Have you ever played the arcade game Whack – A – Mole?
It is a game where these little moles head pop up out of a hole at random intervals and speeds and you have to whack them with a hammer.
Here recently I have taken on working on a particular negative trait and as soon as I get started trying to improve myself in that area, another negative trait pops up and needs worked on. When I recognized this it reminded me of that old arcade game.
It just seems that when you really want to work on something in your life, something else pops up demanding your attention as well. The yetzer hara or evil inclination keeps us busy running around whacking at on one problem after another.
Self-improvement is a life long journey. Hashem our G-d set it up like this and in many places He shows us that playing Whack – A – Negative Trait is part of what makes us into better people.
In Bereishis/Genesis 4 we are told by our Creator that by improving ourselves will bring forgiveness of our wrong doings. So when we do something that causes us to miss the mark we must raise our hammers and whack it.
He goes on in Proverbs 24:12
for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
So we see here again that a righteous person has to deal with his negative traits that cause him to fall from time to time but they rise up out of it every time – when they fall they grab their hammer and begin to whack at what caused them to fall. And in doing so they get ready to whack the next one that pops up.
Whacking the negative traits that pop up in our lives is an unending game, we did not have to put a quarter in the machine, we were born into the game without choice. Our only choice is that whether or not we pick up the hammer and whack away at as many negative traits that pop up as possible.
Some choose not to pick up the hammer and lead a life of sadness and despair which can lead to a life of remaining fallen and not rising.
As frustrating as it can be, it is for our best that as soon as we whack a negative trait another one pops up. This shows us that we are on the right path for we are showing our Creator that we are willing to improve so He tells us so to speak, “While you are at it, I have something else to show you that need to be worked on.” And so goes the continuation of the ugly heads of our negative traits popping their heads out of their holes waiting to be smashed by the swing of the hammer.
Our hammers take on many different shapes; here are some of your hammers in your arsenal.
- Prayer (our biggest and heaviest hammer)
- Torah study
- Reciting Tehillim/Psalms
- Doing mitzvos – good deeds
So the next time you recognize one of those ugly traits popping up, grab your hammer and begin to whack away into a much more rewarding life.
Terry W. Hayes