve fallen into its trap.

Do good without reason. Then there are no traps.

By Tzvi Freeman
From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. Subscribe and get your dose daily. Or order Rabbi Freeman’s book, Bringing Heaven Down to Earth, click here.
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Anonymous January 29, 2013

mitzva I think the adage is " Do the mitzvah only for the sake of the mitzvah Reply

John Michael Hart UK January 29, 2013

Consent Sometimes the problem of some readers could be that they have a Greek/Roman mindset and trying to understand a Hebraic mindset/idiom is not easy with Greco/Roman minds. Maybe?. Reply

John Smith FL January 28, 2013

Amen Please forward to ALL Government Officials who continually write EVERY Law and then are asking every individual to follow the Pharaoh blindly, without reason. Reply

valerie ohio January 28, 2013

consent this is beautiful -- simple, uncomplicated, and so easy!! no ego, no expectations. it's great - thank you!! Reply

cecilia New York January 28, 2013

How darkness sneaks We are all just pathways of good when we are at that time and place where it is needed. When we start asking if that good act will result in something, then the ego blocks the timing, usurps that energy and turns the opportunity to become a medium of good into an act of vanity.

That's what I got from it. Reply

José Flávio Nogueira Guimarães Belo Horizonte, MG/Brazil October 25, 2010

Dear rabbi Freeman I may have been misled or I may have misunderstood Karp's point-of-view. Yet, I guess I understood your daily dose. Your daily doses are very clear and a true blessing to me. I'm a layman in judaism. I've been studying judaism for only two years. I know very little. I'm sorry if my comment was undue. You're a great rabbi! Thanks for sharing precious knowledge with us. Shalom! Reply

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman October 19, 2010

Response I must say that I have no idea what Thomas or Jose are saying and what it has to do with what I wrote. I have the feeling that they are reading into my words something that is simply not there. Reply

José Flávio Nogueira Guimarães Belo Horizonte, MG/Brazil October 18, 2010

Good point, Karp! But I guess one point does not replace the other. I understand Freeman's point. The must be an occasion for the use of each contention. As Aryeh Kaplan says we're half angel and half animal. The body is receptacle of the animal nature of man and the soul the receptacle of his angelical nature. Thereafter, there are times when we must release our animal drives and impulses but there are also times when they should be tamed by our soul, mind, the Divine nature in us. The middle way might be the balance. Reply

Thomas Karp New Haven, Ct. October 18, 2010

Not unhealthy, Shahid! Reason, our ability to reason, is also from G-d.

Reason is often instrumental in preventing us from doing bad things;-

both to ourselves and to each other.

Reason is only apart from G-d when it becomes a form of idolatry; as if it were exclusive to everything else before G-d.

When you perform and act of kindness for someone else you are just as likely bringing that person from the irrational to the reasonable rather than the other way around.

Acts of kindness that may at first seem senseless can unharden the heart, and from there allow the mind to be more rational then previously.

Our reason, our ability to reason, is also from G-d.

It's okay, buddy! Reply

Thomas Karp New Haven, Ct. October 18, 2010

Oy, Rabbi Freeman! I think you've got it exactly wrong!

Nothing has entrapped humanity more then pitting the goodness of G-d against reason.

Yes, the mind without heart (compassion and mercy, kindness) is nothing; worse than nothing even at times.

We can't exist on pure reason (any of us, Jew or Gentile) anymore then we can breath pure oxygen.

G-d has made room amongst us for other considerations.

Yet, I tell you that the Talmud is true where it says in it that:

"The king leads with his mind whereas the fool leads with his heart."

Btw, Rabbi Freeman:

Have you ever seen the movie version of Chaim Potok's "The Chosen"? Reply

José Flávio Nogueira Guimarães Belo Horizonte, MG/Brazil October 18, 2010

Excellent! Great advice! Very wise! The daily dose is usually a balm to the soul. Thanks always. Reply

Anonymous October 17, 2010

do good The bottom line sentence says it all. "Do good without reason." That is, do the mitzvot and do good in everyday life, without reason. It keeps G-d smiling on you.
There are traps/challenges in life. G-d puts them there just as sure as he did with Abraham. Life throws curve balls and depressive events. Be like Abraham, avoid or overcome them. That's why he is one of the three Patriarchs. He is the epitome of Chesed/Lovingkindness, a refined role model. Be like Isaac, balance out your Chesed with Gevurah/Judgement. Be like Jacob and combine Chesed and Gevurah and live in Tiferet/Beauty/Harmony.
All easier said than done, but still a good code to follow. Reply

Shahid October 17, 2010

Doing Good without Reason! I do have this unhealthy habit meditating with reason. But the wisdom mentioned in this piece has urged me to recheck my attitude. Too much meditation with reason is really a trap. Doing good without reason is best.

Many thanks to Rabbi Freeman for sharing such an immense wisdom! Reply

Tzvi Freeman (Author) Thornhill, Ontario August 9, 2007

Re: Rational Soul Sounds a bit self-contradictory. What makes him a human being if he has no rational soul? Perhaps he isn't using it, but it must be there. Reply

hope los angeles, ca August 9, 2007

that is a great question and i can't even begin to venture an answer. i look forward to a response from the folk at Reply

Ari Edson thornhill, Ontario August 9, 2007

Wow! That is so amazing!
I would like to ask a question related to this teaching; someting that has been on my mind. Is it theoretically possible for a human being to live or exist with a Godly connection, while not at all having a rational soul? Reply