A Reader Writes: If I Do An Aveirah, Am I Still a Maamin?


torahDear Editor,

Thank you for your wonderful news site, which I enjoy immensely. As I have read some insightful hashkafic discussions here on Matzav.com, I’d like to share a brief question I have had, which I believe is relevant now as we approach the Yom Hadin of Rosh Hashanah. Perhaps your readers can shed some light on this.

In short, my question is as follows. If I sin, if I commit an aveirah, why is that not indicative of a total lack of emunah and bitachon on my part? Or is it? That is, if I believe, with total faith, in the Ribono Shel Olam and His Torah, how can I possibly go ahead and commit an aveirah? Obviously, I am not talking about where someone does an aveirah by mistake. I am talking about where someone finds it too difficult to adhere to a certain halacha or to refrain from a certain aveirah because his yeitzer harah overpowers him. If a person truly believes in the Ribono Shel Olam, how could he ever commit an aveirah?

Let me give a moshol. We all know that if a person walks in front of a bus that is moving at 60 mph, he will likely get killed. At best, he’ll be severely injured. We know it. There’s no question about it. No one in their right mind would walk in front of a moving bus, because they believe and know that it will harm them or kill them. Now, let us say that there was a tremendous amount of money, or some other desirable thing, on a highway, and a person’s only opportunity to retrieve that money or item is just as a large bus is going to be zooming by at 70 mph. Is there any chance that the person will walk in front of the bus? Not a chance. One knows that doing so will automatically cause him harm, and no amount of money will convince him to put himself in harm’s way.

Applying this to our discussion, if we truly believed that disobeying the Torah does us harm – no less than walking in front of a moving bus – then why isn’t committing an aveirah and ignoring a mitzvah an indication of a lack of belief? After all, if we truly believed – just like we truly know that a moving bus will kill – would we ever let our desires overpower our seichel?

I know some Matzav.com readers might read this letter and laugh it off. But I am asking a serious emunah and bitachon question that might be bothering others as well. (There’s a whole other issue of what the difference between emunah and bitachon is. I don’t know the answer to that either.)

Any insight into my question here would be greatly appreciated. (And if you feel my analogy to the moving bus is not a good one, my question can be considered without the analogy too.)

Thank you.

A Matzav.com Fan


  1. good question, i think that when one does a aveira, its the yetzer hora wich has temporarily taken over and won the battle, in other words, talking for myself, avada you know that the aveira is bad and deep down u want no part of it but the yetzer hora temporarily blinds you and causes you to commit it, the real you doesnt want to.

  2. Absolutely not!?

    It is a completely normal thing to fall and do an aveira or many aveiros. Look around in shul on Kol ?Nidrei night, your Rav, Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva will be saying the same Tefillah Zakah as you do. In that ?tefillah we acknowledge and say the words, “We are humans and not angels, we sin sometimes ?accidentally and at times on purpose, and this is why Hashem has given us a day to atone for all our ?sins, the day of Yom Kippur”. Over the course of Yom Kippur we hopefully elevate our neshamos to ?the level of feeling remorse for the Al Cheit’s to the point that we can’t contemplate committing them ?again, this is one possible reason why Al Cheit is not said at Neilah. ?

    It does you a lot of harm, which is why you should elevate yourself through teshuva, tefillah, and ?tzeddakah to undo some of the damage. Obviously if the sin was against a fellow Jew which caused ?damage, you must first make it up to the person harmed. Otherwise, do the best you can and ask ?Hashem to give you Siyata Dishmaya to overcome your weakness. The main thing to remember is ?Hashem loves you, and wants to keep you strong in order to serve Him better.?

    I had your exact question, and this answer kept many people like me going. There are probably other ?more yeshivish answers, but this is what my rabbi Rabbi Finkel from Chicago answered. It did the trick ?for me. ?

  3. I think the answer is that the same reason why people speed or drive while talking on their cell phone or smoke etc.. even though they know the danger, Chazal tell us that “keevon sheovar v’shonoh naaseh lo k’heter”. The Yetzer Hora’s job is just that. To blind us even of things that should be poshut. “Ein adam choteh eleh im kein nichnas bo ruach shtus”. So it’s not pshat that we’re not maaminim, we’re just crazy! That’s what the soton wants us to be. For that reason we must daven very hard every morning to be saved from the kniving yetzer horah. And that is indeed our leg to stand on when we come to the Yom HaDin, when we tell the RBS”O that it is not the true me that is sinning rather the Se’or Shb’isoh. And since we indeed show are maaminus and beg from HKB”H to pardon us and spare us, it is showing our true belief.

  4. If you have that level of Emunah you wouldn’t. But when we say someone is not a Ma’amin, it means he does the avera because he does not believe. That is not the case by us. We do averos although we believe, just our yetzer hara got in the way. If we would improve our emunah to the level that it is indeed that real, we would not sin.. I think this is the correct answer.