By Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
After the war with Sihon, king of the Amorites, the Jewish people took all the cities and settled in the Amorite cities. The Torah, in speaking about the city of Cheshbon, says: “Because of that, they who speak using parables (HaMoshlim) say: ‘Come to Cheshbon (Bo-ooh Cheshbon). Let the city of Sichon be built and established’ “(Numbers 21:27).
The Talmud (Bava Basra 78b) uses a play on words to teach us a lesson in life: ” ‘Hamoshlim‘ refers to those who rule over their impulses.’Bo-ooh Cheshbon‘, is telling us to come and make an accounting of our behavior. Think about what you lose by performing a mitzvah (a commandment) and weigh that against all that you gain from it. Think about what you gain from transgressing and weigh that against what you lose. If you do this, you will be built up in this world, and will be established in the world to come.”
Regarding making an accounting of one’s behavior, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato writes that a person needs to keep an eye on all that he does; he should work on overcoming his negative habits and traits. Successful businessmen keep close track of all of their investments and constantly weigh their financial situation. Likewise, a person should make an accounting of his behavior each day to work on self-improvement.
When you do make an accounting of your behavior, feel joy in every bit of improvement. Do not allow yourself to become discouraged when you see your faults and mistakes. When you keep your focus on how you have already done something positive, you will be motivated to keep on improving.