Tanya In Simple English Chapter 30
A Person should also consider to fulfill what our sages say that you should be humble to every person.
And this means to truly be humble to every person, even the most sinful.
This is based on what our sages teach us ” judge no one unless you are in their shoes / circumstance.”
For it is the circumstances that has caused them to sin – for example a person whose business is in the marketplace and his eyes see all the possible desires, and it is known that “the eye sees and the heart desires” – and the desire burns like a oven within him, as it states in Hoshea “They are aflame.. like a burning fire.”
In contrast a person that hardly goes to the marketplace and most of the day he is at home and even when he goes out, it could be that his nature is cold – for each person’s desires are different, as stated elsewhere.
Now in truth, even somebody who is hot blooded and must go to the marketplace for his income – still he cannot excuse his sins and he’s called a completely wicked person, for not refraining from sin – by not placing the fear of God before Himself.
For he should have withstood the desire in his heart due to the fear of God who sees all his actions – as mentioned earlier, for the mind can control the heart.
But in truth it is a great battle to conquer one’s desire which is burning like a fire due to the fear of God, and this is like an actual test from God.
And therefore every single person based on his standing in the service of God must think deeply if he is serving God in comparison to his own standing and in comparison to such a great test and battle – in other words, does he pray with full concentration… pouring his soul to God with all his effort… and does he battle his body and his animal soul that are trying to prevent this concentration and conquer them and lower them to the ground prior to the prayer in the morning in the evening, and also during prayer as mentioned earlier – and if one does not battle their Yetzer Hara to this extent – then they have not reached the level of the war of the other person, whose heart is burning like a fire – (in other words they have not placed the fear of God before them… so how can they judge another who hasn’t.)
Similarly with regards to saying benching / Grace after meals, and all the blessings and the Mitzvahs with intention… and similarly when it comes to the learning of Torah… to do more than one’s desire, and have this great war with the body.
As a person who learns just a little more than his habit… this is a small victory – but cannot be compared to the person whose heart is burning like a flame who is called completely wicked if he does not beat his Yetzer Hara and humble it before God.
Now if you think about it… what is the difference between this person who must refrain from evil/fulfilling his desires…. and the person that must do good / say, concentrate more in prayer – it is all the will of the King.
So also when it comes to the other Mitzvahs, especially monetary, for example giving charity etc. (in other words, does the person fulfill this properly, pushing themselves to the greatest degree??)
And even when it comes to refraining from evil – a person can realize that he doesn’t fully do this to the extent that he is fighting such a battle – for example, to refrain from a worthless enjoyable conversation… or not to say something negative about another, even very minute… although it may be true… and even to clear one’s own name… as Rabbi Shimon told his father Rabeinu Hakodesh ( regarding a questionable document that he thought he wrote…) “I did not write this, but Yehudah Chayteh did” and he said, “Do not speak bad words.” (Beginning of chapter 10 Bava Basra.)
Similar things happen quite frequently… particularly when you think about trying to refrain from pleasurable things that are permissible, which is actually a Torah obligation, as it is written “Be holy to me.”
And also it states that the words of our sages are in fact more severe than the words of the Torah…
Therefore it’s just that all these and similar transgressions are things that people don’t even pay attention to, and have become “permissible” to them as they are so frequently transgressed.
However in truth the one who is knowledgeable and accepts the authority of Torah and desires the closeness of God, his sin is much greater… many times over… in that he does not fight his Yetzer Hara in comparison with the great battle which the simple person has – as our sages said about Acher “God considered his sins so bad because he knew about God’s greatness but did not act on it” – therefore our sages say about simple people that their sins are really mistakes.
Tanya In Simple English Chapter 30