Minute #597: Impressive

“It’s so beautiful, Shaul!” Faigy exclaimed. “Look at the beautiful colors of all the flowers.”

“It’s really nice,” Shaul replied in a blasé tone of voice. “I’ve actually driven this road many times and have seen the flowers before.”

“I’m aware of that, but I still think I could never become unenthusiastic about Hashem’s ‘artwork.’ After all, I remember when you came home from a shiur and told me that our Rabbis expound the verse ‘Ein Tzur k’Elokeinu’ by transforming the word ‘Tzur’ (rock) into the word ‘Tzayar’ — painter. Don’t you see? There is no painter like Hashem!” Faigy insisted.

“Yes, but I just don’t get excited after I’ve seen something several times before,” Shaul said.

Our Mussar masters explain that every human being was created with five essential senses necessary to function in the physical world. Unbeknownst to most is a sixth sense called “mitpael” —the ability to become impressed. Rambam, Chovot Halevavot and others explain that this sense was provided as a tool to get closer to Hashem and to enable one to serve Him better.

One may abuse the sense of hearing by exposing one’s ears to loud noise on a regular basis. Another may deaden taste buds by imbibing in spicy foods on a daily basis. The natural abilities given as a gift by Hashem can dissipate and become too weak to work for the benefit of the person.

So, too, is the way of “mitpael.” If one overindulges in the things of this world, one’s sense of awe for the beauty of Hashem’s creations becomes dulled. If one focuses on fulfillment of physical desires, one is no longer impressed with the awesome nature of one’s environment. The beauty of Creation is missed by one whose “eyesight” has been weakened.

Spend time looking at your world and find new gifts every day.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Remember these two powerful words: “calm persistence.” Calm persistence is much more effective than anger, and learning how to do it is easy. All it entails is repeating your request as many times as necessary while remaining calm. It’s sometimes called “the broken record.” (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Anger: The Inner Teacher, p. 255)