The Destructive Drive To Win

The Holy Abir Yakov Abuchatzeira states that the Second Temple was destroyed because of a blemish in the spiritual attribute of hod (admit/submit/accept).  In essence, hod is the ability to be “modeh”, to admit/accept that somebody else is right, or to stop arguing for the sake of peace.

In parsha Devarim, Moshe’s woefully laments, “(Eichah) How alone can I carry your contentiousness, your burdens, and your quarrels?”

Rashi comments that this verse is referring litigants would bring additional claims, witnesses, or judges in an effort to win their court case.  In essence, he was lamenting the fact that the Jews had to prove they were right.  They had to get the final word in and could not bear to lose an argument.

This destructive drive to win is a result of this blemish in hod.  Because hod is blemished, it cannot receive light from its opposite, male attribute, netzach (victory).  Thus, the energy of netzach gets dispersed to the sitrah acher (other side). This imbalance manifests in human behavior as the destructive drive to win an argument at all costs.

Ultimately, an improperly argumentative person or society soon forgets what they are arguing for.  Arguments take on an energy of their own and become arguments for arguments’ sake.  And when the purpose of the argument no longer exists, but the aggressive argument continues, this is sinat chinam, baseless hatred.

(This blemish was also the cause of the death of the students of Rabbi Akiva, who were unable to learn Torah from one another.  The Tomer Devorah by the Ramak, ztkl, states that to fix the blemish in hod one must learn Torah from all people, e.g., accept that another person’s Torah argument is true and good.  The students stopped dying on Lag b’omer, which is hod sh’b’hod in the Sefirah count.)

In sum, the destruction of the Temple was caused by the failure to be “modeh”. HaShem should give us the wisdom and understanding to push away self and to accept when we are wrong, and to push away self and stop pressing even a good and true  argument when there’s no real point. (Husbands, you know who we are!)

Radio Show On Tamar Yonah

Tamar Yonah of Israeli National Radio has been kind enough to allow me a weekly segment on her wonderful radio show, Sundays at 9:30 am EST.  Thank you Tamar!!

Past Shows

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2 Responses to The Destructive Drive To Win

  1. devorah says:

    Can you email me when you are recording the shows, and I will remind everyone to listen.
    You sound good on the airwaves (!)

  2. ron says:

    this is probably one of my most difficult problems. I have no idea how to deal with it. It is such a challenge, that when I get into an argument my emotions fly all over the place.

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