DESPAIR ANGERS GOD MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
Continuing the series of translations of Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s words from the You will succeed! book. Click HERE to buy the book in Hebrew.
In Tractate Bava Batra 90a, it’s written that Machlon and Kiliyon, from Megillat Ruth were called in the language of their days “yeoush (despair) and saraf (burnt)”. Why were they called yeoush and saraf?
Because they despaired of the geula (redemption), and so they became liable to be burnt instead.
The moment that a person starts despairing, that a person starts to think I can’t do this anymore, I can’t live in Jerusalem any more, I can’t learn in yeshiva any more – there is no sin more terrible than yeoush!
Why were they nicknamed yeoush and saraf? Yeoush because they despaired of the geula. They said to themselves, it’s just not going to happen. They’re never going to build the Beit HaMikdash. Everything is lost.
Look, there’s already a terrible famine, and Moav is ruling over us, the goyim are ruling over us. Who can rescue us?
They despaired of the geula.
And Saraf because they deserved to be burnt on the spot. The moment that a person falls into despair, they are liable for [one of the four forms of Torah-mandated execution, namely] to be burnt.
Because this person has simply lost their emuna.
And this is the worst form of heresy. Even heresy is not [as bad as] yeoush. That’s because a heretic only appears to be a heretic, externally.
He needs to go through a process of birur (spiritual clarification), so he needs to talk rubbish, he needs to become confused, he needs to bark, like: “The soul of a dog doesn’t know satiation.”
Brazenness is burning within him, [the need to be] honored is burning within him.
But the most awful thing in the world is yeoush.
It’s worse than all the other sins. Because there are no sins within the Jewish people. A Jew doesn’t sin. There is no such thing as this.
No Jews does an aveira (transgression). No Jew sins. Even the most chiloni (secular) Jew, his heart is still beating, and he feels as though he’s suffocating with every aveira.
The Rebbe, Rebbe Nachman, says that every aveira suffocates a person.
A non-Jew knows that it’s forbidden to do a sin, but he says to himself but I still profited from doing it. But a Jew? Each sin he does just suffocates him to death, until he feels he has to make teshuva.
But if he’s already fallen into despair? There is nothing worse than this.
It’s like what is written in Likutey Tefillot, in prayer #60. Know, that despair angers the Creator more than all the sins that you will do in your lifetime, because Hashem is always with you.
So don’t despair!