Kenneth Cohen


There is a book called, “Sefer Hayashar,” that deals with motivating people to serve Hashem in the best manner possible. In one chapter, there is a list of fifteen items, that prevent an individual from being closer to G-d.

One of these items that harm a person, is עצלות, or laziness. The explanation here is that even where there is a desire to do good, he is unable to do so, simply because he is plagued by laziness.

He allows himself to get into a horrible rut. Any time a good idea pops into his head of doing something positive, his addiction to laziness causes him to find numerous reasons why he can’t do it.

This is a perfect example of the nature of books of Mussar. They may not contain information that is so profound, but they say the things that need to be said. One must come to grips with the fact that he has this problem of laziness. This is holding him back on many levels.

This awareness is the beginning of fixing the problem. As is true with what might be seen as more serious addictions, recognizing the problem is essential to fixing the problem.

The opposite of laziness is זריזות, alacrity. There are many suggestions as to how to fix the problem. The cure must begin with a strong resolve to change. One must constantly remind himself that he must not be lazy. This will help to overcome, and great things will now be able to be achieved.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at