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Tuesday, August 1, 2006


(As I heard directly from him):

Know that every individual trait includes several characteristics and issues, and each trait has its own complete structure. Thus, if a person is missing some aspect of a trait, even though he possesses the whole trait in completeness, because of the one missing element, the entire trait appears deficient. Just as when a person is lacking in one limb, the whole body is thrown off balance, and feels the lack throughout the body. Similarly, when a person is lacking in one aspect of a trait, it seems to him that the entire trait is missing.

Now the traits are neighbors to each other. Thus, one trait can support another that is close to the first. As the Rabbis said, "One limb supports another." Therefore, when a person wants to go in the way of holiness, he must break all the negative traits and merit to the positive ones, and he must search within at all times, to examine whether each of his traits is complete. And when he finds one that is not, he should look for help and support from the neighboring trait.

This concept is expressed in some of the traits within the book. For example, when a person is lacking humility, and there is another trait that is supportive of humility, for example, trust -- the person should use trust to come to humility. That is to say, sometimes trust is easier to achieve than humility. Then, the person should do what is easier first, and through that he will come to the trait that is harder for him. Or sometimes, a person has a trait that he does not make use of, and when he needs to draw upon this trait to support another one, he has to start using it. Returning to the example of trust and humility: When one wants to achieve humility, and sees that trust is supportive of it. And in truth he has trust, he simply does not make use of it. Now, when he wants to merit humility, he must start using his trait of trust, and so with all the other traits.

Note: Sefer Hamedot- Book of Traits was posted on with the permission of the translator Dovid Nanach. He has already given printing rights to Keren Rebbe Yisroel Ber Odeser. Content is for personal use only. If you wish to reprint or distribute this translation, we can not give you permission. For that you must contact the above parties.